Is It Safe To Run Electric Wires Through A Dryer Vent?
Once considered a luxury, washers, and dryers are a standard feature in most apartments, condos, and single-family residences in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Rochester, and Western New York. Unfortunately, clothes dryer fires are too common, resulting in over 100 injuries, five deaths, and $35 million in property damage annually, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. However, with limited space in the attic or ceiling, especially in smaller and older spaces, some homes have electric wires running through the dryer vent. But is it safe?
The Purpose of A Dryer Vent
To better understand the subject, let’s discuss why you need a dryer vent in the first place. A dryer generates heat in a confined space to dry clothes, linens, etc. When drying, dust, lint, and fabric material are expelled, along with exhaust, through the dryer vent. In many homes, the dryer vent is located on the external wall behind the dryer. In some homes, the dryer vent is on the roof, requiring these combustible particles to travel through ductwork to vent outside your house. In addition, leaves, twigs, small animals, and other debris can block the vent. If you have a gas dryer, there is also an increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning when the exhaust isn’t venting properly.
Dryer Fire Risk
Even if you clean the lint tray regularly, fabric and other combustible materials that get stuck in the hoses, ducts, and vent can ignite, resulting in a dryer fire. Therefore, running electric wires through a dryer vent is not safe. Otherwise, there is a significant risk of an electrical fire. In addition, your homeowner’s insurance carrier may even deny your claim. It may also be a violation of local building and safety codes.
The U.S. Fire Administration reminds homeowners of these dryer safety tips:
- Keep electrical wires and plastics away from the dryer vent.
- Only use a non-ribbed metal duct for venting.
- Regularly inspect your outside dryer vent for blockages.
- Keep combustible materials away when using the dryer.
- Ensure the venting system behind the dryer is clean and free of damage or restrictions.
- Unplug the dryer when you are away from home for an extended period.
- Never use the dryer while you’re sleeping.
- Have gas dryers professionally inspected every year.
Dryer Vent Cleaning Services in Western New York
In addition to chimney inspections, cleaning, and repair, the Certified Professionals at Felgemacher Masonry & Chimney provide complete dryer vent inspection and cleaning services in Amherst, Batavia, Sloan, and communities throughout northwest New York.
Call (716) 452-9156 or (585) 684-7197 to schedule service or an estimate. You can also contact us online.