According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported every year. These fires result in property loss totaling $35 million annually and cause injuries and even deaths. The leading cause of clothes dryer fires (34 percent) is failure to clean them. Home clothes dryer fires occur more in the fall and winter months.
Lint is a highly combustible material that can accumulate both in the dryer and in its vent duct work. Accumulated lint leads to reduced airflow, meaning the vent cannot properly exhaust to the outside. This creates overheating and can cause lint to ignite.
Here are 10 tips to prevent dryer fires.
- Do not use the dryer without a lint filter. Clean lint filters every time the dryer is used.
- Clean dryer vent ductwork at least once a year.
- Regularly clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up.
- Inspect the dryer’s venting system to ensure it is not damaged, crushed or restricted.
- Dryer vents should exhaust directly to the outside, not into attics or other areas of the home.
- Ensure the outdoor vent covering opens properly when the dryer is operating.
- Have a qualified service technician periodically clean and service the dryer’s interior and venting system, especially if it is taking longer than normal for clothes to dry.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, and don’t overload the dryer.
- Gas dryers should be inspected by a qualified professional to make sure the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
- Turn the dryer off before leaving the home or going to bed.
Sources: U.S. Fire Administration, National Fire Protection Association