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Dryer Vents: The Hidden Fire Hazard

January 5th, 2014

Clothes dryers are an essential appliance in homes today, but we do not always take the time to realize the importance of keeping dryer vents clean. A dryer vent that is left unattended for a long period of time collects lint and debris, becoming a fire hazard. The dryer’s airflow becomes blocked, and the accumulated lint can catch fire from the heating element. Dryer fires are responsible for thousands of home fires every year, but there are simple precautions homeowners can take.

The lint trap inside the dryer should be cleaned out after every use. Keeping the vent pipe clean is also very important, as this reduces the chance of a fire starting. A thorough professional cleaning of the vent keeps your appliance working efficiently, as well as being an essential fire prevention measure.

If you have clothes that have been soiled with chemicals or flammable liquid, this clothing should never be placed in a dryer. Some of the flammable chemicals may still be present in the material, despite being laundered. You do not want any lint from these tainted garments to end up in the dryer or exposed to heat, so opt to line-dry these garments instead. It is also a smart idea to keep containers of flammable cleaning products away from all heat sources, including your dryer.

Take time to read drying instructions on all items that you launder. Do not put anything in the dryer that contains plastic or rubber, as these items could overheat and ignite. If a garment label states that the item should be line-dried or dried on a low temperature, be sure to follow the instructions.

Check the vent that leads to the outside of your home. Make sure that the outside opening is clear and not blocked for any reason. If you have any reason to believe that your dryer vent is not functioning properly, and you are unable to determine this yourself, call a professional. Having your dryer vent periodically serviced by a professional such as Tucson Air heating and cooling company Russett Southwest can go a long way toward ensuring the safety of your family.