Dryer Vent – Efficiency and Safety – Defined
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What can you do to prevent fires and increase efficiency of your dryer?
Seal the gap (with expanding foam) around the dryer vent where it exits the house. This hole can be sealed on the inside or outside, whichever is more accessible. This will help keep unconditioned air and bugs from entering your house.
Every couple of months, remove the dryer’s lint filter and use a skinny brush with a long handle to remove lint from inside the dryer’s vent system. Brushes made for this purpose are available at hardware and discount stores for less than $10.
Also clean the vent on the outside of your home, and make sure it opens and closes properly. Finally, clean the entire vent duct once a year or as needed—or call a professional to handle the job.
Consumer Reports : Tips to keep your clothes dryer running safely and efficiently.
- Use metal dryer ducts to help prevent dryer fires. Consumer Reports says that flexible dryer ducts made of foil or plastic are the most problematic because they can sag and let lint build up at low points. Ridges can also trap lint. Metal ducts, either flexible or solid, are far safer because they don’t sag, so lint is less likely to build up. In addition, if a fire does start, a metal duct is more likely to contain it.
- No matter which kind of duct you have, you should clean it regularly. In addition, remove the visible lint from the lint screen each time you use your dryer. This not only will reduce the risk of a fire, but your clothes will dry faster and your dryer will use less energy. If dryer film is a worry, there is certainly no harm in occasionally cleaning the lint filter with warm soapy water and a small brush.
- Clean inside, behind, and underneath the dryer, where lint can also build up.
- Take special care drying clothes stained with volatile chemicals such as gasoline, cooking oils, cleaning agents, or finishing oils and stains. Wash the clothing more than once to minimize the amount of these chemicals on the clothing, and line dry instead of using a dryer.
- Avoid using liquid fabric softener on all-cotton clothing made of fleece, terry cloth, or velour. In our flammability tests, liquid fabric softener added to rinse water accelerated the burning speed of these fabrics. If you want a softener, use dryer sheets instead.
- Buy dryers that use moisture sensors rather than ordinary thermostats to end the auto-dry cycle. Thermostats can allow the dryer to run longer than necessary.
- Occasionally wipe the sensor with a soft cloth or cotton ball and rubbing alcohol to keep it functioning accurately. Sensors are usually located on the inside of the dryer, just below the door opening, and can be hard to find. They are usually two curved metallic strips, shaped somewhat like the letter “C”.
What about a dryer vent hoods? There are different opinions about vent hoods. Here are two videos discussing concerns about dryer vent hoods: