Laundry is part of life’s weekly grind. Did you know that dryers cause roughly 15,500 home structure fires, 29 deaths, 400 injuries and $192 million in direct property loss each year though? What’s more, most dryer fires happen in the winter. This may come as a shock, which is why learning how to prevent a dryer fire is so important.

Tips for How to Prevent a Dryer Fire

Dryers don’t catch fire without giving warning signs first that there’s a problem. We’ll show you what to look for, and how to perform some basic maintenance that will help limit the potential danger.

What Causes Dryer Fires?

The most common cause of dryer fires is a failure to clean out clogged dryer vents. Over time, lint, dirt, and other debris build up inside your exhaust vents, lint screen, and even within the dryer cabinet itself.

If left unchecked, this buildup of debris will begin to reduce dryer efficiency, resulting in longer cycles times and shortened dryer lifespan. When too much lint gets trapped inside and the heat rises due to poor airflow, the material can ignite and catch fire.

how to prevent a dryer fire

Dryer Cleaning Tips to Prevent Fires

A deep comprehensive dryer cleaning should be performed at least once per year. Because a lint trap is not a foolproof method for catching all the fuzzy stuff from clothes, lint can gradually build up all throughout the ventilation system, and even within the machine itself.

Further compounding the problem is the fact that many people sometimes install dryers in areas that result in dryer vent pipes being much longer than recommended by the manufacturer. Those longer vent pipes have a greater likelihood of being twisted and turned to accommodate the structure of the home and that creates spaces for lint to collect.

Not all dryer fires result from lint buildup issues either. Combustible items can also cause serious problems in a dryer, so follow these tips to keep your home safe.

Tips to Prevent Dryer Fires:

  1. Clean out the lint filter after every use.
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.
  3. Remove any flammables, like cleaning supplies, away from your dryer.
  4. Read the care labels on the products you intend to dry to make sure they do not contain combustibles. (Use caution with items like bath mats).
  5. Use a metal dryer duct. Metal ducts don’t sag, and they’re more likely to contain any fires that would start.
  6. Wash clothing stained with chemicals more than once—and definitely opt to line dry over machine dry.
  7. Clothes that are extra hot to the touch after a normal dry cycle are a telltale sign that something’s wrong. Call for service.
  8. Never leave your home while your dryer is on.
  9. Make sure that the outdoor vent flap isn’t covered by debris.

Now that you know how to prevent a dryer fire, be sure to follow these steps regularly. This not only helps to improve safety, but also increases dryer performance and life expectancy. If you want the most thorough cleaning of your vent system though, call the dryer vent cleaning experts at Solar Appliance Service right away.