4 Tips to Prevent Dryer Vent Fires

Published 8/22/2014

Dirty dryer vents pose a significant threat to your home and family. According to the United States Fire Administration, the buildup of lint in dryer vents is responsible for more than 2,900 fires each year. The possibility of fire goes up drastically each time you run your dryer with a dirty vent. However, this danger can easily be avoided by following these tips.

Keep the Lint Trap Clean
You should be clearing out any lint that has collected on the lint trap after every use. This will ensure that excess lint does not move down into the vents, which is where the greatest danger of fire exists. The internal temperature of a dryer can reach 175 degrees Fahrenheit. When dryer lint accumulates in the vent, it traps gases and dirt as well. When these gases are combined with the heat from the dryer, conditions are perfect for starting a fire.

Check the Dryer Vent
Periodically, you should inspect your dryer vent to make sure everything is still attached properly. You will also need to look inside the vent to see if there is any lint debris already inside it. If there is, you will need to invest in a professional dryer vent cleaning to ensure that there are no potential problems.

Professional Cleaning
Even if you do not notice any buildup in your dryer vent, you should still have a professional cleaning done at least once each year. In addition to removing any lint from the dryer vent, drum casing, and exhaust tube, the cleaning service will also inspect the dryer for any potential problems with the duct work or vent.

A Word for the "Do It Yourselfer"
While you may be tempted to try to purchase a dryer brush kit to do the cleaning yourself, these kits do not work properly with all dryers. In fact, some of the kits may cause even more problems by forcing lint and debris further into the vent rather than actually removing it. A professional dryer vent cleaning technician will have the proper tools, and the knowledge of the different issues presented by different dryer models. Keep yourself safe and opt for a professional.

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