Did you know that clothes dryers are a leading catalyst in most house fires?
Most of us do laundry on a weekly and perhaps even daily basis. It’s a pretty standard operation in every home and the procedure is always the same: separate colors from whites, wash, place in dryer (maybe throw in a dryer sheet), and clean out the lint from the screen after every use. Simple. What a lot of people may not know should be part of the process is to check the hose in the back of the dryer at least once a year and clean out the lint that collects there. If the lint continues to accumulate, there’s a high risk of causing a fire.
If you’re purchasing a home, your home inspector is required to inspect the mechanical exhaust system for your clothes dryer, so you can rest assured your equipment should be fine for about a year from date of purchase. Often times the home inspector finds lint accumulated in the dryer hose. When the inspector is in the attic, disconnected dryer hoses have been found to be filling the attic with lint, a huge fire hazard!
It is recommended that you schedule an annual inspection to your equipment to guarantee it’s been cleaned properly. Before the technicians come knocking, there are a few things to know to check on the dryer yourself:
- Do you have plastic transition ducts? If so, these should be replaced with metal ducts because the plastic ones are flammable, restrict airflow, have lint build-up that causes overheating and potentially a spreading fire.
- 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.
- 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).
- Dryer vents shall be independent of all other systems and terminate outdoors, not into a chimney, crawl space or attic because dryers release about a gallon of water per load, and this can create a lot of moisture damage if not vented properly.
- 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.
- Flexible transition ducts should never be used in an attic, a crawl space, or inside a wall.
Many of these aspects are very technical, and can’t be evaluated accurately by everyone. Here at Precision Home Inspectors we take extra precautions when evaluating your appliances to ensure nothing is in danger of triggering a disaster. Make sure to give us a call to get your prospective home inspected before closing!