Clothes dryers are an often overlooked appliance for regular maintenance, but this is a dangerous oversight. While there is a threat of a dryer fire if left unnoticed, there are many ways to prevent a dryer vent fire.
1. Clean the lint out of the lint filter each time you use the dryer. Excess lint is the primary cause of dryer vent fires so it is critical that this material is monitored and cleaned regularly.
2. Do not let the dryer run when you are away from home. A dryer vent may cause more damage if no one is around to catch the fire and call 9-1-1 right away.
3. Have a professional clean out the dryer vents annually to ensure there is not excess lint build up in the vents and also to make sure the appliance is operating most efficiently.
4. Make sure that the appliance is properly connected to the electrical source and outlet and that the area is clean and clutter-free. Failure of the mechanical or electrical parts of the dryer often leads to igniting the lint and starting the fire.
Besides these precautionary measures, there are also signs that you may already be prone to a dryer vent fire. Call a dryer vent cleaning professional immediately if you notice any of the following signs.
- The dryer is taking longer than 30- 45 minutes to dry a load of laundry and this time is increasing.
- The dryer top and sides feel hot to the touch and clothing is coming out of the dryer uncomfortably hot.
- You can spot lint behind the dryer and around the vents.
- The air coming from the vent on the exterior of your home is very weak when the dryer is turned on.
If you believe there is a fire or you or your family are at risk for any reason, dial 9-1-1. Otherwise, monitor your dryer vent system regularly and have a professional clean it out once a year.