About Dryer Vents

Many people mistake dryer vents for the dryer filter.

Significance

About Dryer VentsAbout Dryer Vents
While the filter is the part of the dryer that collects lint, the vent is the tubing attached to the dryer that leads to and exits the house. This is where the moist, hot air is able to escape. It is important to keep both clean. Most of us regularly clean out the filter after each load as recommended by the manufacturer. However, often we neglect to clean the vent. This is important since this is a major cause of dryer fires.

According to National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) 80% of dryer fires are those that reside in residential buildings. This they say results in approximately 12,700 fires annually. The difference is that commercial dryers are cleaned by professionals on a regular basis. The cleaning of individual home dryers, are cleaned only if the owner decides to do it. According to Laundry-Alternative.com; the accumulation of lint and the lack of proper air flow are prime conditions for a dryer fire.

Warning

Keeping your dryer vent un-clogged is important. In addition to a fire risk, clogged vents make your dryer work harder. Even a partially-clogged vent will cause your dryer to work harder. This in turn will use more energy. Using more energy will end up costing you more. In addition, lint filled dryer vents pose a fire risk.

Potential

Before a fire happens there are several warning signs. Pay attention if you discover the following signs with your dryer: The lint filter shows little or no lint; it takes several cycles to dry the clothes; the dryer stops running during a cycle; moldy smell on clothes; unusually hot clothes from the dryer. If you suspect any of these symptoms with your dryer; check the ventilation. Either disconnect and clean it yourself, or hire someone experienced to do it for you.

Considerations

By now you can see how keeping your dryer vent clean is important. Here are some ways to do just that: Under the lint trap, lint accumulates. By using a vacuum, you can remove excess build up of this lint. Find the exit point of the dryer vent on the outside of you home. Observe whether lint and heat are escaping freely. Once a year, have a professional service technician clean the dryer vents. Do not allow the outside vent cover to be blocked. Make sure it freely opens with moving air.

Expert Insight

Keep your dryer vent properly venting outside your home. Dryer vents that do not ventilate outside the home will add one to two gallons of moisture to the inside of your house for every load of clothes you dry. What's so bad about this? Moisture causes rot, mildew, and allows other bacteria to grow in your home.

Types

Dryer Vent tubing used to be made of vinyl. However, most codes no longer allow vent tubing to be made of this material. You will now find the vent ducts made of aluminum--a material that is capable of withstanding the heat associated with dryer exhaust.

Considerations

Installing dryer vents is not a hard task. However, one major concern when doing so is proper exhaust. The idea is to make sure all connections of the metal tubing are secure. This includes the exit pipe. Make sure it firmly and securely fits the exit point. This will make sure all lint and hot air escapes the house properly. Dryer vents come in two popular styles. These are straight and crinkled. Easier to use are the straight type. However, the crinkled (accordion-like) type may be more flexible when placing vent in a tight corner. Which ever you choose follow the manufactures guidelines and get expert advice, especially if you've never installed one before.

About the Author

Based in central New York, Michele Martinez has been writing self-help articles since 2007. Her articles have appeared on eHow, Associated Content and Helium. She attended Mohawk Valley Community College and has over 20 years of experience in the areas of aviation, real estate, student loans and education.