How often do you have your appliances professionally inspected for safety? Most people have the furnace checked every year, but how often do you have your clothes dryer inspected? Sadly, most people never even think about this unless they have experienced a dryer fire. Like furnaces, clothes dryers also must be properly maintained. The dryer exhaust system should be inspected to be sure it is up to code.
UL Safety Standards
First, you need to know the rating of the products you are using. The UL rating should be printed somewhere on the information about the parts that make up your dryer vent system. While most of the more recent clothes dryers that have been installed are UL approved, there are many people using clothes dryers that have been in place for many years, or they have just changed out the dryer, but not the vent system. That means it’s time to pull your dryer out, or have a professional do it for you, and make sure the parts of the vent system are up to the newer standards.
How long is the duct that leads from the back of your clothes dryer to the vent outside? The longer it is, the harder your dryer works to carry hot, moist air and lint from your home. A longer vent also increases the chance of lint sticking to the sides instead of making its way out through the vent. As the lint accumulates, air flow is restricted; lint clogged vents are a fire hazard and they reduce the efficiency of your clothes dryer, increasing your energy bills.
Bends and Elbows
Not all clothes dryers are located on an outside wall where the vent tube is very short and goes straight outside. Sometimes there are elbows and 90 degree bends to bypass whatever obstructions there may be before it leads to the outside vent. This will cause your dryer to work harder to do its job and increase the chance of lint clogging the system. The restricted air flow causes the hot, moist air to stay in the dryer drum, with your wet laundry. Your dryer will run longer to get the clothes dry, use more energy and eventually, overheat and cause a fire.
It has been discovered that screws and fasteners holding sections of dryer ducts together can cause problems. Lint catches on the protruding screws and builds up to form a clog and restrict air flow. Sections should be fastened so that there are no protrusions on the inside of the ducts.
No matter how energy efficient your new clothes dryer is, it will not be efficient with an older dryer vent and duct system. The parts that make up the system, the length and the path, all contribute to the overall performance of your dryer. If you are in doubt or have never had a professional inspect your dryer vent system, now is the time to call a specialist and add your clothes dryer to your annual appliance maintenance schedule.