The culprit in most cases is actually lint. This tiny fibrous material is an inevitable byproduct of drying fabrics in heat. Accumulating in sufficient quantity inside the dryer or the dryer vent duct, lint can pose a fire hazard. Lint ignites easily and produces high temperatures that may spread fire from the dryer or vent duct into the home.
Here are two scenarios where dryer lint fires may occur:
- If the dryer lint filter isn’t regularly cleaned, it may become obstructed and reduce proper venting. Excessive amounts of lint accumulate inside the dryer as the dryer temperature rises. Lint may spontaneously ignite and clothes or other fabrics in the dryer also catch fire.
- The dryer vent duct extends to the outside of the house to exhaust dryer heat. If the duct is lengthy and has many bends and joints, large amounts of lint may accumulate inside the duct. If the dryer overheats, lint may ignite and fire may spread into the house.
To reduce the danger of flammable dryer lint, follow these tips:
- Before loading clothes into the dryer, take a moment to clean the dryer lint filter.
- The dryer vent duct should take the shortest route to the outside with as few bends and joints in the duct as possible.
- Flexible plastic dryer ducts are not fireproof and will melt under high heat, allowing fire to spread. They are also easily compressed or crushed and may obstruct airflow entirely, causing the dryer to overheat. Dryer vent ducts made of rigid metal or aluminum contain a lint fire and prevent it from spreading into the house.
- Once a year, the dryer vent duct should be inspected for lint. Professional duct cleaning services can vacuum or blow out the entire length of the dryer duct to remove all lint without dismantling it.
For more advice to eliminate the fire hazard in your dryer, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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