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Dryer Vent Inspections Can Help Prevent Fires and Injuries
Date:  5/9/2001
ArticleType:  Press Release

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – May 9, 2001 – In response to the growing awareness about dryer safety, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) is advising consumers to have clothes dryer vents inspected – and maintained as necessary -- to help prevent fires and injuries.

“Clogged or improperly vented dryer vents can be dangerous,” notes Greg Williamson, CSIA's executive director. “In response to this hazard, we recommend that consumers have a certified technician ensure that their dryer is properly vented to the outside and that the vent is free from lint, as well as nesting rodents or birds.”

Statistics from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) indicate that, in 1997, there were 16,700 fires in the United States originating in clothes dryers. These fires resulted in 430 injuries, 30 deaths and over $84.4 million in property damage. The CPSC also reports that in 1996, approximately 400 people were non-fatally poisoned by carbon monoxide as a result of gas dryers.

Williamson adds that dryer vent inspections (also known as clothes dryer exhaust duct inspections) are more necessary than ever before due to the complex and technologically sophisticated construction of homes built today. Williamson cites that newer houses tend to have dryers located away from an outside wall in bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and hall closets. These new locations mean dryers tend to be vented longer distances and vents are generally installed with sharp turns and bends to accommodate the structure of the home. As a result, dryer vents are harder to reach and also create more places where lint can collect and animals and birds can hide.

The availability of natural gas dryers is another reason why dryer vent inspections are necessary. If a gas clothes dryer is improperly vented, deadly carbon monoxide can be forced back into a home.

When a certified technician inspects a dryer vent, they also verify that the correct type of vent is in use. For example, homes with plastic vents are generally upgraded to metal exhaust vents, because aluminum hosing is much less flammable than plastic.

CSIA recommends that CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Duct Technicians® perform dryer vent inspections. These technicians have been formally tested in the proper inspection and maintenance of dryer vents by CSIA.

Established in 1983, CSIA is a non-profit, educational organization, dedicated to educating the public about the prevention of chimney and venting system hazards, including clothes dryer vents. CSIA also recommends that consumers use a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep for all chimney inspections and maintenance.

For more information on dryer vent maintenance and safety, or for a list of CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Duct Technicians, contact the Chimney Safety Institute of America at 1-800-536-0118. The CSIA is located at 2155 Commercial Drive, Plainfield IN 46168.

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