Family Vacation Disrupted by Dryer Fire

Being a recently retired Battalion Chief of a suburban Chicago Fire Department and an owner of a professional dryer vent cleaning service, a recent news article caught my attention. It described a house fire caused by a dryer in San Diego and the headline was, “Vacationers displaced after early-morning fire torches beach home”.

Two families from Utah — a total of seven adults and nine children — had been staying in the two-unit home and were displaced as a result of the fire, according to the Fire Department.

Vacations are a time when families get together and have a carefree time, especially in Southern California. Spending days at the beach and enjoying the ocean air while shopping and eating oceanside are what dreams are made of. But these 2 families had a nightmare happen that was all too real. They were awoken by smoke detectors set off by a dryer fire. According to the article, the only mentioned injury was a 60 year old woman was treated for smoke inhalation. Thankfully none of the kids were injured.

The family was displaced from their rental home and luckily another rental unit was found and the families were able to resume their vacation.

The owner of the home however now has to deal with replacement of the washer and dryer (both were damaged beyond repair), an adjacent bathroom was damaged, and smoke and water removal. Knowing how (not) quickly insurance repair works, this owner is going to be with rental income for many months to follow. The loss of rental income could really hurt the owners ability to stay above water.

Why did this happen and could it have been prevented? Absolutely! A reputable dryer vent service can greatly reduce the threat of one of the most preventable fires in your home. The service company should not only clean the dryer vent, but also clean behind, underneath, and inside the dryer.

Over time, small amounts of lint from each load you dry, will not make it to the outside for many reasons. Some of those reasons are: too long of a vent run, too many elbows in the vent run, undersized venting, crushed or disconnected venting, birds nests in vent, or even other small mammals making their way into a vent. Once the vent gets blocked with lint, your dryer exhaust will have nowhere to go and small openings inside the dryer will allow the interior motor compartment to get coated with a fine layer of lint with every load. This lint will build up to the point where it can be ignited by the operation of the dryer. Many times it will flash across the lint and not get outside the dryer cabinet. I actually cleaned a dryer once and showed the owner that she had 5 separate fire inside her dryer by counting the layers of burnt lint like the rings of a tree!

That small fire inside the dryer can get out by means of all the opening in the back of your dryer meant to allow make-up air into the machine and to dissipate heat. If there are items of clothing, such as the ever missing unpaired sock, or towels that fell behind the dryer, this will become tinder for that small fire. Small fires turn into big fires if allowed to progress unchecked.

I always check smoke detector operation in my own home and in vacation rentals homes/condos. I also check dryer operation in rental units when I stay in them by this simple test. I go to the outside vent cap and feel the exhaust. It should feel like a fan blowing at high speed. If your unsure of how much air should be coming out, check the flaps on the cap. They should be straight out when the dryer is in operation.

Have fun and enjoy your vacation!

Why Property Managers Need a Commercial Dryer Vent Cleaning Company

The General Numbers

About four percent or one out of twenty five residential fires per year is caused by a clothes dryer.  That’s over 15,000 per year in the U.S. alone!  Now think of the added risk you incur with multi-unit dwellings.  If you own or manage 20, 50, or even 100 plus units, put LintFighters in your list of contacts to protect yourself from costly losses.

 

Protect Yourself From Personal Liability

It’s not just the loss of your property, but personal injury or worse for your tenants can result in huge settlement costs not to mention the default cost of a legal defense.  Why risk it?  Annual service can prevent problems as well as negligence claims.  Our team will assess your project and offer custom pricing for any size project.

 

Protect Your Investment

Most fires can be extinguished quickly thanks to today’s well prepared professionals.  Even then it’s not a question of just replacing the equipment but repairing smoke and water damage that is all but inevitable in multi-unit dwellings!  Then there is the cost of tenant displacement and headache of the claims process.  A five minute small fire doesn’t seem like much until you look back when all is said and done with a cost up to $50,000 or more!  Your equipment isn’t cheap.  Regular service also extends the life of the system saving you money.   

 

Peace of Mind

In Chicagoland there is no better way to protect your investment, save on the headache, and prolong the service life of your equipment than with LintFighter’s service.  With 50 plus years of professional firefighting experience, you can rest easy knowing the job is done right!  We are already servicing your neighbors in Schaumburg, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Frankfort, and Downers Grove.  Call today - 844-LINT-911 or follow this link to arrange a quote LintFighters.com/appointments

 

5 Tips It's Time To Have Your Dryer Vent Cleaned

A burnt smell during operation

Firstly, discontinue use immediately!  Next, phone 844-LINT-911 and have the pros at LintFighters clean and inspect your drying system from tip to tip.  Lint is highly flammable and can begin to smolder before fully catching fire, thus the burnt smell you are experiencing.   

 

Your clothes or outside of unit become very hot while in use

If near the end of the cycle your clothing or the outside of the dryer cabinet are hot to the touch, it is likely your dryer vent has been restricted making the dryer retain more heat than is normal or safe.  This will reduce the life of your heating element and blower as well as raise your energy costs.

 

Drying cycles last longer than normal

The dryer works by heating the clothes to humidify the air in the tumbler then forcing that air out of the dryer vent duct.  Small amounts of the lint often remain in the duct never making it out.  The longer the run of the duct the harder it is to fully evacuate the duct resulting in a larger amount remaining behind.  Over time this accumulation grows and at some point restricts the airflow enough to increase drying times.  The longer the time the greater the occlusion!  Keep in mind, the more your dryer has to work, the more you increase the wear and tear reducing service time by as much as half!

 

The exterior vent is blocked by debris or flap won’t open

A great visual cue is a blocked exit for the vent duct.  A wire cage, flap, louvers or combination of these should be inspected often.  Not just for lint build up, but also for debris or damage caused by small animals looking for a warm place to nest.  This happens more often than one might think, so even with your annual professional cleaning and inspection, remember to check this out yourself periodically.

 

It’s been a year since your last cleaning

Standard dryer vents should be cleaned annually as suggested by fire safety professionals and most dryer manufacturers.  Longer duct runs may require more frequent service.  With professional service being so affordable, phone today or visit LintFighters.com/appointments to schedule and remember to save on your calendar for repeat every year.  Not only will your dryer last longer and be more efficient, but you will have peace of mind for your family’s safety.

LintFighters

Protect your home or business from dryer vent fires with the expertise of LintFighters. We offer complete dryer vent services for residential and commercial clients throughout Chicagoland, Northwest Indiana and Southwest Michigan. Our services will eliminate fire hazard, reduce drying times, save money on your utility bills and increase the life of your dryer.

Our certified technicians offer the following services:

  • Dryer vent repair
  • Video inspection
  • Digital airflow measurement
  • Dryer vent cleaning

    When was the last time you had your dryer vent cleaned? Do you find that your clothes need more than one cycle through the dryer to completely dry? Do you see a buildup of lint in your vent? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need Lint Fighters!