As we talk about home maintenance and improvements it is very important to point out the simple tasks that can help keep you and your family safe and in a no fire hazard home. One of the smallest maintenance tasks but perhaps one of the most important is cleaning your dryer vent! Yes that’s right cleaning your dryer vent on a regular basis will not only protect you and your family from one of the biggest fire hazards in your home, but also help you save on your energy bill. Dirty lint clogged dryer vents cause the motor in our dryers to work harder because of the way it blocks air circulation. The motor is then unable to cool efficiently and thus causes the motor to run harder and longer. It’s basically like the engine of a overheating car. Either eventually the engine will get so hot and can burst into flames or your car just stops working.
The longer your dryer’s motor functions like this the slower it will get. This causes it to take more time and energy to dry your clothes thoroughly. In turn your electricity bill spikes and it’s a lose lose situation.
Not only are these some of the consequences of a dirty lint filled dryer vent, but the fire hazard this build up produces is one of the greatest fire hazards you have in your home. Nobody thinks that their dryer could be the cause of a house fire but more often than not it occurs. In fact in 1996 alone there were 15,000 house fires caused by clogged dryer vents and lint traps reported. Within these 15,000 electric dryer’s were 2.5 times more likely to be the cause of the fire over gas dryers. With these 15,000 fires there were 20 deaths reported, 300 injuries and over $80 million in property damage.
So what are the signs that your dryer is a fire hazard and is in some serious need of vent and lint trap cleaning?
- Clothes take longer than usual to dry
- Your clothes don’t fully dry even after 2 drying cycles
- Clothes come out hotter than usual
- The outside exterior of the dryer becomes hot
- Your laundry room/area become more humid than usual
- Biggest sign of all you smell a burning smell in your laundry room/area or even vicinity
In general it is always best to air on the side of caution especially if it means keeping your family safe. Make it a habit to conduct monthly dryer vent and lint trap checks. You might just save yourself from a house fire!