Why is Your Dryer Vent a Fire Hazard?

An estimated 15,500 fires, 10 deaths, and 10 injuries occur due to fires related to clothes dryer throughout the United States, costing nearly $100,000,000 per year.

According to the United States Fire Administration, most dryer related fires occur in fall or winter, peaking more in January.

So dryer vent cleaning is a higher priority in winter as fire-related issues are maximum during that season.

In most cases, faulty appliances are to be blamed. But many of these fires could have been prevented with thorough dryer vent cleaning.

How do Dryer Vent Fires Occur?

Lint accumulation, along with decreased air flow through the dryer vents is the perfect setting for a fire. Lint is highly combustible, which is the main cause of any home fires.

Older homes have clothes dryers in the basement. However, most newer homes have dryers located away from the outside wall of bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and hall closets.

These locations mean dryers have longer vents, which also require sharp turns to accommodate the shape of the building. This gives ample spaces for lint to accumulate.

If you’re cleaning it on your own, then it also becomes very difficult to reach these places to clean.

On the other hand, a professional dryer vent cleaning company have the right tools and equipment to clean the vents thoroughly.

Inside the Dryers

As you may already know, your clothes generate a lot of lint when in the dryer. Most pfeople assume that the lint filter traps all the lint produced by your clothes.

However, a huge chunk of this lint is not caught by the lint trap. This builds up inside the dryer, even as it is heating.

Lint buildup on the heating components can cause it to overheat, and possibly even catch fire.

Avoid Mistakes

The two chief preventable causes of dryer vent fires are lint buildup and restricted airflow. Following are some of the most common dryer vent mistakes that people tend to make.

  • Too long or too many bends in the dryer vent can result in lint buildup. It’s always better to have shorter and straighter dryer vents.
     
  • Most manufacturers specify metal vents to be used. Metal vents allow the air and lint to be carried out of the system efficiently. They also resist crushing better than plastic and foil, which are flammable.
     
  • Adequate space between the dryer and wall should be provided. Many people install their dryers right against the wall, creating a problem while crushing the venting material in the process.
     
  • Failure to clean the dryer vent regularly.

How can you prevent dryer vent related fires?

  • Ensure your dryer duct is made of solid metallic material instead of vinyl and foil, which are both combustible.
     
  • Make sure the duct is vented to the exterior. The duct should never be vented to the attic or crawlspace.
     
  • Avoid crushing the dryer duct to make up for installation in tight quarters, as it restricts airflow.
     
  • Minimize the length of the exhaust duct or install a dryer duct booster.
     
  • Use vent pipes with a 4” diameter and exterior exhaust hoods that have openings of 16 square inches. This offers the least resistance to airflow.
     
  • Ensure that the outdoor vent cover is opened when the dryer is running.

Most dryer vent fire hazards are due to lint trapped inside the dryer. The best way to avoid such a situation to clean the dryer vents regularly by a professional dryer vent cleaning service. Call Dri & Kleen Home Services for any dryer vent cleaning services.