Advanced Air Quality has dedicated an entire division to Dryer Fire Prevention. We are actively raising awareness about the importance of having a properly maintained Dryer Vent. There are over 13,000 Dryer Fires every year, year after year. It is recommended that your Dryer Vent be cleaned ANNUALLY.
Dryer Vent Safety
How to Keep Your Dryer from Catching Fire
When you think of serious hazards in your home, I bet this one doesn’t come to mind: lint. It’s not a hazard to health, like mould or asbestos, but it can light up fast, and can be a serious fire hazard. This risk increases as more lint accumulates in places it shouldn’t, such as in your dryer vent.
Every dryer has an exhaust duct that lets the warm, moist air and lint from the dryer escape to the outside of the home. There are two major problems when it comes to the dryer exhaust duct.
First, the exhaust duct can — and often does — get clogged. This clogging varies between types of dryers and manufacturers, and whether or not the duct has been cleaned regularly. It should be done at least once a year.
The second problem is more serious; where the dryer doesn’t exhaust-vent directly to the exterior of the house. Instead, it goes into an attic or crawl space. That is a huge problem, and will, without question, lead to mould and serious damage over time.
House fires caused by dryers are far more common than generally believed.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, North American fires caused by dryers last year were responsibly for approximately 13,775 house fires, 420 injuries, 15 deaths and $196 million in damages.
Most of these incidents occur in residences and are the result of improper lint cleanup and maintenance.
Fortunately, these fires are easy to prevent.
- If your clothes are taking longer than normal to dry, check for blocked pipes or lint build up.
- Clean lint filters regularly. Cleaning the lint filters on your dryer will save energy, improve performance and minimize fire hazards.
- Replace ripped filters or cracked exhaust vents.
- In the winter, make sure that dryer vent flaps are not freezing shut or sticking.
- Keep the area around the dryer clear of flammable materials.
- Be sure to check behind your washer & dryer for items that may have fallen behind.
- Choose aluminum or steel ducts over vinyl hoses, which can droop in certain areas creating pockets that might trap lint. Plastic ducts can also melt or collapse and fail to contain the fire within the unit.
- Exhaust ducts should not be connected with sheet-metal screws which extend into the duct. If screws are used any lint passing through will get caught on them and means it could clog faster than it should.
- Ensure clothes dryer exhausts ducts are as straight as possible and are not longer than 25 feet. Any 90-degree turns in the vent reduce this 25-foot number by 5 feet, since these turns restrict airflow.
- Dryer vent cleaning improves the safety and efficiency and depending on the venting circumstances, should be cleaned or inspected every 6-12 months.
Resources: National Post;Mike Holmes, CBC News;Consumer Report, Home Inspection Toronto
Laundry Room SafetyYour laundry room could be one of the most dangerous places in your home. Regular maintenance of your Dryer Vent could significantly reduce the risk of fire. Your laundry room safety plan should include:
- Annual Dryer Vent Cleaning
- Monthly Inspection of the Exterior Exhaust Grille
- Fire Extinguisher located in the Laundry Room
- Smoke Detector installed in the Laundry Room
- Carbon Monoxide Detector installed in the Laundry Room ( if you have a gas dryer )
- Lint Alert Monitor installed to monitor the Dryer Vent
- Dryer Appliance Maintenance done by a Certified Technician ( follow the manufacturers recommendation for frequency )