Dryer Vent Design, Fire Prevention

Dryer fires can be a devestating event causing thousands of dollars in damage. It is amazing how something we rely on every day can turn into such a destructive force. Most dryer fires are completely avoidable with the proper vent design and regular maintenance.

When you visit the big box store for dryer vent parts you can find a bunch of different options and for the most part the vent material options in this section are terrible. The best vent option you have is 4inch round ridgid metal duct.

Every dryer manufacturer has a limit to the number of bends and the overall length of this duct. Usually the maximum length of a dryer vent is 25 feet, each 90 degree bend takes away 5 feet and each 45 degree bend takes away 2.5 feet of that overall length. Your best option is to route your dryer vent in the most direct path possible.

When installing a dryer vent it is important that you DO NOT use screws to attach the components. Every screw that penetrates the duct allows a place for lint to grab on and build up, we want any lint that gets past the lint trap to be blown to the exterior. We recommend using foil tape to connect duct sections and components.

Where the duct passes through unconditioned spaces it is also good practice to insulate the duct. When the warm moist air from the dryer comes into contact with the cold outdoor air it condenses leaving moisture in the duct. This moisture causes lint to build up on the duct wall eventually creating a fire hazard.

The final component in the dryer vent is the point where it terminates at the exterior. It is important that vent hoods and covers do not have screens or grates that will prevent lint from exiting the vent. We recommend the Heartland Dryer Vent Closure to keep critters out and allow lint to pass completely out of the duct.

Even the most well designed dryer vents have some lint buildup. We recommend having your vents cleaned and serviced once a year.

Key Points:

  • Have your dryer vent and the dryer cleaned and serviced once a year

  • Use only rigid metal duct for the dryer vent

  • Do not screw duct components together, use a UL Listed foil tape instead

  • Terminate your dryer vent to the exterior using a vent termination designed for this purpose.

Call McKinley Home Services for your dryer vent cleaning and service needs (607)794-7351


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