Preventing Dryer Fires


Our homes are filled with amazing marvels of technology that make our everyday lives easier. However, with great tech comes great responsibility — keep reading to learn what you can do to keep your home and family safe from dryer fires.

How common are dryer fires?

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “Between 2010-2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 15,970 home fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines each year. These fires resulted in annual losses estimated at 13 deaths, 440 injuries, and $238 million in property damage”.

Clothes dryers accounted for a whopping 92% of fires, while washing machines only accounted for 4%.

What causes dryer fires?

According to the NFPA, the leading factor that contributed to dryer fires being ignited was the consumer’s failure to clean the dryer. Meanwhile, the leading factors in washing machine fires were electrical or mechanical malfunctions. If you ever have a dryer fire on your hands, do not open the dryer door because doing so would give it additional oxygen. Remember, fire needs oxygen to keep going, and you don’t want that!

4 Fire Prevention Tips

As electrical contractors, we know how dangerous electrical appliances can be and how easily they can pose fire hazards. Dryers use electricity, power cords, and wall outlets, which creates a lot of hazards to contend with. Keep these tips in mind to reduce the risk of a house fire:

  • Clean the lint filter screen after every load. This helps to keep your system from overheating and catching fire, and it also helps to dry your clothes more easily.
  • Replace plastic or foil accordion-style ducts. These outdated components can sag and trap the lint in the ridges, leading to a fire hazard.
  • Check the vent semi-annually. This is especially important if your dryer starts taking longer to dry loads, as this could be a sign there’s a blockage. Next time you’re drying a load, go outside of the house and look at the vent. If you can’t see or feel exhaust air, this means the exhaust duct or vent could be blocked with lint and needs to be cleaned.
  • Be cautious washing clothing with flammable substances. Clothing that has come into contact with gas, cleaning agents, or another flammable substance could be a fire hazard. Wash these items more than once to reduce the volatile chemicals, then hang dry. You should try to avoid using the dryer; however, if you need to, set it to the lowest heat setting possible, and make sure to end the cycle with a cool-down period.

Contact Lightning Bug Electric today for all of your residential and commercial electrical work: (404) 471-3847

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