Honey, is our Dryer Vent made out of Flammable Flexible Tubing?

Sound crazy? It’s not. It’s unbelievable how often we see homes with flammable dryer vents installed, filled with lint, all ready to catch a spark.

It’s winter. Not a lot of clothes hanging out on the ‘cord-a-linge’ this time of year. Most of us are using our dryers, and we’re putting a lot of wooly sweaters and fleece in there, all clothing that shed a whole lot of lint.

In the US, there are 17,000 fires related to clothes dryer vents every year. While there are no official Canadian statistics, we use our dryers even more, especially during the winter months, making this hazard all the more important.

While it’s important to clean the lint out of the easy-to-access filter every time you finish a load, it’s equally important to be aware of how clean your dryer vent is. Over time, bits of lint escape through the filter, and can build up quickly, leading to an extremely dangerous fire hazard – especially if your dryer vent is made of a flammable material.

Many do-it-yourselfers have been known to install the wrong dryer ducts. We see these mistakes all the time:

Hazardous Dryer Ducts

NOT SAFE: Flexible Vinyl Tubing

This type of dryer vent is made of plastic and can easily melt and lead to a house fire. This type of tubing is meant to vent humidity out of the bathroom. Often found in white, and ribbed, it easily lets lint build up inside.

NOT SAFE: Mylar Foil Tubing

A flexible ribbed shiny tubing material, often people assume it is safe because it is shiny. Mylar is not approved for clothes dryer vent material.

See Video: MattKnowsThat to see how flammable it is. http://youtu.be/vfExQ3mwBH8

Safe Dryer Ducts

SAFE: Rigid Aluminum Dryer Duct

The International Residential Code (IRC) requires that clothes dryer vents be made of at least 0.016” thick rigid metal, have smooth interior surfaces and there should not be any screws sticking into the duct. This type of vent can easily be taken apart and cleaned by the homeowner. Best practice is to keep the vent to 10 feet (3 metres) or less.

Checklist for preventing a clothes dryer fire

  • Check for blocked pipes or lint buildup in the vent. If everything is clean, check if the heater coil has a problem.
  • Make sure your ducts are made out of non-flammable material and can do the job! Replace flexible vinyl tubing with aluminum or steel ducts.
    Make sure the dryer is plugged into an outlet with sufficient power.
  • Never put mops or rags that have used wax, flammable solvents or oils in the dryer. These can still catch fire when washed and dry.
  • Replace ripped filters or cracked exhaust vents.
  • Check dryer vent flaps on the outside of the building to make sure they are not freezing shut or sticking.
  • Keep the area around the dryer free of flammable materials. Install a smoke detector if the dryer is far from your main living area.

Telltale signs of a dirty dryer vent:

Your dryer is taking longer than usual to dry your clothes, and are still damp after a full cycle.
The door of the dryer is hot, and the clothes are hot when you take them out. Take a look on the outside of your home, where the vent exits the building. Is the flapper fully opening? If not, it might be an indication that there’s excessive lint buildup in your vent.

If there is lint buildup, your dryer’s safety switch will be forced to cycle on and off continually due to heat buildup, and could eventually lead to early failure of the switch.

While it is recommended you clean your dryer vent once a year, any of the signs mentioned above indicate you should take action immediately

Mose Home Inspection Services
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Lay Chan Wee
Lay Chan Wee
01:19 31 Aug 21
I was impressed with the service provided by Rui Su. He was organized, explained in detail area that I am not familiar... with. He provided a good report. I will recommend him if you need home inspection.read more
Mary Jane Caro
Mary Jane Caro
14:25 27 Aug 21
I am always pleased to recommend Carol Mose from Mose Home Inspection Services to my clients who have had offers... accepted on residential real estate properties. She is knowledgeable, thorough, provides clear explanations, and delivers comprehensive reports.read more
Massimo Pannunzio
Massimo Pannunzio
22:05 25 Aug 21
Michael has got to be on of the best home inspectors in all of Quebec. It was amazing working with him and he had my... best interest at heart when making a life changing decision. He made sure I had all the answers and made it easy to work with him. I will be using Mose inspection for any moment that I need an inspection done that's for sure!read more
Amanda Lee
Amanda Lee
19:14 16 Jun 21
Amazing experience with Carol Mose who helped me with a pre-purchase inspection! She was very approachable and... observant, and informed me of all her first impressions on-site. This gave me greater understanding of any conditions as I was able to ask any quick questions on the spot. Her reports are the most thorough that I've seen and include diagrams to help explain what any physical signs mean and potential consequences. Could not have asked for a better inspector!read more
Maeghan Banks
Maeghan Banks
15:38 14 Jun 21
Carol was wonderful to work with for our pre-purchase inspection. She was professional, thorough and communicative,... taking the time to explain her findings as we went through the house. After the inspection, we felt we had clear knowledge of the condition of the house (both pros and cons), allowing us to move forward with the purchase with confidence. Highly recommend!read more
Ryan Chalupovitsch
Ryan Chalupovitsch
13:43 01 Jun 21
Carol Mose is the best home inspector in the business. Approachable and extremely knowledgeable. She did an... inspection for me and really took the time to explain her findings and help me understand the home I was looking to purchase. Cannot recommend her enough. Don’t hesitate.read more
Elisabeth Faure
Elisabeth Faure
21:16 29 Apr 21
This is the second time I have used MOSE, and they are always really amazing. Very nice, very professional. they came... to have a look at my roof and let me know if we were due for a repair - I was very satisfied with everything and would recommend them to anybody!read more
Hannah S
Hannah S
22:05 16 Apr 21
I had a great experience with Mose home inspection. My husband and I are first time homebuyers and so had a ton of... questions about the process. Everyone we talked with was really informative and helpful. Michael was our inspector and was phenomenal. The inspection was very thorough and he explained everything in detail with realistic next steps for us to take. We came out of the inspection feeling really informed. Plus, he is just an absolute delight! He had very contagious enthusiasm and made the inspection a really positive experience. Would highly recommend!read more
Gabriel Lukuc
Gabriel Lukuc
03:05 16 Apr 21
Michael was amazing. He took the time to explain to us what’s really important and the reasoning behind it. We’re not... very handy nor savvy when it comes to home construction so we really appreciate him taking the time to explain to us all aspects of the inspection. Also, Michael was friendly, professional and timely; he provided the report over a holiday and a weekend.read more
Stephanie Ballard
Stephanie Ballard
14:24 19 Mar 21
MOSE is the best in the business. Once again we were happy with their inspection services - they are professional,... friendly and knowledgeable. Would not hesitate to recommend to friends and family (and have)!read more
Rodrigo Morales
Rodrigo Morales
18:27 10 Sep 20
Home inspection
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