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When my son, now 19 and an Eagle Scout, was in his early days of Scouting, we learned how to make fires in multiple ways.  One thing we would collect for campouts was the lint from our dryer lint screen.  That was when I learned that dryer lint is a highly combustible material.  In fact, it is a key ingredient in home-made fire starters.  

This knowledge took me back to when I was a younger adult.  My mother used to get after me for not cleaning out the lint screen at home when I would do laundry.  She would scold and shout that I was going to start a house fire.  How could lint start a fire???  She never really explained.  Her words went in one ear and out the other as most parental reprimand does.  It was just like her tirade about turning off the lights because we don’t support the electric company!  You’ve all heard this one right?

Anyhow, I’ve smartened up in my more mature adult days.  I clean my lint screen faithfully each day I do laundry.   The Mount Everest of laundry in my house never ends so we get a ton of lint!  

Now for the Part I Didn’t Know  

It turns out that cleaning the lint from the screen shouldn’t be the only routine.  How did I find out you ask?  For some time now, I’ve been complaining to my husband that our clothes are not drying in a reasonable amount of time.  Must be my 17-year-old dryer, I thought.  Well, in this case, hubby didn’t put up much of a fight.  I mean a 17-year-old dryer is a 17-year-old dryer.  Not to mention, the poor guy has put a band-aid on numerous other dryer ailments and was most likely done.  

So, out went the old dryer and in went the new.  In the process of installation, we were instructed to blow out the exhaust venting.   To our surprise, we figured out the real reason why the dryer wasn’t drying in a reasonable amount of time.  The exhaust venting was jammed with lint!  The amount of lint that came out was astounding!  We never even gave this a thought.  

Counting Our Lucky Stars

After our shocking discovery, I consulted with the worldly wise one.  Google gave me tons of information on dryer maintenance for safety and extending the life of my appliance.  Most notable in each reference I found was this … Clean the exhaust vent every 1-2 years! This is the MOST IMPORTANT STEP to help prevent home fires!  

I’ll admit, I had a deep sigh of relief while I was counting our lucky stars.  We’re thankful that our unknowing neglect didn’t result in a home fire.  It was our lesson learned.  Now I’m passing this on to you so you don’t unknowingly leave your home and family to chance.   

Dryer Maintenance You Need to Know About

Maintaining your dryer properly will help you save money on your electric bill, save time with laundry, extend the life of your appliance, and most importantly, prevent home fires.  

Clean the exhaust vent every 1-2 years depending on your household volume.
Check the vent cover outside.  Clear out any buildup of lawn debris, dirt, or snow to allow air to flow freely.
Don’t overload your dryer.  Use according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Clean your lint screen with every load.  
Clean the lint trap as well.  Lint can build up here as well.
Give the inside of your dryer a wipe down with a microfiber cloth and a bit of rubbing alcohol to remove residue.  
Don’t leave your dryer running while nobody is home or you are sleeping.

This content is meant for informational purposes only.  It is not meant to replace the specific instructions and user guidance provided by your dryer manufacturer.  Please refer to your manufacturers guide for specific instructions on how to maintain your dryer.  Contact V.F. McNeil Insurance if you have any questions about this blog or about protecting your home with homeowner’s insurance.  (203) 481-2684.