Dryer Fires – How Safe is Your Home?

The last week in 2011 I inspected a home in Madison, MS and found a safety issue that, if not maintained, can not only be unhealthy but could possibly take your life. A clogged dryer

Gary Smith - Ridgeland MS Home Inspector - Dryer Vent Inspectionvent can also increase your energy bill because it takes so much longer to dry the laundry. Statistics show that more than 15,000 residential house fires a year are caused by poorly maintained dryer vents.

The home I inspected had a vertical, schedule 40 PVC pipe installed in the wall that terminated through the roof. Peeking into the vent just behind the dryer, I noticed lent build-up.

Here are some tell-tale signs of trouble ahead.

  • It takes longer than normal to dry your clothes. A clogged vent restricts the air passage and allows less air to move to the outside.
  • Are your clothes still damp after repeated drying cycles? A sure sign of a clogged system.
  • Your clothes are extremely hot or you have an excessively hot dryer cabinet can also signal a clogged vent.
  • Lent around your dryer vent or a dusty film on cabinets, the dryer and the wall surface behind your dryer.
  • Look just inside the dryer door and note any lent build-up on the door, just around the door’s seal.

Here are ways to keep you dryer safe from lent build-up and protect your property.

  • Clean the dryer lent screen every time you use the dryer.
  • The exhaust vent should be as short as possible and have limited bends and turns to allow sufficient airflow.
  • Are you building a new home? Try to take into account for exhausting the dryer vent. Place the laundry room and the dryer location on an outside wall.
  • Dryer vents should be inspected at least every 2-3 years (depending on usage). WHIRLPOOLS’S RECOMMENDATION

For added protection your laundry room should be equipped with a fire extinguisher and working smoke alarms placed near the clothes dryer.

ENERGY SAVING TIP :: Here’s a inexpensive product that can help lower your power bill. Decreases drying time by lifting and separating fabrics, which improves airflow while drying. Great for the environment and your wallet, this set of 2 dryers balls will soften up to 1000 loads of laundry. Imagine never buying dryer sheets again.


$7.53 – Amazon

For more information call our office at 601.691.1496.

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Gary Smith - Ridgeland MS Home Inspector

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