Dryer Vent Fires

April 3, 2013

Sirens from police cars, fire trucks and ambulances are a common noise in the metropolitan area in which we live.  My last house was 250m from the local Ambulance station and our new home is 300m straight line from a Fire Hall.

The noise doesn’t bother me at all, you just get used to it I guess, that and I’m slowly going deaf but that’s another issue.  Once in awhile we actually hear a car crash in the 200thstreet and 72nd avenue intersection and can literally count down the seconds until the fire hall responds…. Did I mention I’m a fan of full time fire fighters??

A couple weeks ago we heard the fire truck sirens blare and while I listened it got louder and louder until we realized it was right on top of us.  In fact right in the street in front of our home! That’s a little freaky, I couldn’t see smoke so I was guessing it was a medical emergency until I saw the second truck come screaming up also with full lights and siren blaring right behind the first truck.  These guys were NOT messing around, two ran up the neighbors steps and entered the home.

The panic starts to hit when you see firefighters in full attire not wasting any time.  Luckily for all involved the tenants had put the small fire out… it was in their dryer, as the fire fighters arrived.  I have heard of  dryer fires but had not seen one since I was a kid.  You would think in the heating business I would see it more often.   Turns out the dryer vent, that went legally into the attic and was only just over 15 feet long, had too many bends and the dryer they had was not capable of pushing the humid lint laden air all the way out.  The vent was completely clogged and the dryers safety failed and a fire ensued.

There are a few issues here worth looking at, the first is that the dryer vent had never been cleaned; the house is over 5 years old and has never had the ducts cleaned.  Dryer vents should ALWAYS be cleaned when doing duct cleaning, inspected at a minimum yearly and cleaned out every 3 years.  Secondly I mentioned “legally into the attic” because in my opinion that is also a real issue; the attic is cool all winter causing the vent pipe to cool and the damp hot air to cool and stall in the pipe.   Thirdly their vent termination had a screen on it YIKES! No screens on dryers please, they trap lint and cause high static pressure and…. dryer fires.  The last thing to know is that if you have a plastic dryer vent GET RID OF IT immediately, they melt, fast.  Yes I know Home Depot and other retailers still sell the plastic vent pipe but it is indeed illegal to use in BC, yeah I know…. Why do they sell it?

For dryer vent cleaning and if you live in the lower mainland call Alpha Duct Cleaning 604 939 6029, tell them we sent you and get a discounted rate.

The next day I pulled the dryer out and cleared the kinks in the flex line,  hopped out on the roof and inspected our vent for a screen and tested the velocity of the exhaust to make sure the pipe wasn’t blocked.

Hope this public service announcement finds you well, thank you for reading this far and please continue to send your referrals.  Johanna and I currently have 7 listings and we are actively searching for another 7 if you know anyone looking for a pair of dynamic realtors.

Have a great day,

Clay Martin

Professional Realtor
Royal Lepage Wolstencroft Realty