Did You Know That a Dirty Dryer Vent Could Be Jeopardizing Your Home’s Safety?
Clothes dryers are both a convenience and a necessity in households, as well as in some commercial establishments. However, poorly maintained or improperly installed equipment can become a fire hazard. A report published by the U.S. Fire Administration indicates that almost 3,000 fires caused by clothes dryer are reported every year. The leading cause of these fires was the failure to clean the dryer vent. In fact, 34% of reported fires initiated by clothes dryers were caused by poorly maintained vents.
A dirty dryer vent tends to accumulate dust, fiber, and lint. Lint consists of small fibers and debris created from the clothes as it tumbles inside the dryer’s drum. Even though most of the fluff is trapped by the machine’s filter, small amounts of fiber and debris can seep through to its vent system. This material is highly flammable. As lint accumulates in the dryer and the vent, it can compromise the system’s airflow.
Another way the dryer’s vent can become obstructed is from small animals, such as birds or mammals, nesting inside.
Whichever the reason for the vent to be clogged, a vent that is not working properly, won’t exhaust as efficiently properly maintained one. This may result in overheating and, potentially, the start of a fire.
What are other reasons for a dryer to catch fire?
As we stated before, failure to clean the vent dryers is the number one cause. This is categorized as an operational deficiency. The second most common factor listed in the report was mechanical failure or malfunction, and the third one was due to electrical failure.
What are the consequences of a dryer catching fire?
The U.S. Fire Administration reported economic losses of up to $35 million, five deaths and 100 injuries yearly.
What can you do to prevent this from happening?
There are several safety measures that you can take to prevent your clothes dryer from catching fire.
- Installing a fire alarm where the machine or machines are, coupled with a sprinkler system.
- Make sure your dryer installation is up to code. It is prohibited to vent dryers into attics, ridge vents, or soffits. They should always exhaust directly outdoors. This minimizes the likelihood of fire hazard.
- Having the dryer vent system regularly maintained by professional duct cleaners. Be aware that even if you remove the lint from the filter, there are still particles that go through and accumulate in the vent system and the dryer’s drum.
What are the signs that your dryer vent needs maintenance?
- Clothes come out excessively hot after the cycle, or
- It takes more than one cycle to dry the clothes properly.
- The amount of lint in the filter after each cycle is higher than usual.
- The clothes are left with a musty odor after it’s been through the dryer.
- The laundry area is unusually hot.
- You notice debris in the outer dryer vent opening.
If you notice any of these, call a professional dryer vent cleaning company. They will inspect all the components of your dryer vent system and let you know if it needs to be serviced.