Fire officials: Bathroom exhaust fans can cause fires

The Monroe Fire Department is sounding the alarm that bathroom and attic fires are being caused by exhaust fans that aren't being properly maintained.
Officials say the fans should be cleaned every six months because they can collect lint and dust and result in a fire. 
They say most fans should last nine to 12 years and then need to be replaced.
Some warning signs that that time has come are noises when the fan is on and an odor of something burning.
Here are some other warning signs and best cleaning practices:
  • To clean your exhaust fan, it is necessary to remove the vent cover with the electric off and to vacuum or wipe away with a wet soapy cloth any collection of debris. Canned air may even be utilized to clean this area. Always let the fan completely dry before utilizing again after its cleaning.
  • Poor ventilation as a result of the collection of dust and lint within the fan unit itself can lead to the motor overheating.
  • Sometimes you will observe signals that it is time to have an electrician replace your bathroom exhaust fan.
To ensure a safe and long lasting exhaust fan.
  • Ensure the duct work also attached to the fan vent is clear of dust and lint.
  • Only use LED lighting attached to any fan with lighting. It will keep the fan cooler and reduce electrical load on the fan unit.
  • Consider attaching a timer to your fan switch. Most fires are a result of the fan motor overheating. Fan motors should not be utilized for more than 20 minutes at a time.
  • Mark your calendar to inspect your exhaust fans twice per year.