Big Box Reviews
How to prevent dryer fires
Updated: Oct 18, 2022
There could be a hidden danger in your home right now masquerading as a mere nuisance. Clogged dryer vents decrease drying efficiency leading to longer drying times and wasted power, but if left untreated an obstructed vent can lead to disaster.
Dryers and washing machines cause an average of 15,970 fires each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association, with dryers accounting for a staggering 92% of them. Even worse, these fires lead to an estimated 5 deaths, hundreds of injuries and approximately $238 million in property damage annually.
Here are some tell tale signs of a clogged dryer vent.
Musty odor in clothing
Clothes exceedingly hot to touch
Dryer vent flap on the outside of the home not opening properly while drying
Lint and debris stuck in the trap during each cycle
How to prevent a dryer fire
Read the manufacturers’ instructions and warnings upon installation
Have the dryer installed by a knowledgeable professional
Use the correct plug with the correct outlet
Clean the lint filter after each load
Wash and clean the lint filter every six months with a wire brush
Inspect and clean the dryer vent pipe every three months
Check the back of the dryer for additional lint build up. It's very flammable
Ensure that no garments have fallen behind the dryer
Keep the dryer hose to the vent free of kinks and crimps
Make sure there is cover on the outdoor vent that opens and closes during drying cycle, and regularly check for exterior obstructions
Have your dryer vents professionally cleaned from the dryer to the outside wall annually
Do not put clothes soiled by flammable compounds like gas, oil, and alcohol in the dryer, as they may ignite from the heat. Ensure these garments have been washed numerous times before drying to remove these substances from the clothing.
Avoid putting items with rubber backing, such as floor mats, in the dryer as they may be a potential fire hazard
It is also advised not to let the dryer run unattended while sleeping or away from the home.
For gas dryers, it’s important to periodically check both the lines and connections. Look for leaks and improper or lose fittings. This should be done by a professional once per year
Recognize when it's time to replace your dryer
Remember, old worn out parts can cause electrical failures and sparks. The average life of a dryer is 10-13 years at most, depending on how well it is maintained. If your dryer parts are no longer manufactured, it's time to consider replacement. An added benefit of upgrading to a modern dryer is the efficiency. Newer dryers dry faster and are more energy efficient, saving you time and money. If the dryer is running for longer than it should because it’s aged or faulty, you are potentially playing with fire and spending more than you should. Save yourself the headache and the risk. Replace it.
Dryer fires are a risk, but are easily preventable
Basic upkeep and regular maintenance on your dryer will minimize the risk of a dryer fire and save you money by keeping your dryer running as efficiently as possible.
If it's time to replace your dryer, check out our list of preferred independent dealers here
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