Dryer Vent Cleaning Can Prevent Dryer Fires

VentSmart technician

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Fire Data Center estimate that household dryers cause nearly 16,000 dryer related fires every year. Homeowners can prevent about 70% of these fires by watching for warning signs and conducting simple maintenance on their machines. The single greatest cause of dryer fires is lint build up; lint makes excellent fuel for fire. Experts cite failure to clean as the number one cause of fires in clothing dryers.

Warning signs your dryer vent is obstructed:

  • Your laundry takes longer than one cycle to dry
  • Your dryer feels hot on the exterior while drying
  • The laundry feels hotter than normal
  • You find less lint than normal on the dryer’s lint screen
  • You find excess lint on and around the back of the dryer
  • The clothing feels damp or smells musty after drying
  • The outdoors flap on the exit vent not moving
  • If you have a gas dryer and you smell the gas

Preventing a fire:

  • Clean the lint filter after EVERY load
  • Have your dryer vent professionally cleaned annually at a minimum
  • Do not run your dryer while you are asleep or away from your home
  • Do not run your dryer without a lint screen or if it’s ripped or torn
  • Avoid drying materials such as rubber, plastic, or foam
  • Do not dry rags or towels used to clean up chemicals, gasoline, or oil
  • Keep the area around the dryer free of combustible items
  • Conduct periodic inspections and cleaning of the connection tube
  • If you have a gas dryer, have it checked yearly for gas leaks