Free Tip Friday – January 5, 2018

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), one of the most common causes of clothes dryer fires in the US is failure to clean the dryer and exhaust vent. The NFPA has published a great one page clothes dryer safety guide – you can download the guide by clicking HERE.

Typically, the dryer itself and the lint screen are easy to access and clean. However, the exhaust vent and the flexible connector that most dryers have between the dryer and the wall can be a real challenge to reach.

I would guess that most of us – after we fight the initial battle of getting the dryer vent connected, and then the pushing the dryer back into place, would prefer to NEVER move the dryer again. However – to properly clean the dryer exhaust, you simply must move the dryer out and take a look.  Sorry – but it’s worth it!

The two most likely spots for lint to accumulate in the dryer exhaust system are where the flex line terminates at the wall, and then outside the home, at the damper/wall termination.  Please – check both areas!

Unfortunately, some dryer exhausts make a number of twists and turns before reaching the outside.  This can cause additional blockage in an area that is really tough to see.  Hint:  an old wire hanger can be really helpful in reaching the lint inside the wall. But – be gentle – some dryer exhaust materials are thin!

After you have cleaned the exhaust line best you can – run the dryer, and check the outside vent termination to make sure the hot exhaust is making it all the way outside.  If you feel very little airflow, or if the exhaust has completely cooled by the time it reaches the exterior of your home, you may still have a partial blockage somewhere…keep looking!

I know, this one is a pain, and can be a dirty job.  But – it might just prevent a fire in your home.  Keep that in mind as you knock this one out!

Darren Emery

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