When’s the last time that you cleaned your dryer? When’s the last time that you had your dryer service or scheduled a professional dryer vent cleaning? If it hasn’t been recent, you should ensure that you get right on that. This is because dryer fires are a leading cause of house fires. In order to prevent a fire, it’s crucial that you stay on stop of dryer cleaning and maintenance.
Just How Common Are Dryer Fires?
The National Fire Protection Association reports that about 13,820 house fires per year had dryers involved in their ignition. This resulted in 7 deaths, 344 injuries, and $233 million in property damage each year. 32% of these fires were caused by a failure to clean (27% by lint that ignited), 27% by mechanical issues, and 16% by electrical issues.
Cooking, candles, electrical systems, Christmas trees, smoking, and faulty appliances are all top causes of house fires. By staying on top of your dryer cleaning and maintenance, you can take preventative measures to avoid a dryer fire.
How Do Dryer Fires Start?
As mentioned above, dryer fires start by lint-buildup, mechanical issues, electrical issues, and more. Some of the most common causes of dryer fires include:
You should clean your lint trap either before or after every load. When lint is allowed to build up, this results in restricted airflow. Not only does this affect how your dryer dries, but it also affects air circulation, which affects how the dryer can measure the temperature. As such, the heat can continually rise, which can lead to a fire igniting.
Plastic, flexible, and accordion-style ducts used to be acceptable, but no more. This is because of the role they play in starting fires. Lint can easily build up in any low points. Plastic can heat too hot. The best type of dryer duct is a rigid, metal one. If your house currently has plastic or accordion-style ducts, you’ll want to have them replaced.
Dirty Dryer Ducts
Just like you need to clean out your lint trap and your dryer, your dryer vents need cleaning too. This can be a complicated job. Fortunately, it’s not one that you need to worry about. You can hire a professional cleaning company to come out and take care of your annual dryer vent cleaning. This removes any blockages in the system, as well as any lint build-up there may be, so that your dryer functions optimally, and there’s lessened risk of dryer fires.
This applies to anything outside of the guidelines, from overloading your dryer to drying the wrong types of materials to throwing something that had something flammable spilled on it into the dryer. Ensure that you adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines and check the tags on all your clothes and towels and the like to see whether or not you can put them in the dryer.
If you spilled something flammable on your clothes, you don’t want to put it in the dryer. This is incredibly dangerous and can cause dryer fires. Rather, you’ll want to dry them the old-fashioned way, by hanging them up outside.
Mechanical And Electrical Failures
Regular dryer maintenance can catch any issues like this. Such failures can be caused by damage to the dryer, faulty wiring, and more. It’s important to ensure that you have your dryer maintained on a regular basis. This way, if it needs any repairs, they can be seen to in a timely manner. This both keeps your dryer functioning optimally and helps to prevent dryer fires.
How Can You Prevent Dryer Fires?
Fortunately, dryer fires can be prevented with some basic maintenance and proper installation. Some of the things that you can do in order to prevent dryer fires include:
- Cleaning your lint trap before or after every load
- Adhering to the manufacturer’s guidelines
- Adhering to your clothes’ washing/drying guidelines
- Replacing any plastic or accordion-style ducts
- Handling any chemical stains with care
- Cleaning your dryer vent annually
- Having your dryer maintained regularly
- Repairing and replacing your dryer as needing
- Ensuring that your dryer is properly installed