Preventing Clothes Dryer Fires

In the United States, there are around 15,500 house fires, 10 injuries, and 10 deaths per year caused by clothes dryer fires according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Additionally, due to improper dryer vent setup, many people are also subject to carbon monoxide poisoning. Generally, we like to think of our homes as a safe place, and we should! For the most part, homes are a healthy and safe place to be. However, in rare instances, some concerns may arise. In this blog, we’re going to talk a bit about clothes dryer fires, what causes them, and what you can do about it.

What Causes Them?

The most common cause of dryer fires is a lack of maintenance or forgetting to change the lint filter. Remove lint from the lint screen after each use instead ever couple times. Not only is lint highly combustible, but it can also prevent your clothes from drying as quickly as they should and cause them to stink. No matter what way you look at it, keeping your lint filter clean is best for everyone.

The other aspect to clothes dryer fires is the plastic foil accordion-style duct vent behind your dryer. Sometimes lint will get built up in these ducts and cause fires so it’s important to ensure they’re both clear of debris and that they aren’t sagging or out of place.

Dryer Fires On The Rise

In the past, clothes dryers were typically installed in the basement. Now, most clothes dryers are located in bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and closets. To accommodate for the shape of the home and the distance from the outer wall of the home, dryer vents tend to be longer and have more turns that allow lint to get trapped more easily. The solution is to have a shorter vent that allows lint to move through quickly without getting trapped. This will also help you to dry clothes more quickly.

What You Can Do About It

If you’re trying to clean something that has been stained with flammable chemicals like paint thinners, cooking oil, cleaning agents, or gasoline, you’ll need to take special care to ensure you aren’t creating any unnecessary fire hazards. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, if at all possible, avoid using the dryer to dry these fabrics. Instead, try hanging them outside to dry our washing them twice to ensure all of the flammable chemicals have been removed. If you do use a dryer, make sure that it’s on low heat and of course ensure the lint trap is cleaned beforehand. Be sure to check out part two of this blog series and we’ll take a look at more tips for preventing dryer fires.

Contact Safe Investment Home Inspections

One of the best ways to prevent house fires is to understand what problems your home is having long before it ever leads to something serious. At Safe Investment Home Inspections, we perform full home inspections covering everything from thermal imaging to radon measurement, air quality testing, mold inspections, and much more. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to give us a call today.

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