How to Prevent Dryer Vent Fires

Over 15,000 clothes dryer fires are reported each year; dryer vent cleaning is the number one defense against dryer fires. Failure to clean is reported as being the number one cause of dryer fires.Professional dryer vent cleaning is recommended each year to prevent dryer fires and to keep your dryer working efficiently.

 The function of the dryer duct system is to carry heat and moisture from your dryer drum as your clothes dry. Unfortunately, lint also gets into the dryer ducts, building up and restricting airflow. Most people think the dryer ducts also remove lint; however, most of the lint that escapes the lint screen becomes trapped and builds up in the ducts. Very little lint actually makes it to the vent outside. Lint build-up restricts air flow required for the dryer to perform its job. As the dryer labors to dry your laundry, it consumes more energy. Poorly maintained dryer vent systems can result in spending an additional $18 – 24 per month not to mention repair bills when the appliance breaks down.

When dryer vent systems become clogged with lint, they will overheat and cause a fire that spreads quickly. Another cause of dryer fires is drying rags soaked with flammable chemicals. These should be line dried, even if they have been washed, as residue can remain. The heat from the dryer can cause the materials to ignite inside your dryer.

Dryer Fire

Results of a Dryer Fire

For your safety as well as proper maintenance of your appliance, here are some tips:

  • Clean the lint screen after every load to maintain air flow needed by your clothes dryer to work more efficiently, saving you money on utility bills and preventing a fire.

  • Wash the lint screen periodically to remove residue build-up caused by dryer sheets.

  • Do not place rags soaked in flammable substances in your dryer; these should be line dried.

  • Do not store flammable chemicals near the dryer.

  • Do not go to sleep or leave the home when the dryer is running

Have a qualified dryer exhaust specialist clean your dryer vent system at least once a year, more often if you have a large family and are doing over 8 loads of laundry per week. They will also perform a complete inspection to be sure you have a properly installed dryer vent system.

About the Author DavidFairbairn

Author David Fairbairn is a certified, licensed home inspector serving Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. He has been featured in the media and has contributed to "24" Newspaper, and Global TV. He has spent years working with residential and commercial building projects, and holds a Power Engineering License in BC. Why not give him a call for your next Home Inspection? Call 604 395-2795 or email david@fairbairninspections.com today!

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