We all need clean clothes, that’s a given. To quote Mark Twain, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have no influence on society.” Modern washing machines and dryers are a marvelous invention, letting us get our laundry done without needing to be there to watch it. It’s a massive time saver, but it does come with risks. Dryer fires in particular are a common one.
Dryer Fire Statistics
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, about 2,900 dryer fires are reported every year. These cause an average of 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property damage. Most dryer fires occur in the fall and winter months, peaking in January. The most common cause of dryer fires? Forgetting to clean the vent, accounting for 34% of dryer fire cases.
Lint in Dryer Vents
Lint is an accumulation of small fibers that forms a big, fuzzy mess. Most clothing materials can form lint, but the biggest culprits are cotton, linen, and wool. As clothing rubs together, tiny bits of fibers break off and get compressed together. Lint may not be entirely worthless – there are some creative ways to use it – but it is highly flammable. If allowed to build up in your dryer vents, it will catch fire.
Signs You Are At Risk of a Dryer Fire
Dryer fires don’t happen without warning. It takes time to build up enough flammable material in the vents to combust. You’ll spot signs of fire well before you actually have one. They include
- A musty odor after the drying cycle
- Odor from dryer sheets used in drying cycle
- Clothes are unusually hot to touch
- Excessive heat in the room where the dryer runs
- Dryer vent hood flap doesn’t open properly when the dryer is in use
- Debris within the outside dryer vent opening
- Unusual amounts of lint in the lint filter after a cycle
How To Prevent Dryer Fires
The most important way of preventing dryer fires is to keep it clean of lint. Never run your dryer without the lint filter in and remember to clean the lint filter after every cycle. This helps prevent lint from getting into the vent. Even so, lint will still get into the vents over time. You should clean the dryer vents regularly to avoid fires. Check that the outdoor vent covering opens while the dryer is in use.
Lint isn’t the only cause of dryer fires, though. The second most common cause is flammable materials kept near the dryer or accidentally put into them. Never store any flammable liquids near your dryer to prevent accidents. Additionally, if you’ve spilled gasoline or oil on your clothes, do not dry them in the dryer.
The material your dryer vents are made from matters as well. In the past, some companies would install dryer vents made from vinyl. Vinyl is flammable and will eventually catch fire if used too much at once. Given that many people run two or three loads in a single day, it’s a huge risk. If you have vinyl vents, you should immediately get them replaced with aluminum. Rigid aluminum vents collect lint slower and cannot easily be crushed, unlike flexible aluminum vents.
We Can Help
At Easy Breezy Ducts, we clean all kinds of vents, including dryer vents. We have specialized tools for cleaning that don’t damage the inside of vents. If you haven’t cleaned your dryer vents in a while, give us a call or send us a message. We’ll get that cleaned out for you so you don’t have to worry.