Dryer Fires are a Real Threat that You Can Help Prevent
Dryer fires are amongst the leading causes of home fires in North America, accounting for over 14,000 reported disasters each year. The leading cause of these dryer fires is failure to clean; in other words, the majority of dryer fires are avoidable with regular maintenance. In fact, dryer lint is so flammable that the Boy Scout's Manual suggests using dryer lint as tinder to quickly start a camp fire. Once a spark touches dryer lint, the flame ignites and carries through the transition duct and into the concealed parts of the home. Even with cleaning the lint screen after each cycle, particulate still gets through the dryer's exhaust duct and creates blockages which restrict airflow. Dryer venting efficiency can be improved by various ways other than cleaning the lint screen and having the exhaust duct serviced on a regular basis.
Common Foil-based Transition Ducts are Inefficient
Practically every home with a tumble dryer uses some type of flexible transition duct to connect the appliance to the wall. Most homes, however, have grandfathered in older materials that are not only inefficient, but flammable too. White vinyl and "slinky" foil ducts feature a plastic Mylar coating which goes up in flames and quickly spreads throughout the duct run. The owner's manual in most modern dryers require using "flexible metal vents" instead of foil vents. When white vinyl or "slinky" foil is used, the appliance warranty may be voided due to the vulnerability of using these dangerous transition materials. Beyond the flammability of these older options, the foil-based material collapses within the 4" opening, creating an abrasive 3.25" space that results in numerous points for lint to catch.
Building Codes Require Flexible Metal Venting for Transition Ducts
The International Mechanical and Residential Building Codes specify UL2158A Listed materials to be considered as code compliant. Underwriter's Laboratory created the UL2158A Standard in 2006 which focused on "Clothes Dryer Transition Duct" that is listed on products which meet/exceed flame burning tests of at least 430 degrees Fahrenheit. Combining building code requirements along with manufacturer's recommendations, it's evident that only flexible metal vents can be used as transition ducts.
Today, only two types of flexible metal vents meet the strict building code requirements and are UL2158A Listed materials that have zero flame spread and zero smoke developed as tested per Surface Burning test of UL2158A. Most semi-rigid aluminum duct meet these more stringent standards along with DryerFlex® as well. While semi-rigid aluminum is airflow efficient, it crushes easily and is tough to bend in tight areas. DryerFlex can be bent into tight turns without sacrificing airflow efficiency. Simply put, DryerFlex combines the flexibility of old foil materials with the efficiency and fire ratings that modern appliances and buildings codes require.
When looking for the best material to connect the dryer to the wall, DryerFlex is clearly your only premium option. Vent cleaning professionals, appliance installers, and home builders are exclusively installing Dryerflex every day, nationwide. Aside from replacing your transition duct with DryerFlex, here are some other helpful tips to ensure your dryer is operating as safe and efficient as possible.
- The shorter the overall dryer exhaust duct run length, the better.
- Recessed dryer boxes provide an extra 4" - 7" behind the dryer, giving the dryer room to breathe.
- Efficient roof, side wall, or soffit vents create less pressure on the appliance which helps lengthen the life of the dryer.
- Smooth elbows efficiently sweep air through the exhaust rather than deflecting the hot air in traditional tight turning adjustable elbows.
- Booster fans used on runs over 35' will improve the overall performance.
- Secondary lint traps are recommended for systems with a booster fan or simply for additional peace of mind.
- Dryer Safety Alarms help monitor long-term lint accumulation and any sudden change that may impede your dryer's performance.
- Periodic vent cleaning is a critical part of maintaining home safety and efficiency. Consider having your dryer vent cleaned each year around the same time the batteries get changed in your fire alarms.