Dryer vent fires didn’t take a summer vacation this year as www.lintalert.com was reporting that there were no less than 8 dryer vents caused -fires in townhouses, condos, apartment buildings and single and two family homes in the month of July. From a Parsippany home whose dryer burst into flames in the basement of their townhouse to a three-alarm blaze in a condo in San Mateo County, California, firefighters have had a busy summer fighting dryer vent fires.
Dryer vent fires are usually caused by an excessive buildup of lint in the ducting that leads to the outside of the dwelling. In some cases the lint screen has to be cleaned. In other cases the lint builds up in the plastic or foil, accordion-type ducting material and eventually ignites. The flexible foil type duct is subject to lint buildup because it is easier for it to get kinked or crushed when moving the appliance around which creates pockets for lint to hide. Most manufacturers suggest that you replace those ducting materials with a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct. And whatever you do, please don’t use the highly flammable white PVC ducting material.
Although in some cases, the fires may have been prevented if the right material would have been used in others; a regular cleaning by a dryer vent cleaning professional would have been enough to prevent a dryer vent fire. We realize that times are tough but taken into context; a $99 investment in a dryer vent cleaning could save you more in the long run.