While many household fire hazards are well-known, could you be missing one that’s less so? The clothes dryer in your laundry room could contain the makings of a damaging and even fatal house fire. In fact, these fires happen over 3,000 times a year in this country. Lint accumulation in a dryer and the dryer vent duct can ignite with catastrophic results. These tiny fibers from fabrics placed in the dryer are highly flammable and burn extremely hot once ignited by an overheated dryer.
Dryers can overheat from two principle causes: a clogged lint filter or an obstructed dryer vent.
When the lint filter isn’t regularly cleaned, proper dryer ventilation is reduced and the dryer may overheat. Lint residue accumulating on surfaces inside the dryer ignites and catches drying clothes and other fabrics on fire also.
When airflow through the dryer vent duct is insufficient, layers of lint may accumulate inside the duct, further blocking ventilation. Fire that originates in the under-ventilated, over-heated dryer will rapidly expand into lint accumulating in the vent duct and then spread into the house.
To reduce the fire hazard from a clothes dryer, take these steps:
Always clean the lint filter before each load goes into the dryer.
Check your dryer vent duct. To reduce the accumulation of lint inside, the vent duct should be as short as possible and should be routed with as few bends and joints as possible. Most dryers include specifications for the maximum safe length of the vent. The dryer vent should be metal or aluminum — plastic flex-vent will melt if fire erupts and easily spread flames to the structure of the house.
Have the dryer and vent duct inspected annually, including verifying that the dryer high-temperature cut-off switch is functional to reduce fire hazard. Professional duct cleaning services can blow out or vacuum the entire duct without dismantling it to ensure that all lint build-up is removed.
Ask the professionals at Air Assurance for more information about reducing the fire hazard from your clothes dryer.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about fire hazards and other HVAC topics, call us at 918-217-8273. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “HypnoArt/Pixabay”