The latest statistics available show that yearly dryer exhaust fires surpassed chimney fires.

Based on 1999 data, there were 10,450 dryer vent fires reported nationally, 11 people lost their lives, and there were in excess of 250 injuries with over $45 million in property damage.

The main reason for most of these fires was the lint build-up which made its way into the heating element of the unit then sparked and caused a fire. There is no surprise that today some fire departments and insurance companies require the dryer vents to be checked and cleaned regularly.

Dryer fires usually start beneath the dryer when the motor overheats. The main reason for overheating is a build-up of lint in the duct. Any lint that has accumulated under the dryer will burn and the draft from the dryer will push the fire into the duct and could spread to the rest of the house. Other debris in the duct could also cause a blockage as well as crushed hoses behind the dryer.

Risk Factors of Dryer Vent Fires

  • How often the dryer is used, if you have a bigger family you’ll use the dryer more
  • The use of flexible plastic ducts, which are highly flammable
  • The use of plastic or aluminum ducts that are bent and reduce the airflow

Signs That The Vent is Blocked

  • Your dryer takes longer to dry your items, especially towels
  • If your clothes are still damp or hotter than usual at the end of a cycle
  • Or the outdoor vent will not open when the dryer is on