The Anatomy of a Clothes Dryer Fire: Fires can be Prevented with Proper Dryer Vent Cleaning and Maintenance

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Most people are conscientious about having their furnace cleaned, however, very few people think of clothes dryer in relation to fire prevention. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports an estimated annual 15,500 fires, some resulting in deaths and injuries, due to clothes dryer fires. Besides fire, improper dryer venting also poses a carbon monoxide risk.  These accidents can be prevented with properly installed and maintained dryer venting.   
A clothes dryer fire occurs when lint accumulates restricting airflow which then leads to overheating.  The heat and the combustible lint are the main ingredients for a clothes dryer fire.  Dryers produce a lot of lint and simply cleaning the lint screen is not enough.  The lint screen catches most of the lint, but some ends up underneath it.  It is even possible for the lint to build up on the heating element.  The best way to be sure your dryer venting system is safe is to have it professionally inspected and cleaned at least once a year. 

Another issue is the length of the vent; the shorter, the better.  It used be that most clothes dryers were in the basement, on an outside wall, with a relatively short, straight vent to the outdoors.  These days many newer homes tend to have their laundry area located away from an outside wall; some are on the second floor.  This means dryer vents are much longer and contain some bends where lint can accumulate.  They're also harder to reach therefore more difficult to keep cleaned.  The ideal dryer vent system is short and straight.  The pieces should also be joined together to leave the inside smooth and free of screws or fasteners that lint can catch on.


It is important that the venting be made of rigid material, not the flexible, foil type tubing that crushes easily, restricting airflow.  Allow enough clearance between the clothes dryer and the wall; some people push the dryer too close, crushing the venting and creating an air flow problem right off the bat. 


Here's one last tip that few people are aware of.  The dryer vent screen should be washed thoroughly with warm soapy water every few months to remove residue build up caused by dryer sheets.  It is actually possible for the lint screen to have so much build-up on it that it will hold water!  This definitely restricts air flow and causes the dryer to take more than one cycle to properly dry a load of clothes.


This article was written by The Dryer Vent Wizard, who wants all consumers to be aware of how dangerous their seemingly innocent clothes dryer can be.  The Wizard provides more fire safety tips and easy, preventative measures for preventing a clothes dryer fire at


Dryer Vent Wizard currently has franchises in the following market areas:  Birmingham, AL, Goodyear, AZ; Scottsdale, AZ; Ceres, CA; Cotati, CA; Elk Grove, CA; Fresno, CA; Murieta, CA; Simi Valley, CA; Limeton, CO; Boynton Beach, FL; Jacksonville, FL; W. Tarpen Springs, FL; Canton, GA; Star, ID; Chicago Il; Hingham, MA; Hudson, MA; Westford, MA; Bel Air, MD; Townson, MD; Canton, MI; Lapeer, MI; Oak Park, MI; Clearwater, MN; Farmington, MN; Maryville, MO; Concord, NC; Tarboro, NC; Marlton, NJ; Rahway, NJ; Elbridge, NY; Wading River, NY; Avon Lake, OH; Columbus, OH; Mason, OH; Pickington, OH; Fountainville, PA; Valencia, PA; York, PA; Smyma, TN; Arlington, VA; round Hill, VA; Lynnwood, WA; Oshkosh, WI



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