Reducing Clothes Dryer Fires

Do you know that clothes dryer can be a potential hazard for you and your family? If lint accumulates in the dryer vent, it could cause a fire in your home.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission latest statistics estimate there were 5,100 clothes dryer fires in the U.S. in 2012, amounting to 10 deaths and in excess of $80,000,000 in estimated property damage.

These fires start when dryer vents become blocked by lint, the heat produced by the dryer cannot escape fast enough through the blocked vent, and the lint ignites from the trapped heat.

Look for these warning signs of inadequate clothes drying venting:

  • Clothes (especially towels and jeans) take a very long time to dry.
  • Clothes are hotter than usual at the end of the dryer cycle.
  • Flapper on vent hood does not open when dryer is on.

Check with your local city or community ordinance codes to see if they require metal dryer venting. Vinyl, plastic and foil venting accumulates lint more easily and can collapse when installed. Metal has been deemed more reliable by the Underwriters Laboratories standards.

Following these simple steps can lead to a safer dryer:

  • Clean the lint trap often and the lint from under the lint trap. You may even want to call a professional to make sure the cleaning is done properly.
  • While the dryer is operating, check the outside exhaust vent to be sure the air is passing through it normally.
  • Clean the door on the exhaust vent, which is mounted outside the house. Lint accumulation could hamper its ability to open and close properly.
  • Do not kink or crush the vent pipe to make up for lack of room behind the dryer.

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