What: As your clothes dryer tumbles and heats the laundry to dry it, the machine is sending its heat, moisture, and lint outside via a dryer vent(s). Dryer vents with long runs from the machine to the exterior can have many bends and curves, and the pressurized air may not be enough to move any debris (lint) from the line. Fires can occur when lint builds up in the dryer or in the exhaust duct, in addition to other dangers such as blocked airflow, excessive heat build-up, and even a fire in the dryer itself.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that clothes dryers are associated with approximately 15,600 fires yearly. These fires result in annual losses estimated at approximately 13 deaths, 440 injuries, and over $238 million in property damages.
Why Dryer Vent Fires Happen:
- Clothes dryers accounted for 92% of the fires; washing machines 4%, and washer and dryer combinations accounted for 5%
- The leading factor contributing to the ignition of home fires involving clothes dryers was the failure to clean, accounting for one-third (33%) of dryer fires
- Fires involving clothes dryers usually started with the ignition of something that was being dried or was a byproduct (such as lint) of drying
How to Protect Your Home & Family:
Doing laundry is most likely part of your everyday routine. But did you know how important it is that you also take care of your clothes dryer? With a few simple safety tips, you can help prevent a clothes dryer fire.
- Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional
- Do not use the dryer without a lint filter and make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry, removing lint that has collected around the drum.
- Make sure the exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating (once a year, or if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clear lint out of the vent pipe).
- Keep dryers in good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a qualified professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
- Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and don’t overload your dryer.
- Dryers should be properly grounded.
- Keep the area around your dryer clear of things that can burn, like boxes, cleaning supplies and clothing, etc.
- Clothes that have come in contact with flammable substances, like gasoline, paint thinner, or similar solvents should be laid outside to dry, then can be washed and dried as usual.
- AND, don't forget to check the outdoor vent flap to make sure it is not covered by snow
The leading cause of dryer vent fires is simply the failure to clean them. NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION recommends having your vents cleaned at least once a year, so call DeMark’s today to schedule an appointment or for an estimate. We offer dryer vent services, either a cleaning (Deluxe) or cleaning and replacement (Premium), for both gas and electric machines.