(Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2015, it has been updated to reflect current information).
With October being fire awareness month, we thought we would take a minute to talk about a common cause of house fires, your clothes dryer. Many of us rely on our washer and dryer on a daily or a very frequent basis and tend to take these appliances for granted. Taking care of your dryer is vital to the safety of your home.
According to FEMA “An estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires in residential homes are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in property loss.” This data includes both gas and electric dryers.
The leading cause of dryer fires are failure to clean and maintain the dryer.
Do you have a new dryer, don’t assume you’re in the clear – Most times it is not the dryer itself but the vent that gets clogged with lint that creates the problem.
How do I know if my dryer vent is clogged?
The image on the right shows lint we removed from a dryer vent on the roof. This lint was inside the vent inhibiting air flow and proper ventilation from the dryer. This is why it is so important to get your vent line cleaned on a regular basis. When was the last time you had the vent cleaned? Some experts recommend getting a vent cleaning once a year, while others will suggest 3-5 years. This depends on the amount of people, pets and how much laundry is done per week. Talk to your dryer vent professional about what they recommend.
How do I prevent a dryer fire?
- Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
- Get your dryer vent cleaned by a professional.
- Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
- Clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.
- Keep dryers in good working order. Check the vent hood flap, look for lint or debris around the dryer hose or outside vent opening.
- Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and don’t overload the dryer.
- Turn the dryer off if you leave your home or go to bed.
How Much Lint Builds Up in the Dryer?
See our video below to see a dryer vent cleaning in a residential home.
Dryer Vent Warning Signs
These signs below may mean its time to get your dryer vent cleaned.
- It takes longer to dry your clothes.
- Your clothes and the outside of your dryer are very hot.
- You notice a burning smell.
- You’re not sure your vent has ever been cleaned, or can’t remember the last time you had it cleaned.