Clothes dryers are among the most common types of equipment involved in home fires, ranking third behind stoves and fixed area heaters.
The National Fire Protection Association reports there were some 14,300 clothes dryer fires in homes in 1998, the most recent year for which figures are available. The fires resulted in 16 deaths and 309 injuries.
Clothes dryers can be found in 80 percent or 81.5 million homes throughout the United States. Lack of maintenance is the number one cause of dryer fires. Some of these fires occur when lint builds up in the filter or in the exhaust duct. Under certain conditions, when lint blocks the flow of air, excessive heat build-up can cause a fire in some dryers. People aren’t cleaning lint traps as often as they should nor are they checking and cleaning vent systems on a periodic basis. You should clean the lint trap often, check and clean the vent system periodically.
Reduced airflow resulting from lint buildup in the screen or other areas around the dryer can cause the dryer to perform, poorly, operate at elevated temperatures and possibly overheat. Other problems can also occur if improper items are placed in dryers such as, foam backed rugs or athletic shoes.
Clothes Dryers Can Be
A Fire Hazard
If Not Maintained
· Clean the lint filter before or after each use and also wipe away any lint that accumulates around the drum.
· Make sure the dryer is plugged into an outlet suitable for its electrical needs.
· Do not run the dryer without a lint filter.
· Do not leave the dryer running if you go out, in case it malfunctions.
· Make sure that the air exhaust vent pipe is unobstructed and the outdoor vent flap opens readily.
· Keep combustibles, such as boxes and clothing, away from the dryer.
· Do not dry clothing/fabric that may have flammable substances on it such as, alcohol, cooking oils, gasoline, spot removers, etc. Flammable substances give off vapors that could ignite or explode.
· Read the manufacturers’ warnings in your manual on the use and care of your clothes dryers. Also, warning markings can usually be found on the inside of the dryer’s lid.
· If clothing is still damp at the end of a normal cycle or requires longer dryer time, this may be a sign that the exhaust or lint screen is blocked.
Make sure to get to your dryer vent professionally cleaned and inspected once a year!
I have included some pictures of an unmaintained dryer vent that we serviced 4/20/2012 this is such a fire hazard. Please remember to get these cleaned and inspected every year.