Dryer Vent Fires: Causes and Prevention Measures

Laundry shouldn't be a matter of life and death. Sadly, according to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), clogged dryer vents cause more than 2,900 residential building dryer fires annually, causing numerous injuries and expenses exceeding $35 million in damages.

What causes dryer vent fires? Lint build-up in the dryer restricts airflow, resulting in extremely high temperatures that ignite a fire.

Regular DIY or professional dryer vent cleaning is a great preventive measure against a dryer vent fire in your home. At Zerorez®, we prevent dryer vent fires by professionally cleaning them before they become a hazard.

This article covers the causes, fire-safety dryer vent measures, and how to put the fire out to save lives and homes.

You can't miss this one. Read on.

What Causes Dryer Vent Fires?

Lint build-up in the vent is a major dryer vent fire hazard. Airflow constricts when lint and other debris accumulate inside the dryer vents and hoses.

When the dryer is in operation, it produces extremely hot air, causing the lint to ignite a fire.

Most homeowners are unaware of the serious risks behind dirty dryer vents and why they should hire a professional to clean them. A professional cleaner like Zerorez removes clogs from your dryers and prevents a potential fire hazard.

Under What Other Circumstances Can a Dryer Vent Cause Fire?

  • A faulty heating element overheating and reaching extreme temperatures can ignite a dryer fire.
  • Flimsy duct extenders from plastic or thin foil may be fire hazards.
  • When the temperature sensors are faulty, the dryer's heating elements may overheat and ignite a fire.
  • Insufficient space between a dryer and the wall may cause some components to overheat, resulting in a fire.
white dryer in a laundry room, with green potted succulent and cactus plants on top of it

How Many Dryer Vent Fires Happen Each Year?

According to the USFA's dryer vent fire statistics, approximately 2,900 residential building dryer fires are reported to the U.S. fire department annually, causing about 100 injuries, five fatalities, and $35 million worth of property loss.

How Common Are Dryer Vent Fires?

In winter and fall, the number of residential building dryer fires rises by 11 percent, with January recording the highest number.

According to USFA, 28 percent of house fires from dryer vents resulted from lint, dust, and fiber buildup and blockages.

What Should You Do if the Dryer Vent Catches Fire?

If you notice smoke, popping sounds, a burning odor, or extreme heat around the dryer vent, it could be catching fire.

If you can extinguish the fire, allow everyone else to evacuate the building immediately.

Don't open the dryer door, as that could feed the fire oxygen, spreading it further and faster. Opening the dryer door is also risky because it could burn your hands.

The burning synthetic materials in your dryer could also release toxic smoke and carbon monoxide, which could kill you.

Follow the following steps to extinguish a dryer vent fire:

  1. Don't panic; doing so makes it challenging to extinguish the fire or save anyone who could be in danger.
  2. Call the fire department or 911 immediately.
  3. Use an ABC fire extinguisher and the P.A.S.S. (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep) fire extinguishing technique:
    P: Pull the fire extinguisher pin with a smooth but firm motion.
    A: Aim low as you point the extinguisher's nozzles at the base of the fire
    S: Squeeze the lever steadfastly to release the fire-extinguishing compounds
    S: Sweep and spray from right to left (or vice versa) along the base of the fire until the fire goes off.
  4. After successfully putting off the fire, unplug the dryer vent from the wall outlet. However, if you notice that the connections are damaged, avoid disconnecting the dryer vent. Call an electrician to help you instead.
  5. Exit the room with the dryer and shut the door behind you to contain the flames in case the smoldering material reignites.
  6. Turn off all utilities in and to the room.
  7. Contact an electrician to inspect and repair your home's wiring after that incident.
  8. Clean up the mess.
  9. Call Zerorez to clean up your air ducts, which can also be a fire hazard, but which may now contain toxic particles from the fire.

Can a Clogged Dryer Vent Cause a Fire?

Yes, a clogged dryer vent can cause a fire. Clogs also overwork the dryer, making it seem like it has malfunctioned.

Before replacing your dryer, hire a professional cleaner to remove debris and lint accumulation in your dryer vents and hoses.

Do a professional dryer vent cleanup at least once a year to adequately prevent dryer fires.

How to Prevent a Fire in Your Dryer Vent

Dryer vents occur anywhere, including in residential buildings, hotels, multifamily dwellings, hotels, and commercial buildings.

Here are effective measures to take to prevent dry vent fire hazards.

  • Cleaning the lint filter is a great safety measure against dryer fires. After each drying cycle, clean the dryer lint filter.
  • Call a dryer vent professional cleaner to clean or inspect it, especially if it starts overheating or taking too long to dry.
  • Never run the dryer if you plan to go to bed or leave the house while it's in operation.
Before and After visual inside a residential dryer vent hose that was cleaned by Zerorez
Before and After Zerorez Cleaned Dryer Vent Hose


Is a Bird Nest in the Dryer Vent a Fire Hazard?

A bird nest in the dryer vent blocks the system, causing lint build-up and airflow blockage, resulting in high temperatures that ignite a fire.

Suppose you notice bird poop on the sides of the house or your dryer vent, twigs, or grass hanging out of your dryer vent. Birds may have built a nest in the vent, and you must remove it immediately.

Zerorez Offers Professional Dryer Vent Cleaning Services

Better safe than sorry! Keep up with routine dryer vent cleaning and dryer maintenance to protect your home from dryer vent fires.

Contact Zerorez to check the condition of your dryer vents and clean them to ensure that you have a fire-safe dryer vent.

We hope the worst never happens, and we are here to help make sure it doesn't. We have various branches around the country. Contact our customer care at 866-937-6739 or book online for the pricing details or any other add-on services you may need.

Book a Cleaning with Zerorez Today!