Dirty Dryer Ducts
Estimates put the number of house fires that can be attributed to lint accumulation in clothes dryer at over 4000 per year. The flexible ducts made of vinyl or foil present the greatest risk, because both the interior ridges created by the ducts accordion design and the ducts propensity of sagging when not installed properly create greater resistance to air flow. The slower air flow causes lint to get caught inside the duct both on the interior ridges and in any low spots caused by the sagging duct. Over time as lint continues to accumulate the air flow is reduced further to a point where the hot air exhausted through the duct is moving so slow that it raises the temperature high enough in the duct to ignite the accumulated lint. If your home has flexible vinyl or foil duct replacing it with either a rigid or semi rigid metal duct is a safer alternative. The metal ducts properly installed, not only stay cleaner, but if a fire does start a metal duct may contain the fire. A clean lint screen and a clean exhaust duct will not only reduce the risk of fire, but will also allow the clothes dryer to operate more efficiently and lower your electric bills. All exhaust ducts on clothes washers should be cleaned regularly…so add it to your yearly maintenance list.