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Not Cleaning Your Chimney and Dryer Vent Makes Your Home a Fire Risk, Experts Say


In an average year, there are approximately 353,100 residential fires in the U.S., causing over 2,600 civilian deaths, 11,000 injuries, and more than $7.2 billion in property damage, according to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). However, it's not just candles or cooking mishaps that can put your home and wellbeing in jeopardy. Experts say that not cleaning your chimney(s) or dryer vent(s) in your home can also present a serious fire risk!


If you're not attending to your dryer vents on a regular basis, you could be putting your life at risk. According to the NFPA, nearly 16,000 home fires can be attributed to washing machines or clothes dryers every year.

"We advise having a qualified professional inspect your dryer vents as a safety precaution," says Mark Dawson, chief operating officer of Mister Sparky and One Hour Heat & Air Conditioning. "They will be able to reach areas in the vent that the average homeowner can't and will ensure all excess lint is removed. If all the accumulated lint is not removed, it increases the probability of experiencing a fire, in addition to reducing the efficiency of your appliance."

Dawson notes that if you see excess lint building up behind your dryer or notice a moldy smell, those are both signs you need to have your vents cleaned out in the near future. In the meantime, he recommends cleaning your dryer's lint trap regularly, including unplugging your dryer, vacuuming the lint trap, washing it with soap and water, and allowing it to dry completely to prevent lint build-up.

There are few things as pleasant as gathering around a crackling fire on a chilly night. Unfortunately, if you're not getting your chimney cleaned on a regular basis, that cozy ritual could present a serious safety risk.

"Creosote, a byproduct of combustion, will gather in your chimney every time you use your fireplace. Over time, high temperatures will cause creosote to ignite," says Shell. To help mitigate this risk, the NFPA recommends having your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year.

Cindy Akana/ July 14, 2021

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