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Seven Ways To Kill Your Dryer

One of the most dangerous appliances in the house is the dryer.  Not maintained, or incorrectly vented, it can burn the house down!  And they do, tens of thousands of times a year in this country.

Can I introduce you to seven ways to kill your dryer?

In home inspector classes, we learn a lot of mumbo jumbo (sometimes it's jumbo mumbo).  Actually it is usually pretty good information!

As regards dryers we learn things like:  a dryer vent should extend no more than 25' vertically or horizontally from a dryer.  And for every 90 degree turn, 5' should be reduced from that 25'.  And 3' should be reduced for each 45 degree turn.  So, if a dryer vent has two 90 degree turns, its vent should not extend more than 15'.

AND THE MORE TURNS THERE ARE INCREASES THE CHANCE FOR CLOGGING.

To properly understand today's post, you have to be familiar with Paul Simon's song, "Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover."  It's best to sing along as you read this post.  And I paraphrase:

I said it's really not my habit to intrude
Furthermore I hope my meaning won't be lost or misconstrued
So I repeat myself, at the risk of being crude
There are at least seven ways to kill your dryer, seven ways to kill your dryer...

 

Just slip out the back, Jack

 

 

 

 

And make a new plan, Stan

 

 

 

 

No need to be coy, Roy

 

 

 

 


                                                               Just get yourself free!



 

Hop on the bus, Gus,
don't need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, to me, and get yourself free

Just drop off the key, to me, and get yourself free...

YOU SANG THE SONG, DIDN'T YOU!

Yes, these photos are all from the same dryer at one house!  Including the photo on the left!!  I told my client the dryer would only be tested for one minute, because I wanted to obey the first two rules of home inspections:

Rule #1 - Don't burn the house down, and
Rule #2 - Pay real close attention to Rule #1.

She agreed!  Thank goodness...

Now, if we employ vent footage less turns rule of thumb on this dryer, let's see.  The vent tubing is 26 or 27' or so.  There are six 90s and one 45 turn, plus the mess behind the dryer, um, calculating -- this dryer vent should terminate 6 feet INSIDE the dryer!  Yep, that's it!

Give or take...

My recommendation:  the dryer vent is crucially important to the safe functioning of the dryer.  It really is true.  Look around, especially at the exterior opening, and make sure things look safe.  If they do not, maybe the seller has some 'splainin' to do...

Oh, and don't put a grill over the dryer vent!

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 66 commentsJay Markanich • August 06 2011 06:53AM

Comments

I have to admit, I've seen plenty of very "creative" dryer venting techniques over the years, Jay.  Many people just don't get this...good info!

Posted by Faith LaRosse, Serving Berks, Chester & Montgomery Counties (Springer Realty Group) about 9 years ago

Ahh...and the ever present lint that

has caught on fire in some homes hiding near HOT stuff !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 9 years ago

Very cute, Jay.  Funny that there are so many issues w/ one dryer.  OH, and thx for reminding me that I need to clear the lint and change my AC filter.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 9 years ago

Very funny, Jay, on a not funny subject. Yes, dryers can cause all kinds of not nice things to happen. One must practice dryer awareness. Great post.

Posted by Toni Weidman, 20+ Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL (Sailwinds Realty) about 9 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Such a fun blog...adding the song was a great touch(!)  Great points for everyone in your blog, thanks for sharing!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) about 9 years ago

I was surprised to read that these pictures are all from the same dryer.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 9 years ago

Faith - perhaps, but have you ever seen anything as clever, and creative, as this vent?  Methinks not!

S&D - feel like having some cotton candy?

Debbie - you already know that all thermographers are cute.  Should I add dryer vent posts to that?

Toni - the humor helps to drive home a serious point.  And this post is serious.  One might not think so...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Lisa - the blog and song came to my mind in that basement!  When I saw the dryer slipping out the back of the wall, well, that was all it took.

Gita - they are!  It's true.  I had fun trying to calculate where the dryer should vent while I was with my client in the basement. 

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay, my home inspector's (I have great respect for him and depend on him for all my inspections) daughter's home burned to the ground because of the dryer. It had been running hot and she just thought nothing of it. She did not mention it to her Dad. It caught fire in the middle of the night (strange....it was not running) and the alarms when off. The entire family got out but lost everything. Her Dad has been helping her to rebuild their home. Take notice if the dryer is running hot....learned about that! Great post. Thanks for this good work! I did sing along with the song and the post. Very good and yes...don't burn down the house!

Posted by Jeanean Gendron, Specializing in Selling Unique Properties (The Address Realty) about 9 years ago

Good morning, Jay. Cool spin on the S&G tune. Believe me, in my other personality, I have seen these and then some. Kinda makes you wonder...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) about 9 years ago

Jeanean - yes, it happens some 40,000 times a year.  It is amazing.  House maintenance is a bunch of little things, and any one of them can be a big one!

Michael - I really was afraid to test the dryer!  It was one minute, and I asked my client to feel the heat and off it went!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay, I know of someone whose fairly new dryer caught fire and he man- handled it out of the house rather than let it burn the house down!!!

My wife and I decided we want to  dry our clothes outside more to save money and because it's good for the you know what....now you have given me seven more reasons

Posted by David O'Doherty, Clayton NC Homes, Raleigh, NC (Raleigh Realty Inc) about 9 years ago

David - that's how my mother did it and the clothes always smelled so good!  But in my neighborhood the Nazis won't let us dry clothes that way.  Alack and alas!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay, That's a lot of twists and turns to get the job done.  Does diameter of the outgoing ducting have any impact on allowable run, or is it driven by the air flow the dryer is able to push down the duct?

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) about 9 years ago

Yes, Bliz - too small and the indoor pressure is too high so the air won't flow out.  Too large and the indoor air is too low to make it out.  Just like the porridge, the diameter has to be just right.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Yes I will admit I sang the song.

I must admit I have never seen a dryer run that long or with that many twists.

People need to remember that dryers can kill and do. Keep all lint screens and vents......  clean inside and out.

Enjoy the day

Posted by Don MacLean, Realtor-Homes for Sale- Easton Mass (New England Real Estate Center Inc.) about 9 years ago

Don - that was an odd one.  And a very dangerous one, as you know.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay, yes, I was singing it!

And James in Connecticut was with you on Paul Simon groove today.

I can hardly believe all the turns on that!!

And can a home improvement specialist take home inspector classes?  I don't want to be licensed, but that's helpful info in all that mumbo jumbo!

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, C.O.O., Winslow Homes (Winslow Homes) about 9 years ago

Hi Jay,

Most homeowner don't care at all about the dryer venting. Let alone getting it cleaned. They are oblivious to the chances of a fire.

All we can do is tell them and recommend what's to be done.

Ultimately it's up to them to "get it done right".

Clint Mckie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) about 9 years ago

Jeremy - how can you not sing it!  A lot of classes can be taken on line, but there are live classes that are the best.

Clint - observe and report.  How often do we hear later than our recommendations are not taken?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Good morning Jay;  After cleaning out my dryer vent, I was shocked, shocked I tell you, to see what was in there.  I also did a post about it.

see http://activerain.com/blogsview/2168762/fire-safety-clean-your-dryer-vent

You made a couple of comments about it, last March

Posted by Kenneth Cole, NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson (Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com -) about 9 years ago

Jay, great point, I have seen some buyers look at the venting material, but very few considering the possibilities of fire traps.  Again, a good reason to have a professional home inspection.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 9 years ago

I will be a checkin' Ken!

Chris - another thing is to not use that plastic dryer venting!  It's a danger also, as it dries out and clogs and cracks.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Mr Jay,

I can assures you that your verbage is very unprofessionals. I is sure this could not be a hit but you are putting out good efforts regardlessless.

Wheatloaf wallenda

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 9 years ago

Thanks Wheat!  I am honored that you would stop by, all the way from hell.  The verbiage, though, is PERFECT as regards that wonderful dryer vent!  It fits perfectly!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Too funny, Jay...wish we'd met when I lived down the road in Manassas!  Who knew that lint was such a killer...doing laundrey now, so thanks for making us more aware.  Suggested ya' again...dryers caused a lot of fires that we've cleaned up!  Cheers...

Posted by Hillary Sheperd, Co-Owner ~ Servpro of Scarsdale / Mount Vernon, NY (Servpro of Scarsdale / Mount Vernon) about 9 years ago

Hillary - dryers are a major source of accidents and damage, particularly fires!  You mean it's the lint?

And you were just down the road - never wrote me, never called.  Sheesh...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

We must have been cosmically connected this morning dude. Or maybe it's just a cool coincidence. I'll just slip out the back Jack.....

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 9 years ago

If you do, close the dryer vent after you and turn out the light.

Thanks.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

I have seen all sorts of crazy things with dryer vents, in all sorts of crazy locations, blocked by god - knows - what. Thanks for the tips!

Posted by Donald Reich (Prudential Centennial) about 9 years ago

Donald - that is one fun vent!  And it looked entirely blocked to me.  You're welcome!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay: Dryer vents scare me to death.  40,000 fires a year! Sheesh. Great post. Am reblogging.

Posted by Anne M. Costello (Weidel Realtors) about 9 years ago

Dryers may be the most dangerous appliance in the house, Anne, if the vents aren't maintained.  So, maintain them!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Yeow!  I've seen some pretty scary ones but that one beats them all.  I have a friend who lost her house to a dryer fire.  This is true stuff, and needs to be looked into!!  Thanks for the post!

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) about 9 years ago

Welkommen Mike.  Dryers really are serious business.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay,  Great and informative post once again.  you always provide very interesting facts and expertise.  Thank you for sharing!

Posted by Kathleen Vetrano, Helping YOU Achieve YOUR Dreams (RE/MAX Gateway) about 9 years ago

Good morning, Jay.....this is great information....I'll reblog this....thank you....and I thought I had already subscirbed to your blog....I have now.

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired ) about 9 years ago

Ours vent goes right out the wall three feet from the dryer. Flexible plastic vents seem to have more problems than metal ones.  Some Boy Scouts use dryer lint for fire starter when they have "one match" competitions.

Posted by Daniel H. Fisher, MCRP - Charlotte Real Estate, NC or SC (www.FisherHermanRealty.com (704) 617-3544) about 9 years ago

Kathleen - and a little silliness to throw into the soup?

Barbara - you HADN'T subscribed?!  What?!  I mean, thanks!  Actually this is pretty important info.

Daniel - we never have in our troop, but it sure is available!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay, you have a way for getting your point across. I hope the owner listened.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 9 years ago

I love the presentation of information in your blog.  You have such a wonderful sense of humor!

Posted by Kathy Sheehan, Senior Loan Officer (Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021) about 9 years ago

Jay, as a long time Paul Simon fan, I applaud your choice to illustrate this lesson!

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) about 9 years ago

I saw a house with an interior drier where the line going outside was a good 15 feet long.  They often had issues with water moisture accumulating in the duct.  Wonder why? :)

Posted by Bryan Robertson about 9 years ago

Jay - I am constantly checking my lint trap and freeing it up... And yes I too sang along with your post. I was looking for the bouncing ball though....

Posted by Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Christie's International Real Estate ) about 9 years ago

Jay...We suppose that you're saying that if a homeowner doesn't tend to dryer vent issues, all they may be hearing is "The Sound of Silence".

Posted by Howard and Susan Meyers (The Hudson Company Winnetka and North Shore) about 9 years ago

Thanks for the reminder Jay... perhaps we should all check our own to make sure we aren't in jeopardy ourselves and then make sure we check that out when we are assisting vendors and purchasers! very practical.

David

Posted by David Nicholson, Get Packin! (Coldwell Banker ) about 9 years ago

Most people really don't ever thing about the dangers that dryers pose.

Posted by Rodney Mason, VP of Mortgage Lending - AL, FL, GA, SC, & TN (Guaranteed Rate NMLS# 2611) about 9 years ago

Jay more great tips thanks for the dryer awareness education, especially the safety!

Posted by Susan Gaieski, Director for Social Media & Technology (Water Pointe Realty Group) about 9 years ago

Jay - Actually, installing a grill over the dryer vent allows frugal homeowners to collect the lint and make their own yarn for knitting sweaters, socks, etc.  The tough economy requires that we be creative and not let anything go to waste.  Of course there is the small issue of burning down your house.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) about 9 years ago

If I kill my dryer, then my clothes washer, dish washer and vacuumer and clother folder would be dead.  I'd be in jail, and one great housekeeper would be dead.

Sorry, sick joke.  I don't have a housekeeper or maid or any of the above, and I'm the one who uses a shop-vac to unclog the line as often as I can think of it.

Posted by David Farrell, Licensed NY State Real Estate Broker (David V. Farrell Co.) about 9 years ago

Hi Jay,

Pfanntastic information as always, we have re-blogged this excellent article for our readers, thanks as always

Posted by Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986., Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490 (eXp Realty, Victoria BC www.pfanntastic.com) about 9 years ago

Who would have thought that Paul wrote that for Home Inspectors.  Let's see 6 feet inside the dryer means you have to set the think outside.  Wait, that can't be right.  Oh well.

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) about 9 years ago

Jay, this made me laugh out loud but I know it's really serious stuff. I like it so much that I'm linking to it from my FB page:)

Posted by Barb Szabo, CRS, E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes (RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio) about 9 years ago

Great post, as usual, and with lots of explanatory pictures. In a lot of houses the dryer vent IS hard to get to, and hook up a shop vac. Hey, at least dryers don't weigh much.

Posted by Jon Quist, Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996 (REALTY EXECUTIVES ARIZONA TERRITORY) about 9 years ago

Excellent.  I had no idea that any of that mattered.  But it makes perfects sense, now that you have brought it up.  And yes, I was singing along.

Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) about 9 years ago

It works for me Michael.  Kind of my brand!  And as to the owner, I hope so!

Thanks Kathy.  Glad you enjoyed it!

Brian - that idea actually came to me as I saw the dryer vent out the back.

Bryan - um, could be an issue with the vent?

L&R - that's a good habit.  And the bouncing ball shows your age, Mitch...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

H&S - after they cross that dryer vent over troubled waters.

David - that's the idea of the post!  So, go check!

Rodney - hence the 40,000 dryer fires, or so, every year!

Susan - the idea is to be instructive.  I hope so anyway.

John - I see those stupid things all the time!  One guy was catching his dryer lint and poking it into the gaps around his windows!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

David - that's not a bad technique!  Plenty of room in that big canister for all the lint!

Thanks, Phanns, as usual and also for the reblog!

Jack - it is a very complicated calculation!  Paul was always considering us guys too.

Thanks Barb!  And glad you got a laugh out of it.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jon - the more lint that accumulates the heavier they get!

Glad to hear that Virginia!  And, yes, this is very important info, even if presented in a silly way.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay, your experience as a home inspector is knowing danger when you see it. Dryers are costly and why people do not vent them correctly is beyond me. Good formula for the vent run. 

Posted by Frank Rubi, FrankRubiRealEstate.com (Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC) about 9 years ago

Thanks Frank.  Not my formula though, but one I have learned in my classes.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

I always look forward to your tips.  Thanks again for posting this worthwhile information today.

 

Patricia Aulson/ Seacoast NH & ME REALTOR

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) about 9 years ago

As always, you are welcome Patricia.  Glad you enjoyed it so much!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Thanks for the points ghkyu.  Bye, bye.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

It might be a good idea to have a home inspection done on your own home to make sure you use it as a repair punchlist for items like this.

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) about 9 years ago

My book has four pages of seasonal chores for buyers, Cheryl, and every client gets a copy!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

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