Seven Ways To Kill Your Dryer

It doesn't matter which state you live in, and in Virginia it doesn't matter the city - Alexandria, Berryville, Fredericksburg, Great Falls, or Bristow.

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'.


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


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 8 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 your dryer vent!

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Jay performs inspections Monday through Saturday, throughout Northern Virginia, from his office in Bristow to Leesburg and Centreville, to Great Falls and Vienna and everywhere in between!