Your next load of laundry could burn your house down! Have you had your dryer vent cleaned recently? Your clothes dryer heats and evaporates the remaining water (more than a gallon for heavy loads) from your clothes using either an electric heating element or a gas burner. For a dryer vent to function properly it has several requirements: it must be properly connected and vented to the exterior of the home. It should not be restricted, kinked, or crushed in any way to allow air to flow freely, and it must be cleaned or serviced regularly to remove the lint that builds up on the walls of the vent. Lint is made up of clothing particles such as cotton and polyester which is extremely flammable and when it builds up it can cause reduced drying efficiency and ultimately cause the dryer to overheat and catch the lint on fire. Fires typically start within the dryer first and then spread through the ventilation duct and to other areas of a home. Statistics from the National Fire Protection Agency indicate that in 2005, dryers were responsible for 13,775 house fires, 418 injuries, 15 deaths and $196 million in property damage. Most of these fires were caused by a failure to clean and maintain lint from dryer vent ducts. Currently, dryer vent ducts are required to be made of rigid metal ducts with smooth walls to help prevent accumulation of lint. Flexible “transition” ducts are only allowed to make the connection between the dryer and rigid ducting. We inspect dryer vents for a number of other requirements as well, to ensure the proper installation and operation of your dryer vent and the safety of you and your home. We also recommend annual cleanings of your homes dryer ducts. Contact us today to schedule your home inspection.