Dryer vent fires are a common cause of house fires in the United States. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were an average of 15,970 home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines each year between 2010 and 2014. Of these fires, 92% were caused by clothes dryers.
The most common cause of dryer vent fires is lint buildup. Lint is a flammable material that can build up inside the dryer vent and ignite if it comes into contact with a heat source. Other causes of dryer vent fires include:
Blocked vents: A blocked vent can restrict airflow and cause the dryer to overheat.
Faulty dryers: Dryers that are not properly maintained can also overheat and cause fires.
Improper installation: Dryers that are not installed properly can also overheat and cause fires.
Dryer vent fires can be deadly. In 2014, dryer fires resulted in an average of 13 civilian deaths and 444 civilian injuries. They also caused an average of $238 million in direct property damage.
There are a number of things that you can do to prevent dryer vent fires, including:
Clean your dryer vent regularly. The NFPA recommends cleaning your dryer vent at least once a year.
Inspect your dryer vent for damage. If your dryer vent is damaged, repair it or replace it immediately.
Make sure your dryer is properly installed. If you are not sure how to install your dryer, have a qualified technician do it for you.
Never overload your dryer. Overloading your dryer can cause it to overheat.
Use the correct setting for your load. Using the correct setting for your load will help to prevent the dryer from overheating.
Be sure to empty the lint trap after each use. A full lint trap can restrict airflow and cause the dryer to overheat.
Similarly, don't use the dryer for items that are not meant to be dried, such as foam or rubber materials. And never leave the dryer running unattended or overnight, as this increases the risk of a fire.
By taking these preventative measures, homeowners can help reduce the risk of dryer vent fires and keep their homes and families safe. If you have any concerns or questions about the safety of your dryer vent system, it's always a good idea to consult with us.