Bathroom vents: a hidden fire danger in your home

Posted at 5:22 AM, Jun 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-16 10:55:19-04

The thing keeping your bathroom fresh and dry could end up catching it on fire. Mesa firefighters, among others in the Valley, say they’re seeing more and more fires linked to bathroom exhaust fans.

“You don’t really think too much about it,” Mesa Deputy Fire Chief Forrest Smith told ABC15.

In Mesa alone, Smith says there have been 22 confirmed fires linked to bathroom exhaust fans in the past 30 months – including five since January. Why now? Smith says as homes from the housing boom are getting older, if the vents and fans haven’t been cleaned, the fan’s motor is causing the collected dust to spark.

“Housekeeping is one of the main things you can do to prevent fires,” he said.

The solution? Smith tells us you should make cleaning the bathroom fan part of your weekly routine. In most cases, the cover hiding the device easily pops off.

"You want to unplug that fan and just start vacuuming in there and cleaning that area out."

He also recommends swapping out the standard electrical switch to trigger your fan with a timer. ABC15 found them priced $20 or less at Valley hardware stores.