Guest Blog Post by Jane Gawlik, Dryer Vent Wizard

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are approximately 15,500 clothes dryer fires every year in the U.S., resulting in an average of 34 deaths, 430 injuries, and over $209 million in property damage. Failure to clean (34%) is the leading factor contributing to the ignition of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings, and dryer lint is the most common source of the ignition.

We find that many condominium board members and association managing agents are surprised to learn that the clothes dryer is the top source of fire among household appliances. You might guess that the stove, especially a gas stove, would be at the top instead. That’s certainly understandable – why would an appliance with an open flame not be number one? The answer is the fuel for the fire. Imagine a stove covered with lint – you would obviously never think of using it without cleaning it first. But when it comes to dryers, the danger is not readily observable because the lint builds up over time in the enclosed dryer vent system. Also, some may mistakenly assume that the lint catcher on the dryer itself will catch all of the lint.

Condominium associations and other multifamily developments face special challenges because their dryer vent lines tend to be lengthy with many twists and turns in order to service multiple dryer units in a single location. Be sure to get your association’s dryer vent lines professionally cleaned once per year, and if it is the co-owner’s maintenance responsibility to do so for dryers located within a unit, be sure to adopt a policy requiring regular cleaning.

Other benefits from regular dryer vent cleaning include the following:

  • Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Eliminating mold issues
  • Energy savings
  • Extended dryer life
  • Increased clothing life
  • Saving time

More information is available at www.dryerventwizard.com, or contact Jane Gawlik at (586)764-2465. Thanks to Jane for providing this valuable insight!

Additional resources:

Download this video showing just how much lint can gather in a line when left uncleaned.

NBC Today Show segment on dryer fires

Most recent published report on washer and dryer fires from National Fire Protection Association (2012)

Outreach materials from the U.S. Fire Administration