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Why should you maintain your dryer vents regularly?

Appliance Efficiency

A clean exhaust duct prevents heat, moisture and, in the case of gas clothes dryers, carbon monoxide from being trapped in your home. When this type of spillage occurs, energy, natural resources and time are all wasted because your appliance works too hard and runs longer than necessary. Moisture can also cause damage to drywall, wallpaper, ceilings and other building materials.
 

Wear on Your Clothes Dryer
If your dryer takes twice as long to dry clothes as it should, the number of loads that it will dry is cut in half. When the dryer runs at higher than designed temperatures, the life of your clothes dryer decreases. This can lead to the heating element burning out or a fire could ignite as a result of overworked safety controls.

 

Facts About Clothes Dryer Exhaust Safety
1. According to manufacturer’s specifications and local codes, dryer ducts must be a minimum 4” in diameter and at least as large as the dryer outlet.

2. Unless otherwise specified by your dryer’s manufacturer or local code, the developed length of your dryer’s exhaust duct should not exceed 25 feet. (When determining developed length, each 90º turn adds 5 feet to the actual length.)
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3. Dryer vents shall be independent of all other systems and terminate outdoors, not into a chimney, crawl space or attic.

4. Your outside dryer exhaust vent’s termination hood should be equipped with a back draft damper to ensure that the exhaust doesn’t come back in your home.

5. Metal transition ducts should be used between the dryer and the exhaust duct.

6. Flexible transition ducts should never be used in an attic, a crawl space, or inside a wall.

Clothes dryer do’s

Installation

  • Have your clothes dryer installed by a professional.

  • Make sure the correct electrical plug and outlet are used and that the dryer is connected properly.

  • Read manufacturers' instructions and warnings in use and care manuals that come with new dryers.

Cleaning

  • Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry. Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up. In addition, clean the lint filter with a nylon brush at least every six months or more often if it becomes clogged.

  • Clean lint out of the vent pipe every three months.

  • Have your dryer cleaned regularly by a professional, especially if it is taking longer than normal for clothes to dry.

Maintenance

  • Inspect the venting system behind the dryer to ensure it is not damaged or restricted.

  • Put a covering on outside wall dampers to keep out rain, snow and dirt.

  • Make sure the outdoor vent covering opens when the dryer is on.

  • Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid, non-ribbed metal duct.

  • Have gas-powered dryers inspected every year by a professional to ensure that the gas line and connection are together and free of leaks.

  • Check regularly to make sure nests of small animals and insects are not blocking the outside vent.

  • Keep the area around the clothes dryer free of items that can burn.

  • If you will be away from home for an extended time, unplug or disconnect the dryer.

Clothes dryer don’ts

  • Don’t use a clothes dryer without a lint filter or with a lint filter that is loose, damaged or clogged.

  • Don’t overload the dryer.

  • Don’t use a wire screen or cloth to cover the wall damper. They can collect lint and clog the dryer vent.

  • Don’t dry anything containing foam, rubber or plastic. An example of an item not to place in a dryer is a bathroom rug with a rubber backing.

  • Don’t dry any item for which manufacturers' instructions state “dry away from heat.”

  • Don’t dry glass fiber materials (unless manufacturers' instructions allow).

  • Don’t dry items that have come into contact with anything flammable like alcohol, cooking oils or gasoline. Dry them outdoors or in a well-ventilated room, away from heat.

  • Don’t leave a clothes dryer running if you leave home or when you go to bed.

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