Can Using Your Dryer Cause a Fire?

August 22, 2012
alandaleeditor
Image: Morguefile.com

Image: Morguefile.com

In majority of American homes, the dryer is one of the most used major appliance used frequently, alongside its counterpart the washer, television, and air conditioner. It is an essential part of family living, especially if your household has many members, including children. What many families do not know is that the dryer, although very useful, can be one of the leading causes of fire in their homes.

According to Underwriters Laboratories, an independent global safety company, there are approximately 15,000 home fires caused by dryers every year worldwide; 2,900 of those fires have been reported by US fire department, which caused $35 million dollars in property damage. The US Fire Administration (USFA) had recently issued a report stating that 85 percent of those fires took place in residential buildings.

Dryer fires are mostly caused by the lack of maintenance and care for dryers in the home or residential buildings. When a dryer’s lint trap is not being cleaned as often as it should be, the built-up lint on the screen can cause your dryer to lose its performance, operate at a higher temperature, and overheat the dryer. Vent systems should also be checked and cleaned to maintain proper air flow.

Dryer fires can also happen if improper items, such as foam backed rugs and sneakers, are placed into the dryer. Using plastic or vinyl exhaust materials to vent the dryer may also cause a fire. When installing your dryer, make sure you use flexible, metal venting, and use items safe to use in the dryer.

Other tips when using your dryer:

  • Clean the lint trap before and after drying each load of clothes.
  • Clean the back of the dryer where lint can be trapped.
  • Clean the interior of the dryer and venting system occasionally by a professional.
  • Do not dry items which have anything flammable on them and could give off vapors that may ignite or explode.
  • Read manufacturers’ warnings in use and care manuals that accompany new dryers.

Using these tips regularly can not only prevent the risk of a dryer fire, but also extend the life of your appliance. Make sure your home is safe to prevent disasters, but also prepare for the worst. In case of any fire, have a first aid kit available, an emergency plan, and make sure your home is properly insured so you can easily get your life back. For more information on protecting your home and future, call an Alandale Insurance Agent at (888) 854-4501.

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