insurance tip - clothes dryer fires

Every year, there are nearly 14,000 residential fire losses in which the source of the fire was a clothes dryer or vent, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Dryers are the third most common type of equipment involved in fires, ranking behind stoves and fixed area heaters—such fires peak in the winter months.

Clothes dryers can catch fire due to excessive lint build-up in the exhaust pipe or inside the dryer, a build-up often out of sight. Taking the steps outlined below can reduce the chance of the dryer starting a fire.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing the vent pipe.
  • Do not overload the clothes dryer.
  • Do not dry anything containing foam, rubber, or plastic (e.g., bathroom rug with a rubber backing).
  • Remove and clean the lint screen before each use. Replace the screen if it is loose or damaged.
  • Keep all combustibles away from the clothes dryer.
  • Keep the dryer vent clean and free of obstruction. Check for a clogged vent if the dryer does not dry clothes efficiently. Replace an older foil accordion-style duct with a rigid metal one.
  • Do not run the dryer while away from home or while asleep.
  • Hire a qualified technician to periodically inspect your gas clothes dryer.

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