Dryer Fire Safety Tips
The (USFA) U.S. Fire Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reports there are approximately 15,600 house fires, 400 injuries and 15 deaths each year due to clothes dryer fires. Failure to clean lint is a leading cause of fires as is improper installation and maintenance. Clothes dryers force hot air through a revolving drum to dry clothes. The lint that accumulates during this drying process is mostly caught in a filter known as a lint trap, but this only stops about 75% of the lint with the remainder accumulating in the dryer and dryer vent system. This accumulation of debris reduces airflow through the clothes dryer, raises temperature levels, and provides a highly flammable source of fuel for a residential or commercial fire. Read some Nationwide articles of recent clothes dryer fires.
Dryer Fire Warning Signs
- Your clothes are taking longer to dry (a properly functioning vent system with proper airflow will reduce energy costs by $10 to $30 monthly).
- There is excessive moisture in your laundry room or a musty smell.
- You notice dryer lint on the ground or sticking out of your dryer vent exhaust outside.
- You notice lint around your dryer in the laundry room.
- Very little lint is in your dryer lint trap.
- Your dryers’ vent system hasn’t been cleaned in over a year.
- You notice your dryer vent flap outside not moving when the dryer is on.
- Your clothes dryer is vented with plastic or vinyl exhaust materials.
Always Check Before Use:
- Lint filter is in place, clean, and has no rips in it.
- Area around your clothes dryer is free of combustable material.
- No synthetic material such as rubber, plastic, foam, or pieces of cloth used to sponge up flammable liquids (previously washed or not), are placed in the dryer.
- Lint buildup on floor around clothes dryer.
- Service the dryer yourself, including cleaning of the chassis. Always call a professional.
- Put synthetic material such as rubber, plastic, foam, or pieces of cloth used to sponge up flammable liquids (previously washed or not), in the dryer.
- Try to clean the dryer vents yourself without first verifying the material it is made out of – cleaning the wrong type of vent could make the problem worse.
Additional Considerations and Safety Measures:
- Make sure your clothes dryer is plugged into an outlet suitable for its’ needs.
- You have a smoke alarm installed in the laundry room.
- Your dryer is turned off when you are sleeping or have left the house.