Dryer Lint Trap – Danger Lurking

There may well be a concealed threat lurking within the confines of your home just waiting to ravage your house, your possessions and your family. On average it attacks forty plus homes every day often with devastating results yet it remains silent, neglected and overlooked. The enemy, in this case is a component of an appliance you would consider to be your friend. I’m talking about the dryer lint trap, the discharge tubing and the vent system within the framework of the walls in your home.

It is amazing the amount of lint that can accumulate in the dryer lint trap after only one load of laundry. While a load of sheets may not shed much lint a tub full of towels can leave a layer thick enough to fill up your hand. The best habit is to clean the lint screen after each dryer load to allow for optimal air flow in the ventilation system. The reward for your persistence will pay off big in terms of time and money. Understand that an airflow restriction increases drying time which not only costs you time but also results in increased wear and tear on the dryer parts and of course increased utility costs dryer repair pasadena.

The screen mesh filter, also known as the dryer lint trap, only catches approximately 80% of the lint from your laundry. The remaining 20% ends up passing through the screen and on into the internal vent system of the dryer, the discharge tubing and the vent that passes through the wall and to the outside discharge outlet.

Many people, myself included for a long time, have the cheap, white plastic coil tubing that you find in many discount superstores and hardware stores. It was pretty much the standard for many years. The problem with this type of tubing is that lint will begin to hang on the uneven coils and build up over time. If the tubing is very long it ends up with a lot of bends and kinks which decreases airflow even further. These obstructions can quickly lead to dangerous conditions.

Many times the laundry room is not butted up against an exterior wall. In this case the exhaust vents will be run up the wall space behind the sheetrock to the closest exterior wall and then to the outside. This results in not only a longer run, but also in bends where lint is more likely to accumulate. For proper maintenance and safety, all of the vent system needs to be cleaned out at least twice a year. You can perform the job yourself or you can hire a service technician to do the work.

As you might imagine, lint can catch fire quite easily. Without proper maintenance, airflow can become so obstructed that lint can be forced back into the area of the heating elements and ignite. This ignition could go unnoticed by occupants as lint can smolder for an extended period of time. This is one reason it is recommended not to start your dryer and then leave the house unattended. The fact is over 15,000 dryer related fires occur each year.

Following are a few tips to help ensure that you don’t fall victim to a dryer lint trap related fire incident:

Make it a habit to check and clean the dryer lint trap between laundry loads. In addition, every couple of months you should clean the dryer lint trap with warm soap and water to remove any film buildup on the screen mesh. This is especially true if you use fabric softener sheets in the dryer.

Examine the area behind the dryer for lint buildup, articles of clothing and other household clutter.

Replace plastic coil vent hoses with metal (rigid or semi-rigid) vent exhaust to increase air flow and cut down on lint accumulation.

Observe the vent outlet on the outside of your home. If you can’t feel the air coming out then you likely have an obstruction which you need to address promptly.

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