Having a washer and dryer in your home is definitely a modern convenience.
It’s certainly better than beating laundry on a rock down by the river, isn’t it? While doing laundry at home can be a blessing, did you know that it carries potential dangers too? Here is the thing: in the recent year, there were an estimated 16,800 reported U.S. home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines. Sadly, there were 51 civilian deaths and 380 civilian injuries. The insurance companies sent out claims checks for almost $236 million for repairing direct property damage as a result of clothes dryer fires.
Why do clothes dryers sometimes cause fires?
First of all, we’ll be focusing on clothes dryers since 92% of all laundry room fires are caused by dryers, while 8% are caused by washing machines. Here are the common causes for starting a fire:
- Dust, fiber, or lint 29%
- Wire or cable insulation 26%
- Clothing 28%
- Appliance housing or casing 21%
- Unclassified soft goods or clothing 9%
- Drive belt 15%
You might be wondering: does it matter if I have an electric dryer or a gas dryer? Surprisingly, the risk of fire is equal between the two.
What can you do to prevent dryer home fires?
Believe it or not, It comes down to your habits. Did you know that the leading cause of home clothes dryer and washer fires was the failure to simply clean them? Failure to clean your clothes dryer leads to 32% of all dryer related fires!
How to clean your clothes dryer
- Clean the lint trap EVERY TIME you use the dryer. Lint traps get clogged with dust, fiber, and lint, which are great fire starters. The lint gets hot as the heat builds up and eventually ignites. That is why it is important to make it a ritual to check the lint trap before using it and to clean the lint trap after every use.
- Clean your dryer vent annually. Did you know that there is a metal flexible vent that goes from your dryer to outside of your home? This vent can also trap lint. We recommend having it cleaned annually.
Here are a few more maintenance tips to prevent dryer fires:
- Never put any plastics, foams, rubber, or any pieces of cloth that may have been used to clean any potentially flammable of combustible liquids in the dryer. Remember dryers can ignite these easily.
- Since dryer exhaust is very hot, never use white vinyl hoses. Insist on metal hoses to vent your dryer.
- Only run a dryer when someone is at home.
- If the dryer is gas-powered, have it routinely inspected by a professional to ensure that both the gas line and connection are safe. Gas leaks can be explosive.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on hand!
- In the case of a fire, disconnect the power to the dryer immediately. Do you know which circuit breaker it is? If not, hire an electrician to upgrade your electrical system and label your circuit breaker panels for you.
We hope these dryer fire safety tips will be helpful to you so that you can have years of dry clothes without any fire incidents! If you have any questions about your fire dwelling insurance coverage, then please contact us at InsuranceHub right now.