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Dryer Vent Safety is Very Important

House fires caused by dryers are more common than people realize. In 2005 approximately 13,775 house fires along with 15 deaths and $196 million in property damage were caused by dryers. Too many people connect up  their dryer and never think about it again until something happens. Have you ever cleaned out your dryer exhaust duct(vent)?
I will bet that most of you have never moved your dryer, disconnected the vent and cleaned everything out. The lint that is produced by the drying process is highly flammable. As this lint is produced it can accumulate in the exhaust duct which reduces the dryer's ability to expel moisture laden heated water vapor. If the dryer overheats it may have a mechanical failure resulting in the production of sparks. These sparks can ignite the trapped lint and then possibly spread to the whole house.

Tips to help prevent this condition:

1. Look carefully to make sure that the vent is actually connected to the dryer.

2. Check to see if the vent is kinked or crushed. Flexible dryer vents may be easy to install but can trap expelled lint and is not recommended for use due to trapping of lint. This would be called out as a hazard in a home inspection. Vent hardware is available that is designed to make the directional changes necessary without restricting exhaust flow.

3. The exhaust ducts should terminate (end) on the outside of the home or shall be installed in accordance with the dryer manufacturer's installation instructions. These exterior terminations should be at least 3 ft away from openings into the home.

4. Make sure that the exterior terminations do not contain a screen due to lint accumulation. These are a potential fire hazard.

5. The maximum length of a clothes dryer exhaust duct should not exceed 25 ft. Having a 45 or 90 degree bend in the vent decreases the maximum length by 2.5 and 5 ft respectively.

6. Periodic disconnection and cleaning of the duct is recommended to decrease the potential of a dryer related fire.

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