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Happy birds, and risk of burning down the house

January 31, 2010

It might have been last Friday, when I heard the dryer drum scraping against the side of its housing and thought; “That dryer is not long for this world.  I should say something to MrsDoF.”  But as my scatter brain is wont to do, I completely forgot to do it.

Saturday, the Dryer quit turning, hot and smelling like burning.  My guess is it burned through a belt trying to spin that drum that had worn through its bearings.  So today we sent dryer-shopping.  Having become disenchanted with high-end appliances over the years, we got the second-cheapest one. 

This evening I cleaned out the dryer vent, which goes from basement through crawl space under kitchen breakfast nook to outside.  ‘Twern’t a small job, neither. 

I will be making a cleaning tool to facilitate doing it 1) more easily and 2) more often.  I’m thinking a couple sections of PVC flex conduit joined end-to-end with a plastic scraper fashioned from 2-liter bottle plastic would work well.  Anyway it added up to a LOT of lint, enough to be a fire hazard.  If the dryer hadn’t failed when it did, we might have had a fire.  From FEMA:

“…NFIRS data show that 80% of clothes dryer fires in structures occur in residential buildings and resulted in approximately 12,700 fires, 15 deaths, 300 injuries, and $88million in property loss each year… Proper maintenance for clothes dryers involves removing the lint from the traps, vents, and surrounding areas of the dryer. Not unexpectedly, the leading factor contributing to ignition for dryer fires is operation deficiencies (Figure 3)—specifically “failure to clean.” Failure to clean accounts for 70% of dryer fire operational deficiency contributing factors…”

That vent cleaning procedure just got added to Google Calendar as a recurring event.

Oh, and the happy birds?  They’re getting a huge bag of lint to build nests with in the Spring.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Sue B
    February 1, 2010 at 00:15 | #1

    Sounds like a win-win situation to me—a house fire is averted/the birds get nesting material/and Diane gets a new dryer!!  Plus, the new one is probably more energy efficient.

  2. February 1, 2010 at 10:22 | #2

    We often think that the age of the appliance or even just bad luck can cause us to look for something new.  But in this case I would say it was good luck because it did save you a serious fire. I also go along with the less bells and whistles option when buying appliances.  The price is lower and we don’t use all that jazz every time anyway.

  3. February 1, 2010 at 22:42 | #3

    Ditto Sue, you beat me to it!

    A contractor that inspected my parents dryer situation a while ago said the vent system should be no more than 40 ft in length and every right angle adds 5 ft to the total. My parents were right on the cusp and the contractor said he wouldn’t take the job to fix things because of the length issue. He wanted them to reroute the vent or nothing. My parents decided to buy a lint trapper as the kids all moved away and laundry wasnt that bad. Temporarily solving the problem.

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