It’s Fire Prevention Week so it’s a great time to talk about cleaning your clothes dryer vent. Annually, 12,700 clothes dryer fires occur in residential buildings resulting in 15 deaths and 300 injuries. “Failure to clean” is the cause of 70% of dryer fires. Are you wondering how not cleaning out your vent can cause a fire?
HOW CAN A FIRE START?
Well, in addition to the accumulation of lint, blockage can also occur from small birds or animals nesting in venting system. The vent will not exhaust properly to the outside and overheating may result. If enough heat is produced it will ignite the lint itself or nearby combustible items, such as the clothes in the dryer or other combustibles in the room. In most cases, dryer fires can be prevented. Clean the lint filter regularly. Inspect your lint filter for rips and if you see a tear then replace it right away. Outside wall dampers should have a covering that keeps out rain and dirt , but allows for lint and hot air to escape. You can contact the Fire administration or your local fire dept for more preventative measures.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD A DRYER VENT BE INSPECTED?
Depending on the frequency of use and how long the vent is, dryer vents should be inspected every 2 to 3 years. If you notice heavy clothes such as jeans or towels taking a long time to dry or if your clothes feel hotter than normal at the end of a cycle, then a clogged vent is likely the problem. You can disconnect, clean and inspect the dryer duct and venting system yourself or use a professional. ( PCC would be happy to clean your vents ) Either way, don’t ignore the problem. I think Smokey the Bear once said, “Only you can prevent dryer fires” 🙂