Dryer Vent Cleaning for Dryer Fire Prevention Month

Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, a tragedy that occurred in 1871. The devastation caused more than 250 deaths and left over 100,000 people homeless as more than 17,000 buildings were destroyed. The 2,000 acre fire began on October 8 and did most of its damage on the 9th.

Survivors of the fire never forgot what they had been through. The fire changed the way that firefighters and pubic officials thought about fire safety. On the 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, the Fire Marshals Association of North America decided that the date of the fire would be observed by promoting public awareness on fire prevention.

Dryer vent cleaning is often overlooked by homeowners when performing regular appliance maintenance. Failure to clean dryer vents is the leading cause of over 15,000 dryer fires reported annually causing injury, death and nearly $100 million in property damages. Considering these staggering numbers, the fee for dryer vent cleaning is little compared to the loss experienced after a dryer fire.

Other causes of dryer fires include storing combustible material near the dryer, mechanical and electrical problems and the use of vinyl, plastic or flexible foil for dryer vents. This used to be acceptable; however, UL safety standards have changed. Dryer vents should be made of rigid or semi-rigid metal.

Here are some tips for consumers to prevent dryer fires and to protect themselves in the event of a fire:

• Keep a working fire extinguisher designed for use in the laundry area
• Test smoke alarms and replace batteries periodically
• Clean the lint screen after each load of laundry
• Wash the lint screen every few months with soap and water to remove residue build-up from dryer sheets
• Line dry rags soaked in combustible chemicals; even if they have been washed some residue can remain
• Store flammable materials away from the clothes dryer
• Annual dryer vent cleaning and professional maintenance is recommended
• Have the dryer vent system inspected to be sure it is up to current safety codes
• Use only semi-rigid or solid metal material for dryer ducts
• Be sure the dryer vent system is properly installed; it should be as short as possible with few turns
• Check the vent outside for signs of blockage, freezing or damage
• Develop and practice a fire escape plan with family members in the event of a house fire

Clothes dryers are the most likely appliance to cause a fire if not properly maintained. The best person to perform dryer vent cleaning and maintenance is one who specializes in dryer vent systems. It is not recommended that you use a furnace duct cleaning company to do the job. A dryer vent professional will also clean inside the clothes dryer and be sure that it is working safely and efficiently, preventing fires and saving energy.

Webb Dickson of Dryer Vent Wizard provides dryer vent cleaning, dryer vent repair, dryer vent installation, dryer vent inspections and all dryer vent services for homes and businesses in New Hampshire, Nashua, Manchester, Concord, Portsmouth, Derry, Bedford, Keene, Milford, Middlesex and Essex County, Massachusetts, Billerica, Burlington, Westford, Concord, Stow, Marlborough, Natick, Hopkinton, Framingham, Gloucester, Middleton, Newburyport, Haverhill, Lawrence, Beverly and neighboring cities and communities.

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