Dryer Venting

November/December 2003
A version of this article appears in the November/December 2003 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
Click here to read more articles about Washer/Dryer
November 01, 2003
When was the last time you checked a dryer's vent hose?
        In 1998, a letter to Ann Landers about clothes dryer fires triggered many testimonials urging readers to check their dryer venting. Each year about 15,000 fires start in dryers and cause 10 to 20 deaths in the United States. Reduced air flow—either from lint blockage or from improper venting materials—creates many of these fires.         The three leading culprits in reduced air flow are         1.White flexible hose.Although it is frequently used for dryer venting, the white vinyl slinky-style flexible hose doesn’t meet the Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) standard for dryer venting, and it is a fire hazard to boot. (The UL standard requires metal dryer venting.) The spiral ribs restrict air flow, and the resulting overheating can ignite lint in the vent or inside the dryer.Air flow is restricted even more if people omit the elbows from the venting system and simply stretch the flex hose from the back of the dryer to the vent cap. Once a fire starts, the plastic vent hose burns, spreading the fire.The warranty on new dryers may be voided if unapproved venting ...

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