I must admit, I am not great about cleaning out the lint trap in my clothes dryer. Luckily, I have my 4 year old son, Alex, who loves to clean the lint trap every time I am doing laundry. But, I recently read a report that is making me think twice about ignoring the maintenance on my dryer. An estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. Fire Departments each year. And, these fires cause an estimated $35 million in property losses, which can be covered under your Home Insurance policy (Illinois Home Insurance).
In addition, according to the report,
- Clothes dryer fire incidence in residential buildings was higher in Fall and Winter months, peaking in January at 11%.
- Failure to clean was the leading factor contributing to the ignition of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings (34%).
- Lint, which is a highly combustible material, can accumulate both in the dryer and in the dryer vent. Accumulated lint leads to reduced airflow and poses a fire hazard. Reduced airflow can also occur when foam-backed rugs or shoes are placed in dryers.
- Small birds or other animals nesting in dryer exhaust vents are another hazard. A compromised vent will not exhaust properly, possibly resulting in overheating and/or fire.
So, this leads to the question --- What can be done to prevent a dryer fire? An important safeguard your family can take is to ensure that your dryer has rigid or flexible metal venting and ducting materials to help sustain airflow. This will also reduce operating costs and extend the life of the dryer and clothing due to lower drying temperatures. Additionally:
- Clean the lint trap before and after drying each load of clothes.
- Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can be trapped.
- The interior of the dryer and venting system should be cleaned periodically by qualified service personnel. If you notice the drying time is longer, clean the vent system thoroughly to ensure proper airflow.
- Replace plastic or vinyl exhaust hoses with rigid or flexible metal venting.
- Do not dry clothing or fabric on which there is anything flammable (alcohol, cooking oils, gasoline, spot removers, dry-cleaning solvents, etc.). Flammable substances give off vapors that could ignite or explode.
- Don’t forget to read manufacturers’ warnings in use and care manuals that accompany new dryers.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact any of us here at Langlois Insurance Agency!