Seven Tips for Avoiding Fire Damage Caused by a Dryer Fire
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Carrollton helps homeowners in Carrollton, Bent Tree, and Dallas, TX, recover from fire damage, including fires caused by the clothes dryer.
A dryer fire can cause significant fire damage in Carrollton, TX, homes. SERVPRO of Carrollton is sharing seven tips to help homeowners proactively prevent a fire from breaking out in the laundry room.
- Know the facts about dryer fires.
An informed knowledge about dryer fire risks can help homeowners think soberly and act promptly to prevent a dryer fire in their homes. When homeowners are aware of fire risks associated with improper dryer usage and maintenance, they will be motivated to take dryer safety seriously and take the necessary precautions.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports, “In 2014-2018, local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 13,820 home structure fires per year in which dryers were involved in the ignition. These fires caused an average of seven civilian deaths, 344 civilian injuries, and $233 million in direct property damage annually.”
NFPA research also reveals that “One-third (32 percent) of dryer fires were caused by a failure to clean. This appears to be mainly lint build-up, as 27 percent of dryer fires started when dust, fiber, or lint ignited. Mechanical failures or malfunctions caused 27% of dryer fires; 16% were caused by electrical failures or malfunctions.”
- Clean the lint out of the dryer’s lint filter after every load.
Because over one-fourth of dryer fires are caused by the accumulation of lint and similar substances, homeowners should clean the lint filter regularly. The best practice is to clean the lint filter after each load of clothes dried.
- Perform an annual cleaning and inspection of the dryer and dryer duct.
Homeowners want to make sure that their dryer is in good working order and does not have any blockages in the duct or vent. By cleaning and inspecting the dryer at least once a year, the homeowner can identify and resolve any problems before they lead to a damaged appliance or a fire.
Before beginning the cleaning and inspection process, disconnect the dryer from its power source, and if a gas dryer is in use, be sure to cut off the gas valve that supplies the dryer. Use care when moving the dryer to examine its vent. In the case of a gas clothes dryer, do not damage the gas line or stretch it too tightly.
Consumer Reports provides the following dryer cleaning tips: “Disconnect the duct from the dryer, and vacuum both the dryer and the duct—as much as you can access. Where possible, separate the duct into shorter sections for better access, then reassemble and attach the duct to the dryer. Be sure all joints in the duct are properly connected and held together with clamps or foil tape. Then return the dryer to its original spot and reconnect the power. While you’re at it, clean behind the dryer and underneath it—lint builds up there, too. In winter, check after windy weather or snowstorms to be sure that snow isn’t blocking the outdoor vent.”
- Replace plastic or foil accordion ducts with rigid metal ducts.
Accordion ducts are problematic because they are too flexible or can easily crumple, leading to problems such as restricted airflow and lint buildup. A rigid metal duct is a safer choice.
- Avoid using sheet metal screws to connect duct sections.
Sheet metal screws can collect lint, which leads to lint buildup within the duct. Instead, attach duct sections with duct connectors and metal clamps or dryer vent foil tape.
- Use caution when cleaning chemical stains.
Clothing that has been stained by flammable substances such as oil, gas, or cleaning chemicals should be regarded as a potential fire hazard. Consumer Reports writes, “The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends washing such stained clothing more than once to minimize volatile chemicals, then hanging to dry. If you must use a dryer, use the lowest heat setting and a drying cycle that concludes with a cool-down period. In the event that a fire does start, keep the dryer door closed to limit its oxygen supply—a fire needs oxygen to keep it going.”
- Prequalify a reputable damage restoration company before a dryer fire occurs.
Taking the time to prequalify a capable and trustworthy fire damage restoration company can remove a great deal of stress if a fire damage disaster involving the dryer occurs. Highly experienced and qualified technicians, such as the team at SERVPRO of Carrollton, can implement a rapid response in order to provide the fire and smoke damage restoration services that are so urgently needed in the aftermath of a dryer fire.