According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are more than 2,900 home fires started by clothes dryers. The buildup of lint is the main cause of these fires.
Each load of laundry that passes through your dryer contains lint, small particles of clot and fiber that are loosened in the wash cycle. Your removable lint trap catches a lot of the lint, but it doesn’t catch it all.
Lint can get past the filter, it then gets trapped in the crevices deep inside your lint filter trap and in the dryer hose/duct while it makes its way to the outside vent. As the lint builds up it restricts the airflow and can cause the dryer to overheat, which then can ignite the lint.
There are a few things to look for when determining if your dryer needs a good cleaning.
- Clothes take more than one cycle to dry.
- Clothes don’t dry completely.
- The dryer exterior gets very hot to the touch.
- The outside vent flaps do not open much when dryer is in use.
- The laundry room is more humid than usual.
- There is a burning smell in the laundry room.
Cleaning the Dryer
Simply vacuuming the dryer will not provide a thorough cleaning. Vacuum cleaners do not have the power required to remove the lint completely from the dryer’s filter housing and it will not remove the lint from the walls of the duct.
Homeowners should clean the lint trap after every dryer use and giving the lint trap a good scrub with soap and water is a good idea.
However, to really get the dryer cleaned out and operating safely it is a good idea to call in a professional.
A professional cleaning uses a power vac specially made to get the dryer and duct flushed of lint and will also inspect the hoses, ducts and gas line to ensure everything is attached properly and operational.
Regular cleaning will protect you and your family as well as your home.