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Dryer Duct Safety Inspections

What We Look for During a Dryer Duct Safety Inspection

All manufacturers state not to use plastic flexible hose to vent your dryer. In fact, the largest manufacturer of clothes dryers in the world, GE, voids their warranty if their dryer is vented with plastic flexible hose, and yet plastic flexible hose is still in use in the majority of homes today and continues to be used in much new construction. This type of hose, along with the thin wall foil hose, are fire hazards and when we discover them, we will recommend suitable replacements.

Clothes Dryers are one of the most expensive appliances in your home to operate. The longer it runs, the more money it costs you. Yearly cleaning of the dryer duct helps to keep it running efficiently.

The way a dryer works is really quite simple. Hot air is forced through a turning drum. Wet clothes are placed in the drum and are dried by the hot air. A full load of wet clothes may contain one to one and a half gallons of water. As that water is removed, lint is created from the clothes. Much of this lint is trapped in the dryer's lint filter, which should be cleaned after every use as stated in your dryer's care and use guide. However, lint filters do not trap or catch all lint. The lint that remains is carried through your vent system along with moist air.

Flexible hoses create air turbulence, which is resistance to efficient air flow. In some cases, the dryer may be installed in a way that pinches the hose and restricts airflow dramatically. Moisture collects on the pleats of all flexible hoses and lint can easily stick to these surfaces and cause lint to build up and create a fire hazard. This also causes your dryer to work harder, costing you in service calls and cutting short the life of your dryer. The key to efficient and safe clothes drying is to create an efficient vent system to move lint and moist air together with as little resistance as possible. Rigid aluminum pipe vents and fire resistant, smooth-wall transition hoses are highly recommended.

Note: Every year in the United States, 13,000 fires are reported that start at or in the dryer (both gas and electric), and lint buildup is a major culprit.

We look for air leakage which disrupts the efficient flow of air and can allow lint buildup. We use metal foil tape on joints to seal any cracks.

Screws should never be used to fasten pieces together. Screws or rivets project into the airway and will catch lint. We recommend two layers of metal tape on all joints. Always use metal foil tape. Duct tape will deteriorate with time.

90-degree turns in the dryer exhaust system should be minimized. Sharp turns cause more back pressure and create resistance to air flow. Two 45-degree bends are more efficient than one 90-degree.

Secure duct work is important and hanging ducts should always be supported with strapping (especially at the joints).

We encourage insulation around any part of the dryer duct that passes through an unheated area. Otherwise, condensation will form inside the duct, snare the lint and greatly increase lint buildup.

Choose the most efficient route from your dryer to the outside. Be sure the placement of this vent will not exhaust dryer air to a window well, gas vent, chimney or any other unventilated area (such as attic or crawl space).

Exterior wall dampers should have a hood or flaps that keep out the weather. No hardware cloth, cage or screen wire of any type should be in the exit air port. It will collect lint and block the dryer exhaust air flow.

Birds and critters will not inhabit your vent pipe if your vent system and damper are functioning properly.

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