Proper installation and maintenance of clothes dryer exhaust vents, filters, and lint screens are important for reducing fire hazards as well as important in keeping the operating costs of clothes drying down to a minimum by assuring that the dryer operates efficiently.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security – U.S. Fire Administration National Fire Data Center issued the following report (excerpt)-Vol. 13, Issue 7/August 2012
“From 2008 to 2010, fire departments responded to an estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires in residential buildings each year across the nation. These fires resulted in an annual average loss of 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. Failure to clean (34 percent) was the leading factor contributing to the ignition of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings. Dust, fiber, and lint (28 percent) and clothing not on a person (27 percent) were, by far, the leading items first ignited in clothes dryer fires in residential buildings.”
From the above data, it should be evident that dryer fires are fairly prevalent in residences. The evidence also indicates that most of these fires can be prevented by using a few basic practices. The very simple act of cleaning the machine’s lint filter with each load of laundry should always be done. This practice alone could eliminate many of the yearly reported dryer fires. Also, it is recommended by manufacturers of these appliances, to include a yearly inspection or cleaning of the entire length of the dryer vent ducting system since it can, over time, become clogged with lint build-up.
Virtually all manufacturers’ clothes dryer vent installation guides stipulate that the vent ducting carries moist air all the way to the outside of the building and shall not terminate into an attic space or into a crawl space. This is also a requirement of most local building regulations. Even if the dryer exhaust vent does extend to the outdoors, an improperly sloped, damaged, or disconnected dryer vent can leak its exhaust contents into the building.
In-O-Vate Technologies, Inc., makers of the popular Dryerbox®, expands their dryer venting product line with the introduction of the LintAlert®, a smart, easy-to-install home safety device that monitors and displays the back pressure levels found in the exhaust conduit of your dryer. The more lights that are displayed, the more energy you are wasting. The product was officially launched at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas May 5th 2009. The show attracts a worldwide audience and is attended by over 27,000 industry professionals.
Of the four award opportunities at the show, the LintAlert received first place in the New Product World Showcase, first place in the New Product Launch, and the Retailers’ Choice Awards. Attendee comments were very positive with certainty that the product will be successful. Also that the product showed a high level of innovation, engineering and marketing expertise.
The LintAlert® is the most advanced, innovative and effective pressure sensing monitor for the dryer on the market today. As lint builds up over time and restricts airflow, the light bar blockage indicator progressively illuminates. Improper dryer venting not only wastes energy and increases utility bills, it also creates a very real fire hazard. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, clothes dryers were involved in an estimated 15,600 U.S. structure fires, fifteen deaths, 400 injuries, and $99 million in direct property damage, annually, between 2002-2004.
The LintAlert® uses pressure differential technology to measure back flow pressure caused by blockage or restriction in the vent system. The LintAlert®consists of two main parts: the alarm module and SmartTap™ fitting. The SmartTap™ fitting is connected to the alarm module via a six foot flexible 1/8″ tube. The tap fitting is installed in the dryers’ transition hose at or near the dryers exhaust port. This allows the pressure differential sensor to monitor the pressure throughout the entire exhaust conduit.
Under normal operation, the LintAlert’s™ transparent lens glows a steady blue, doubling as a night light. As lint builds up over time and restricts airflow, the light bar blockage indicator will progressively illuminate from green to yellow then to red. The audible alarm can be muted by pressing the control button once, leaving the flashing LED lights as a reminder that maintenance should be provided to the dryer’s exhaust.
Lint has a tendency to bypass the appliance’s filter screen over daily use, naturally accumulating in the duct. Several factors that contribute to rapid lint build-up include excessively long or restrictive ducts, bird or rodent nests in the termination, crushed or kinked flex transition hose, terminations with screen-like features, or condensation within the duct work due to un-insulated ducts in cold spaces.
For the security minded homeowner, the LintAlert® provides a genuine means to determine what levels of blockage exist in your homes dryer exhaust conduit and how much energy you could be wasting.