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Haven't Cleaned Your Dryer Vent in a While? Here's Why You Are Putting Your Home at Risk for a Fire

Written by jsolloway on . Posted in , .

Dryers are one of those appliances in your home where you “set it and forget it.” You throw your freshly washed clothes into the dryer from the washing machine, set the timer and then forget about it until the timer goes off 50 or 60 minutes later. However, did you know that by “setting and forgetting” about the clothes in your dryer, you could be putting your home at risk for a fire? According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), there are over 16,000 reported home fires each year resulting from a clothes dryer, with dust, lint or fiber igniting first in just under 30% dryer fires. So, before you toss your laundry into the dryer without cleaning the vent first or leaving the house to run errands while the dryer is running, there are a few tips to keep in mind to help prevent an unexpected fire.

What Causes a Dryer Fire?

Most homes throughout New Hampshire (NH) have a clothes dryer, as this appliance provides a quick and easy way to dry clothes without too much prep work or hassle. However, like most appliances, clothes dryers require routine maintenance and inspection to ensure it is running efficiently and safely. What many people may not realize, is that over time clothes dryer vents can collect lint, clothes fibers, dust and other debris from clothing, which may result in a fire if the debris is not removed from the exhaust vent and lint screen. Other possible causes of a dryer fire are:

  • A crushed exhaust vent resulting in a build-up of debris and poor ventilation.
  • Not performing routine maintenance to ensure all parts of the dryer are in working and suitable condition.
  • Using plastic, foil or aluminum foil venting materials.
  • Clothes that are soiled with flammable or combustible materials.
  • Placing flammable or unsuitable materials into the dryer that can overheat such as shoes or a rubber mat.

Reducing the Occurrence of Dryer Fires

Dryers are a beneficial appliance to have in any NH home, but they require routine maintenance to ensure each part is functioning correctly and doesn’t pose a safety risk to the home. While properly maintaining another appliance in your home may seem like a tedious task, it may actually save you time and money down the road, if the threat of a dryer fire arises. A few routine upkeep tips to keep in mind are:

  • Clean the lint filter before and after each drying cycle (lint, clothing fibers and even pet hair can clog up the filter and pose a safety risk).
  • Clean behind the dryer, which is a common place for lint, pet hair and dirt.
  • Replace the foil or plastic exhaust coil if it becomes crushed, broken or damaged.
  • Clean the dryer vent and exhaust hose periodically to ensure there is no debris build-up.

Visit the NFPA website to learn more about what causes a dryer fire and how to reduce your home’s risk of experiencing one.

Soil-Away-The Fire Damage Restoration Company

Soil-Away’s fire, soot and smoke damage experts understand how difficult and overwhelming fires are to NH home and businesses. We are here to make this time less-stressful for you by proving prompt, trustworthy and professional fire damage cleanup services. Soil-Away is a family-owned and operated business that is IICRC master-certified and has over 25 years of restoration and cleanup experience. We work closely with insurance companies during the remediation process to ensure a smooth and easy process, so you can get back to the things that matter most. Contact the fire damage experts today at 603-641-6555.
Written by: K. Gnatowski

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