When is the last time you cleaned out your dryer hose?

Pros and safety officials share how you can prevent dryer fires on your own and when you should call an expert.

What can you do to prevent dryer fires in your home?

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleaning out the lint and clearing the exhaust hose for your dryer is the best defense against dryer fires, like the kind that ignited at an Amherst home.

“It’s not the missing sock in the dryer that’s creating the fire, 9 times out of ten it’s going to be the lint accumulation,” said T.J. Martin, Parma Fire Department.

Amherst dryer fire
Amherst dryer fire

“A lot of people don’t realize if the dryer gets too hot it can set that lint on fire and cause the whole house to burn down,” said Rick Schaffer, with Coit Cleaning & Restoration.

Fire officials recommend cleaning your lint trap every time you use your dryer, and cleaning out your hose once a month.

Dryer exhaust
Dryer exhaust

T. J. Martin, with the Parma Fire Department says this is something you can do on your own, using your hands, or household equipment like a vacuum, shop vac, or a leaf blower. You can also purchase an attachment for your drill to clean out the hose, for about $30.

But it’s not always that simple.

“Anything that’s going to come from one floor down to a basement, and maybe then go back outside, or if it should go up into the ceiling and back out, in situations like that I’d leave it up to a professional,” said Schaffer.

He says a good rule of thumb is if you can see daylight when you look through the hose, you can handle the job yourself.

But when there are elbows or a lengthy run, you could actually do more harm than good on your own, jamming the hose further.

“If you don’t actually see what’s inside there you can actually make the situation worse,” he said.

If you’re not mechanically inclined, Martin says reattaching the hose improperly could be an issue.

“You do want to make sure you have a proper fit so there are no air gaps on either side,” he said.

The danger there is having lint accumulate behind the dryer then has the potential to create a fire again. Hoses from gas dryer not reattached correctly can also release carbon monoxide into the environment, which can be deadly.

Coit offers dryer vent services for $125. Schaffer says for safety reasons it’s worth the investment. Because he says overlooking the dryer hose, has actually cost some consumers a lot more.

“We’ve run into people who’ve called us and said we’ve replaced our dryer and we don’t know what but we’re thinking maybe the vent is clogged, we come out and clean that out, maybe we could have saved some money, without having to buy a brand new dryer,” he said.

In addition to keeping the hose and the vent clean, fire officials recommend treating the dryer like a stove. If you’re running that heating element, make sure you’re home, and awake.

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