Monday, May 30, 2016

How to Set Your House on Fire

Or to put a more positive spin on it:  How to Keep from Setting Your House on Fire.


This is where the exhaust pipe from my clothes dryer comes out of the house.  There is a hardware cloth wire over it to keep critters from entering the pipe, crawling up it, jumping out and scaring the bejeebers out of me when I open the dryer door. 

The first of every month, my dear husband takes off the screen and removes a bit of lint that has collected on the screen.

Today he walked by it and since it was almost the first of the month, decided to do that little task and have it done with.

Before he put the screen back on, something made him take out the handy-dandy little flashlight he always carries in his pocket and shine it back into the exhaust pipe.

What did he see?  Lint.  Lots of lint.


He made this little tool thingie by attaching a piece of metal onto the end of a 2" x 2" which he pushed into the pipe.


Then he slowly and carefully started pulling out gobs of lint. 


All this was extracted from the pipe before it looked clear.

Omigosh, if he hadn't thought to look into the exhaust pipe, there's a good chance it would have become so plugged up that a fire could have started when I was using the dryer.  Double omigosh.

Needless to say, we will now keep a close eye on this situation.  Even though I regularly clean out the lint filter on the front of the dryer and even put that pointy tool attachment on my vacuum cleaner and reach down into the space below the lint filter, a lot of potentially dangerous lint collected in the exhaust pipe.

So just be aware that lint can and apparently does collect in your dryer exhaust pipe.  You might want to check it from time to time.  I'm sure glad we did.

35 comments:

  1. Back in Virginia we had new neighbors move in next door....it was a young couple and the house was their first. The dryer vent exhausted by our garden shed, She would start the dryer then head to work. We smelled something hot in a bad way and found smoke from the drye vent...Ralph cleared out smoldering lint and cleaned it out....whew so lucky for all of us as the homes were close.

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    1. Fiona - Well, that was a scary situation! I would never feel comfortable leaving home while a dryer OR washer was running!

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  2. Every now and then we pull the dryer out, detach the flexible metal tubing and vacuum everything we can reach. You are absolutely correct. Cleaning the lint screen every time you dry a load is not enough. It's amazing. I'm just surprised there are no missing socks in there. They have to go somewhere!

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    1. Katie C. - Lots of lint . . . but no socks. Darn. ;o}

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    1. tpals - That would be one way to insure no problems! But I went way too many years without a washer or dryer in my home that I do love the convenience. Although it's certainly not worth having a fire, that's for sure. We will now be extra vigilant about keeping the exhaust pipe cleaned well.

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  4. OMG! Your title really had me going. I am doubly glad I don't have a dryer now. This is a good reminder to really check down through the entire lint trap/pipe. I'm going to alert my sister to check my parents' dryer. I bet theirs hasn't been checked in light years! I am so glad Papa Pea is a thorough guy...

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    1. Susan - That's why I decided to do this post. So others would be aware of the very real danger of something bad happening! Yes, do have your sister check your parents dryer!!

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  5. Wow-that's one thing I never think to look at. Glad your hubby is "on the ball" with things around there.

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    1. Sue - Well, that's just it!! We're all good about keeping the lint filter cleaned out and have always thought that was enough. But it's not!

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  6. Good Lord! You know what? I don't see lint....which makes me wonder. I better tell Cliff to get his flash light and take a look. Good thing your hubby thought to.

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    1. Laurie - Doesn't hurt a bit to have Cliff check the exhaust pipe out. It could prevent a real problem . . . as we found out!

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  7. We don't use dryers here in the SW France, just hang the washing outside in the garden or under the overhang of the barn when it is raining. But I do use a front loading washing machine, and reading your blog has reminded me that I really ought to clean out the filter!

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    1. Vera - Yes, those little maintenance things can be very important. I love hanging clothes outside on the lines, but our weather has been extremely rainy lately and, of course, we have our long winters that are not very conducive to drying (freezing, yes) clothes outside.

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  8. Good thing you checked! Funnily enough, our dryer conked out two days ago. We thought maybe it overheated and the motor blew (or whatever makes it heat) because we had a very humid day out...but I was reading about ventilation etc...one of our cats likes to play with the hose vent, you know, the ones made of shiny fun material? We always heard him fooling around back there but thought nothing of it. When we moved the dryer, the vent had been crushed to the point where maybe a quarter inch of space was available for ventilation, the dryer overheated. There was also a huge lint buildup in there. We've since cleaned it and put up a shelf so Mr. Curious can't mess with that hose anymore.

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    1. Rain - Omigosh! That could have been a fire hazard, too! Guess Mr. Curious really did a job while "attacking" the vent!!

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  9. Now I'm afraid to do any more laundry! We have a built-in dryer exhaust system that must have a couple turns in it before it goes outside. I clean from the dryer side and sometimes from the outside, but after seeing your photo of what came out of yours, I'm betting there is even more lint in ours. Yipes! And thanks for the heads-up.

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    1. Charade - Our vent goes from the back of the dryer vertically down to this straight piece that is parallel to the ground and that is where the lint build-up was. So, yes, if a vent has a couple of turns or bends in it, it could cause trouble.

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  10. Interesting and useful information. Thanks for sharing. Thank you Papa Pea for a great cleaning job!

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    1. DDD - You're very welcome, and I am very thankful for my conscientious husband!

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  11. Great reminder. Here you are supposed to have a smooth metal pipe that you attach your dryer hose to. That is supposed to limit how much lint can collect in the pipe as it's smooth and will just blow out. You can buy a long wire type thing that kind of looks like a chimney sweep but it's for dryer pipes. If you have the plastic accordion type hose all the way outside and not just to connect your dryer to the vent then you will get tons of lint build up inside it and you should clean it out every 6 months or more depending on how often you use your dryer.

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    1. Sparkless - All good information! Thanks.

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  12. If you have a long or bendy hose from the dryer to the outdoors, there are companies who have the equipment to clean it out. A friend had such a buildup of dust, lint and such in his ac system hose, that the whole house had to be professionally cleaned.

    My hose was fine, but my two-year-old dryer's thermostat failed and I nearly had a fire. So, I now never leave the dryer on when I leave the house or go to bed.

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    1. The house did not have to be cleaned, just all the hoses or whatever they are called that carry the ac and the return ductwork.

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    2. PP - All the everyday things we need to be aware of!! So scary about your dryer's thermostat. Who knew?? I think anyone who leaves a dryer going and unattended is just asking for trouble!

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    3. My Dad was a worry wort about the dangers that lurked in a household along with being frugal when it came to leaving lights on, etc., but for all the eye-rolling I must have done I'm glad to be aware of stuff like that.

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    4. Mollie - Yes, yes, yes!

      As kids growing up we never, ever thought of things like turning off lights, not letting the water run unnecessarily, etc. Seems we have a different sense of responsibilities now as adults! ;o}

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  13. I used to have a tool to clean mine. I have no idea where it went. My cover on mine (outside) points downward. I'll have to see if I can take it off. I used to clean mine regularly. Double oops. I better tell Hubby.

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    1. Kristina - It's worth taking the time and trouble to make sure all is okay and the operation of your dryer is safe!

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  14. I just want to say that all the information you have given here is awesome. Thank you
    veggie wash

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  15. We have a rule to NEVER run the dryer when we're gone. And make sure it's installed right as there's always lint from something!

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  16. Living in San Diego I usually hang my wash on the clothesline, but this blog has put this on my to-do list: check the outside vent of my dryer!! So glad you guys found all that lint in time.

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