Dryer Fires – An Ounce of Lint Prevention is Key

Lint dryer fires and other causes of dryer fires caused an estimated 7,000 household fires in the years between 2006 -2008, per recent CPSC data. Now, the CPSC is participating in the creation of voluntary standards within the appliance industry to reduce the occurrence of household clothes dryer fires. But prior to manufacturers building safer and smarter dryers, consumers need to take safety into their own hands to protect their family and property. Routine dryer cleaning is mandatory….dryer lint removal a must. Knowing how to properly clean a dryer is a necessary safe laundry tip.

Lint From Dryer

Lint happens. Any act of abrasion, such as the rubbing of clothing across the skin, can cause fibers to loosen and form lint. Lint can be a combination of fabric fibers, skin, and hair and other materials. Fibers and debris gravitate towards one in another in clumps or clusters forming lint.

During the laundry lint is generated as clothing fibers become loosened and separated in the washing and drying process. Natural fabrics, such as wool and cotton, are more apt to produce lint versus synthetic materials—such as spandex.  Newer clothing will shed more lint than older clothing. Quality linen and garments with longer,stronger and better woven threads are less likely to thin and separate.

The agitation of clothing, towels and sheets within the wash cycle contribute to the deterioration of their comprised fabrics. This activity is hastened in the clothes dryer as the air generated by the dryer exhaust “pulls” loose fibers from the fabric. The tumbling of the clothing and other laundry items furthers the friction.

Dryer lint is highly flammable. In fact, it is considered excellent timber for campfires. Routine emptying of the dryer lint trap is a good first step to eliminating dryer lint. But, consumers must also perform additional dryer maintenance to prevent dryer lint from clogging the dryer vents.

What is a a dryer vent?

The dryer vent is the vent that facilitates the outflow of air exhaust and remaining lint. It is connected to the dryer and travels to either a vent cap outside or other outside clearance such as a window.

A dryer vent should be constructed of aluminum. Any vinyl dryer vents, even white vinyl, should promptly be exchanged for an aluminum dryer vent that meets current fire safety standards.

A telltale sign of a clogged dryer vent is a loss of drying capacity. Chris Hall, of Repair Clinic.com, states “If you notice that it’s taking longer for your clothes to dry, it’s likely that lint is clogging the venting system. You should clean it out as soon as possible.” When a dryer vent gets clogged by lint air flow it is compromised. The appliance thus consumes more energy as it takes longer and longer to dry the same amount of laundry. A reduction in air flow also means that the dryer can become overheated. The rise in dryer temperature and the build-up of lint within the dryer vent make for perfect fire conditions.

Cleaning a Dryer Vent

Unfortunately, many consumers assume that they have completed dryer maintenance simply by emptying the dryer lint catch after each load. However, the really hazardous buildup of dryer lint is hidden from view within the walls of the dryer vent.  A true cleaning of the dryer starts from inside of the dryer to the outside vent cap. Cleaning a dryer vent is best done three to four times a year to ensure safety. The amount of laundry you do and the type of garments that you launder can all impact lint levels. It is better to be aggressive in your lint removal efforts than lax.

Consumers no longer have to rely on a professional when cleaning the dryer. Today there are simple to use vent cleaners that can be purchased to help with the task of cleaning your dryer. Our favorite is the Gardus  linteater dryer dryer vent cleaning system rle202.

This dryer vent cleaning tool is an investment in energy savings and laundry room safety. The Gardus linteater has become a popular choice with consumers because it REALLY works to keep your dryer free of lint. This vent cleaning tool is sturdy and comes with easy to follow directions to assist in cleaning the dryer.  The Gardus Linteater can be purchased with for long dryer vents.

You will be amazed at how much faster your laundry drys. Some consumers feel as if they have a brand new clothes dryer. Think of the savings your wallet will realize from home energy savings.


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