According to the US Fire Administration more than 40 clothes dryers catch fire in the U.S. every day. Annually between 2002 and 2004 clothes dryers were involved in an estimated 15,600 structure fires, fifteen deaths, 400 injuries, and US$99 million in direct property damage. One of the main culprits in dryer-related fires is lint. As it builds up it restricts airflow, not only creating a fire hazard, but also wasting energy. The LintAlert combats this needless destruction and waste of electricity by alerting homeowners to any blockage or restriction in the vent system of the dryer.
The LintAlert consists of two main parts: the alarm module and SmartTap fitting. The SmartTap fitting is installed in the dryers' transition hose at or near the dryers exhaust port and uses a pressure differential sensor to monitor the pressure throughout the entire exhaust conduit. If it detects an increase in back flow pressure caused by any blockage or restriction it sends a signal to the alarm module via a six-foot flexible 1/8" tube.
Under normal operation, the LintAlert's transparent lens glows a steady blue, but as lint builds up over time and restricts airflow, the light bar blockage indicator will progressively illuminate from green to yellow then to red. The audible alarm can be muted by pressing the control button once, leaving the flashing LED lights as a reminder that maintenance should be provided to the dryer's exhaust. An increase in the number of LEDs indicates an increase in fire danger as well as an increase in the amount of electricity being wasted.
The LintAlert took first place in the New Product World Showcase, first place in the New Product Launch, and the Retailers' Choice Awards at the 2009 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas and is now available online for US$44.90 including shipping.