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Duct Dusters of GA

Best Practices for Avoiding Lint Buildup and Dryer Fires

According to the US Fire Administration, an average of 358,300 home-based fires are reported each year. A staggering number of these fires are caused by clothes dryers, resulting in deaths, injuries, and millions of dollars in property damage. Indeed, a clogged clothes dryer is second only to a kitchen as the leading cause of home fires.

Usually, dryer fires are the result of clogged vents, ducts, or filters due to lint buildup, but they can also be caused by dirt or grass accumulation. Since lint is highly flammable, sparks or heat from a small source can ignite it and cause a fire. Aside from the risk of fires, clogged dryer vents also extend drying times, resulting in more energy wasted and more lint.

The good thing is, you can avoid these issues with the proper maintenance of your clothes dryer. For this post, we’ll talk about the conditions that promote lint buildup, as well as what steps to take to prevent it in the first place.

What Causes Lint Buildup in a Dryer?

As fabric fibers shed from clothes as they dry, lint can accumulate in your dryer. In most cases, wool and cotton produce the most lint, and it builds up over time, often without being addressed.

Below are the most common factors that exacerbate lint buildup issues.

1. Long and Excessively Kinked Vents

In the past, laundry rooms were placed next to an outside wall, obviating the need for a long vent. Today, however, people focus on convenience rather than optimum placement of laundry equipment, resulting in laundry equipment being further away from outside walls than ever before. The problem is, the greater the distance between your dryer and the outside wall, the longer its elbows and vent piping will need to be, and the more places in which lint can get stuck.

2. Blocked Vent Covers

Vent covers, typically found on exterior walls or rooflines, provide airflow and protect the dryer system from dust, dirt, and anything else coming from the outside. Naturally, if your vent cover gets damaged — or if the louvers managed to get stuck in the open position — the result will be outside elements, or even rats, getting into your vents, causing all kinds of damage. Eventually, it may clog, keep hot air and lint from exiting your pipes, and become a fire hazard.

3. Condensation

Condensation is inevitable where warm and cold air meet. Because of the hot air it uses to dry your clothes, a dryer vent can produce condensation. Too much condensation and eventually, the vent pipe will drip water, promoting the accumulation of lint inside your pipe walls. Even worse, the moisture buildup may even result in mold developing.

How To Avoid Lint Buildup

1. Make Sure Your Dryer is Installed Correctly

An incorrectly installed dryer can cause a variety of complications, including excessive lint buildup that can lead to fires. If you’re buying a new dryer, the best way to ensure proper installation is to ask the vendor to install it for you.

If you need to install it yourself, remember that it’s crucial to attach the ventilation duct securely, to the dryer itself and to the outside exhaust vent. Also, you need to pick the right location. Your dryer shouldn’t be too close to furniture or appliances, and will need ample room to ventilate.

2. Make Sure Your Lint Trap is Clean and Secure

The lint trap is a removable panel that can be cleaned, allowing you to remove any fiber build-up the dyer catches. One of the best steps you can take to prevent excessive lint buildup in your dryer is by cleaning the lint trap after every load of laundry. We suggest that you check the lint trap after every laundry session. You might be surprised at how much lint a single load of laundry can leave behind!

In some cases, however, the lint trap panel may lose its grip after repeated use. If too much lint is entering your dryer vent, inspect the lint trap to see if it’s attached securely. Because of constant cleaning, removal, and disassembly, parts of the lint trap may become loose. It might be worth ordering a spare part from the manufacturer if this is the case.

3. Cleant The Vents and Ducts Regularly

There will always be some lint and dirt that sneaks past the lint filter, eventually accumulating between the dryer and the vent. If you find that your clothes are slower to dry, or don’t completely dry out, it may be because of a blocked duct or vent.

The propensity for dryer vents and ducts to clog overtime is why we recommend cleaning it out every three months at a minimum. Remember: when these parts of your dryer become clogged, the system can overheat and catch fire.

4. Avoid Overloading the Dryer

This is simply because more lint builds up in the lint trap as more clothes are dried. Of course, not only will splitting up larger loads make your clothes dry faster, it will also be safer. After all, the bigger the load of laundry, the longer the drying time, and the hotter your dryer becomes. Of course, an overheating dryer runs the risk of igniting whatever lint that’s stuck in there.

5. Have Your Dryer Vent Inspected

Leading appliance manufacturers recommend that homeowners have their dryer vents inspected and cleaned out once a year — of course, if your family does a lot of laundry, you should do it every few months. A routine inspection will ensure all the joint connections are secure, prevent excess lint buildup, and help you avoid other dryer-related hazards.

The comprehensive inspections we carry out at [company name] enable us to determine the extent of dryer vent problems and provide the best solutions. Our inspections cover the vent line, lint trap, joint connections, hoses, and more. After the inspection, we will provide you with an estimate detailing the services you’ll need to keep your home safe.