A clothes dryer works by forcing hot air through a turning drum. Wet clothes placed in the drum are then dried by the moving hot air. It is possible for a full load of wet clothes to contain as much as one and a half gallons of water from a typical load of laundry. Lint is created from the clothes as the water is removed and the clothes dry. Overtime as air passes through this exhaust line the lint collects in the screws, bends and elbows and walls of the air duct.
Inspect the Type of Air Duct Attached to the Dryer
Most manufacturers specify the use of a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct, which provides maximum airflow. Flexible plastic or foil type duct can more easily trap lint and is more susceptible to kinks or crushing, which can greatly reduce the airflow. Replace plastic or foil, accordion-type ducting material with rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct.
Clothes dryer fires account for about 15,600 structure fires, 15 deaths, and 400 injuries annually. Fires can occur when lint builds up in the dryer or in the exhaust duct. Lint can block the flow of air, cause excessive heat build-up, and result in a fire in some dryers.
Air Flow Restriction
New construction trends now situate washers and dryers in nontraditional areas of the house, such as upstairs bedrooms, hallways, bathrooms, kitchens, and closets. These new sites generally require longer dryer vents, and a higher probability for air flow restriction.
Dryer Vent Maintenance and Safety Tips
Proper maintenance for clothes dryers involves removing the lint from the traps, vents, and surrounding areas of the dryer.
- Never operate your clothes dryer when you are not home or while you are sleeping.
- Clean your lint trap before or after every use.
- Install a proper screen to the outside exhaust to prevent animals from entering the dryer vent.
- Do not push your dryer too close to the wall as it may cause crimps or bends in the air duct.
- Periodically have the dryer vent professionally cleaned.