List Categories | List All Articles | List Articles By Title
Fire Hazard Alert - Is Your Dryer Ready to Ignite
In recent years there has been many stories about dryers catching on fire. Should we be concerned? Yes of course. We should take seriously anything that may put our family at risk.
Was the problem the dryer? Rarely. After investigating it is usually determined to have been the venting within the home catching on fire, and not the dryer.
Obviously appliance manufacturers are concerned about the possibility of any dryer related fires. They have made it a policy to advise both service companies and consumers that the use of plastic venting is prohibited. They have also begun issuing cautions not to exceed suggested maximums for venting length. Let me try to explain the details of this problem.
The drying process
When clothes are being dried inside your family dryer there are two processes happening. Firstly, heat is applied to the air inside the dryer drum as it turns. This raises its internal temperature to approximately 175 Fahrenheit causing moisture to be driven out of the clothes by evaporation. Secondly, large amounts of air is passed through the clothes. Surprisingly, the real trick to efficiently dry clothes is not the heat, but rather this vast volume of air.
Ever wonder why the clothes on the clothesline dry so fast on a windy day? The hero is the wind. Well, the same process takes place inside your family dryer.
To make them dry faster air is constantly blown through the clothes during the drying cycle. The tumbling action of the drum further exposes the clothing to the hot air flow. While they tumble the air picks up moisture from the clothes, carries it down the venting, and dumps it outside the home. Most people think the venting is to push the lint outside. Actually, its primary purpose is to dump the moisture outside the home.
It is a process that works efficiently. That is, as long as nothing is allowed to interfere with it. Impede, slow down, or stop the airflow and the process quickly fails.
In the past homeowners who wanted to vent their dryers did it using rigid sections of venting. The sections were secured together (using screws or duct tape), and elbows were added if necessary, to connect the dryer and venting to the wall outlet. Although time consuming to install, straight venting sections were durable and would often outlive the dryer. This was in the era when laundry equipment always sat in the basement, against an outside wall.
Then along came flexible plastic venting. It made installations easier. It turned an hour installation into a ten minute job. The flex though tended to become brittle and break easily. Also it was prone to blockage and needed to be replaced every few years. But since plastic venting was more convenient we continued with its use.
Then came a change in lifestyle. As both parents went off to work the household dryer was moved to accommodate our faster paced lifestyle. To save us time it was moved from the basement to a ground floor laundry room. Although moved to the working level of the home, it was still close to an outside wall.
So you are saying, "I know all this, but what does it have to do with venting fires".
I answer, "Have patience, we are almost there".
Taking this desire for easy access still further the dryer was moved again.
The laundry room is now often located near the centre of the home, close to the family room or kitchen. If located upstairs it is often centrally located between the bedrooms, allowing faster access to where most dirty laundry is produced. Easier for the homeowner that is, but no longer near an outside wall. The distance from the dryer to an outside wall of the home is now substantially farther than it used to be.
Presto, we have come to the crux of our problem. The venting is too darned long.
Physics and the venting pipe
It is a lot more difficult to push air down a long venting pipe than a short one. This is because air inside the pipe has weight and volume. Obviously, the air inside a longer pipe would weigh more than a shorter one.
After about twenty feet of venting pipe the dryer begins having difficulty pushing against all this weight. The average dryer motor does not have enough strength to overcome the weight of the air inside the pipe. The result is that the air in the pipe begins to slow down.
Since the air slows down the moisture accumulates in the venting rather than being carried outside. This causes the venting interior to become wet and lint traveling through the pipe will cling to this wetness.
This starts a vicious cycle within the venting pipe. It goes something like this: The more lint in the venting, the more blockage; More blockage means slower air flow; Slower air flow means more moisture in the venting; More moisture in the venting means more lint.
I think you understand the scenario now.
Taken to extremes the lint can block the venting closed. When this happens it can cause the dryer to overheat. The normal drum temperature of 175 Fahrenheit can quickly shoot up to 300 Fahrenheit or higher. It may even get hot enough to allow lint in the venting to ignite. If a fire of this type starts within flexible plastic venting it can quickly burn through the venting and allow the fire to spread.
Therefore, remove any flexible plastic venting and replace with rigid, straight sections. If the total length is less than fifteen feet, flexible "metal venting" is acceptable.
Calculating true venting length
So lets look at how we can determine if a venting problem is in our future.
Manufacturers generally suggest a venting length of 15 feet (and two elbows) to be the maximum. But the true venting length can be deceptive.
"So how do I know if my venting is too long"?
The true length of your venting is determined as follows:
1. Measure all the straight lengths and add them together
2. Count all the turns or elbows and multiply this number by 4
3. Add up the totals
Example Since an elbow or turn is equivalent to an additional 4 feet of pipe 20 feet of venting with 4 turns would actually be:
20 feet + 4X4 feet = 36 feet
Don't be surprised by the true equivalent length of your venting. In modern homes it can be substantially longer than the manufacturers suggested maximum.
If the blockage becomes critical the dryer will stop doing its job properly. As a homeowner watch for the following signs that the venting may be starting to block.
· Clothes coming out wet
"So who is to blame for this problem"?
I say there is no culprit in this scenario. If you want to blame anything, blame our fast paced lifestyle. Gone are the times when laundry day was a full days work. We all want instant gratification and instantaneous results - even with our laundry chores.
So as a consumer what can you do to alleviate this problem? Well you certainly can't move the laundry room. The best thing you can do is to be aware that the problem exists. Consider taking down the venting and cleaning out the lint buildup during your annual spring cleaning. Also, regularly walk outside and check the vent cap where it exits your house. Remove any lint buildup and make sure the flap moves freely. If you see a lot of activity from birds in you backyard check it immediately. They love to build nests inside the vent cap.
Other than the previous suggestions a little common sense might avert a tragedy. Do not operate your dryer while asleep, out of the house, or next door at the neighbours. And always remember the old saying that states "better safe than sorry".
About the Author
New Tax Breaks for Energy Efficient Home Improvements
If you would like to make your existing home more energy efficient and get some help paying for the improvements, you need to know about the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005. The new law provides a $500 lifetime credit against your federal income tax for the cost of certain energy-saving home improvements that you make to your home after December 31, 2005 and before January 1, 2008.
Draught Proofing Your Home
This article takes a look at a number of ways of preventing or reducing draughts in your home. There are areas we look at are doors, windows and double-glazing, garage doors and finally some of the furnishings you could use to prevent draughts.
Adjustable Bed - Start Each Day on the Right Note
Your daily beauty sleep will not be complete if any of the following four factors namely light, noise, and temperature and of course the bed that you are sleeping on are not up to the desired level. While you may adjust the other three factors according to your desired comfort you won't be able to do that with the bed unless you have an adjustable bed.
Tiles are the Foundation Stone for Your Stylish Bathroom!
Tiles can increase the value of any home. Ceramic tiles, mosaic tile, floor tile all add an extra quality to your home.
How Stained Glass Can Add Elegance To Your Home
If there is one way to throw a new light on your home, it's through the stained glass you put in your windows. Whether you want to enhance old windows by replacing some of the panes, or are complementing the new Pella windows you've installed, stained glass can lend an air of grace and quiet elegance to a room.
If You Have Any Antique Clocks...Keep Them. They May Be Valuable Keepsakes
Been shopping for antique clocks lately?It's strange that when something is new they are fascinating and cutting edge. Then they become a common place.
3 Great Reasons to Shop for Home Lighting Online
If you are a consumer who knows just what brand or style of lighting fixtures you are looking to buy, the internet can save you money. Conversely, if you are just learning about what lighting fixtures, interior and exterior, are available for your home, the internet is a great place to get educated.
Advice on Waterproofing Your Deck
Even if you undertook the task of building your own deck, you understand the large investment (both monetary and in time) that went into the project. Decks add beauty and value to a home, and are often the family's favorite place on lovely afternoons.
Tips To Improve The Quality Of Your Outdoor Space And Patio
It's easy to get overwhelmed trying to figure out just how to bring an outdoor room together to make it a peaceful spot to relax or enjoy quality time with friends and family. But if you think of it as yet another room to decorate and furnish, the space will come together more easily.
A Beautiful Carpet Sets The Mood Of Any Room
The first discovered carpet dates back to 1480 BC in the form of an Egyptian Fresco of handloom. Ever since, carpets have made their mark in most tastefully decorated hearths and homes.
Cordless Impact Wrench - Not the Same Tool as Your Cordless Drill
The cordless impact wrench is quickly gaining in popularity among professional mechanics and the hobby mechanic as well. You may be thinking "I already have a cordless drill that I use for impact applications, why do I need a cordless impact wrench as well?".
Use Air Filters and Common Sense for Allergy Relief
Do you suffer from allergies or asthma? If you are one of the millions of people that do, air filters and air purifiers provide much needed relief. Do you have smokers in the house? Air filters or air purifiers get rid of smoke and odor in your home.
How To Give Your Home More Space
Have you been wondering how to free up space in your home? Do you live in a dorm or an efficiency where every inch of space counts?Maybe you're tired of trying to come up with ideas on how to reduce the clutter? Or don't know where to start?If you don't know where to start and feel like you're backed into a corner then maybe this is your solution to the problem.Let me introduce you to the top-to-bottom-strategy.
Measuring For Your Vinyl Replacement Windows
Let's say you're tired of those old wood windows, and you decide it's time to upgrade to vinyl replacement windows. You get 2 or 3 contractors to come out and give you an estimate.
Chiminea - Buy It for the Versatility of Enjoying Both Fireplace and Grill!
I recently visited friends who served me a dinner of grilled salmon and baked potatoes, done to perfection in their chiminea. The sun was setting and it was cooling down but overall a wonderful summer evening.
A Checklist for Bathroom Remodeling Plans
Careful planning is the key to a successful bathroom-remodeling project. Before you begin any work in the bathroom, create a budget, a floor plan, a list of supplies, a timetable, and important legal considerations.
Create a Luxurious Laundry Room
Give your home a luxurious feel with a beautiful laundry room. Even if you hate doing the laundry, you cannot deny that there IS a certain amount of satisfaction from transforming a bunch of dirty things into fresh and fragrant clothes! Put these items in your laundry room and feel the difference!-a few plants-adequate shelving-a rug or piece of carpet to stand on-an ironing area-large folding table-music-framed art or prints-a pretty dish to catch clutter and extraneous pocketed items-a trash can (continually clean the lint from the dryer)-GOOD LIGHTING, lamps, etc.
Scented Candles - Take Me AWAY!
Remember the old Calgon commercial-"Take me away Calgon!" There's only one thing that can take you away faster than a Calgon bath, and that's a scented candle. Whether you want a breath of fresh spring air, or you want to transport yourself to a South Sea paradise minus the hassle of airport security, crowded, delayed flights and lost baggage, grab a scented candle, and travel wherever your imagination leads.
Have You Considered Fluorescent Lighting for Your Home?
Many of us know that fluorescent lighting is common in work areas and schools. It is the long tubes that run in ceilings, right? Fluorescent lighting is more then just that.
A New Era in Bathroom Technology - Bathroom Home Improvements
Spa treatments in your own home? Sounds to good to be true? In everyday life we are all continually faced with stress, aches, pains or just plain fatigue. In response to this modern day problem, , the largest product distributor in the United States, is pleased to offer the greatest collection of computerized multi-functioning luxurious and , all in one unit for your .
home | site map
All articles are copyright to their owners.
Note: this website lists articles, We do not Write Articles !