How Dryer Fires Start

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By cleanmyvent

When is the last time you thought about your dryer vent? Few people realize the lint from your clothes ends up not only in the lint trap but also flows into the dryer vent where it accumulates over time. Highly combustible lint combined with excessive temperatures from the dryer is a recipe for Dryer Fires.

Dryer fires usually start beneath the dryer when the motor overheats. Overheating is caused by a build-up of lint in the duct that increases the drying time and blocks the flow of air. Other contributing conditions may include lint inside the dryer, a missing or damaged lint screen, an excessively long vent, non-code vent material (plastic, vinyl and non-rated foil) that may kink or stop airflow, or a bird’s nest or other debris blocking the vent.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there are 15,500 Dryer Fires, 10 deaths and 10 injuries associated with dryers annually, with costs over $80 million. Dryer vent cleaning significantly reduces the risk of this type of Dryer Fires.

Warning Signs

  • Dryer is still producing heat but taking longer and longer to dry clothes.
  • Clothes are hotter than usual at the end of the cycle or smell burnt.
  • Outdoor flapper on vent hood doesn’t fully open when the dryer is on.
  • Condensation is found on the dryer’s interior.

Additional Benefits to Dryer Vent Cleaning

  • Allows dryer to operate more efficiently and saves you money.
  • Protects dryer from excess wear and premature death.
  • Helps clothes dry faster-a time saver for busy families.
  • Reduces excess household dust and humidity.
  • Helps preserve clothing, as many fabrics are damaged by excessive heat.

Dryer Vent Cleaning

Service providers should thoroughly inspect your dryer vent line from the dryer to the termination point outside your home. A brush and vacuum system is the most effective method of cleaning vents, and providers should have a tool long enough to clean the entire vent. Plastic, vinyl or foil vent material could be damaged by cleaning tools, allowing moisture to flow into walls or living spaces. This can result in mold growth and respiratory illness. This material should be replaced with code-compliant vent material.

By following these simple guidelines, you can significantly reduce the risk of having a dryer fire or moisture damage in your home. And always remember – never run the clothes dryer while you are out of the house or sleeping, and it really is important to clean your lint trap every time you dry a load of clothes.

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