According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an estimated 15,500 fires, 10 deaths and 10 injuries every year due to clothes dryer fires. Several hundred people a year are also subjected to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from improper dryer vents. The total damages come to nearly $100,000,000 yearly. That’s one hundred million dollars a year. Sometimes, it’s a faulty dryer that’s the problem…but more times than not, it’s the vent.
You know the vent…that pipe that NEVER gets seen once the dryer is smashed up against it. THAT my friends, is the problem.
You probably have one of those flexible vents. These things are HORRIBLE for venting. The ridges in the wall of the vent really cut down on the velocity of the air. Ve·loc·i·ty: Rapidity or speed of motion; swiftness.
When you dry your clothes, only a portion of the lint is captured by the trap and the rest of it gets funnelled out the vent pipe with the hot humid air. When you have one of these flexible vent pipes, the inner wall of the pipe is nothing more than a place for the traveling lint to get stuck. And just like your arteries after 25 years of cheeseburgers and fries, they get clogged up!
Over time, this clog gets so bad it can back up into the dryer. This can happen even if you clean your lint trap every time you run a load (which you do, of course). And just like that. Dryer heart attack. Dryer fire.
There are a few signs that might indicate you have an issue:
1. The clothes are taking a long time to dry.
2. The clothes come out hotter than usual.
3. The flaps on your vent cover (you know, outside of your house where the dryer vents to the outdoors) don’t move while your dryer is running (this could mean your have 100% blockage and it’s time to get it fixed–NOW.)
But how do I know for sure if my vent is clogged?
I have a very easy, fool-proof secret for you…..look at it. You must take the vent pipe loose from the dryer and visually inspect it.
This is not a hard task. If you can turn a screwdriver, you can do it. It just might save your life.
P.S. – NEVER leave your dryer running while you’re not home, or especially when you’re asleep…you just might wake up dead.