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Lint and debris can build up in your clothes dryer duct causing your dryer to work overtime. This build up may be the case of poor dryer performance and may create potentially hazardous conditions including dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in your home or even fire. The following tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) can help you keep your dryer venting efficiently and safely.
- Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
- Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
- Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.
- Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
- Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted or damaged and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating. Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.
- Check regularly to make sure nests of small animals and insects are not blocking the outside vent.
- Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid, non-ribbed metal duct.
- Keep dryers in good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
- Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
- Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and don’t overload your dryer.
- Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.
Do I really need to get my dryer vent cleaned?
It is important to have a dryer vent inspected and cleaned regularly to prevent a possible fire hazard. According to a 2010 report by the National fire Protection Agency (NFPA); an estimated 16,800 reported U.S. non-confined or confined home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines (including combination washer/dryers) resulted in 51 civilian deaths, 380 civilian injuries, and $236 million in direct property damage. Clothes dryers accounted for 92% of the fires. The leading cause of home clothes dryer fires was failure to clean (32%).
How often should I get my dryer vent swept?
The frequency with which a dryer vent needs to be swept will be determined by use. A dryer vent for a family of two will not build up as much lint as a dryer vent for a family of four. It is a good idea to have the dryer vent inspected at least every two years. During the inspection the technician, with input from the homeowner, should be able to determine how often your dryer vent should be serviced.