It's an appliance designed to make our lives easier but, if you're not careful, it could lead to disaster.
"If that heat and moisture cannot get out of the dryer, then the dryer just sits there and keeps working itself but it can't accomplish the drying," says Dryer Vent Technician Glen Mayfield, "which then means the dryer works harder and heat builds up and that is what can lead to a dryer vent fire."
But that doesn't mean you should try to clean those vents yourself; Leave it to the experts. After all, they've got the proper tools, and they can make any necessary repairs as they go. Homeowner Brian Pinkins was shocked to see what the technician found during a routine
"He said he could feel a large jam. Well about five minutes later a whole lot of dust and debris and dryer lint started coming out along with a bird's nest."
In many cases, the fires start when families aren't even home. Think about it: how many times have you thrown a load of laundry in the dryer, and left the house?
"One consumer in particular who has a family of seven said if she didn't leave it running while she was away from home she'd never get her laundry done," says Angie Hicks of Angie's Listl.
In fact, experts say more than 15 thousand dryer fires a year are the result of dryers being left unattended.
"I'm sure it was just a matter of time before something would have really happened," admits homeowner Brian Pinkins.
A cleaning typically costs between 100 and 150 dollars, depending on the length and location of the vent. In addition to the reduced threat of fire, a cleaning can actually pay for itself in less than a year through improved energy efficiency with less drying time required.