According to the National Fire Protection Association in 2006, an estimated 17,700 reported US non-confined and confined home (dwellings, duplexes, manufactured homes, apartments, townhouses, rowhouses, and condominiums) structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines (including combination washer/dryers) resulted in an estimated:
- 15 civilian deaths
- 360 civilian injuries
- $194 million in direct property damage
Some of these fires can occur when lint builds up in the filter or in the exhaust duct. Under certain conditions, when lint blocks the flow of air, excessive heat build-up can cause a fire in some dryers.
To prevent fires:
- Clean the lint filter regularly and make sure the dryer is operating properly. Clean the filter after each load of clothes. While the dryer is operating, check the outside exhaust to make sure exhaust air is escaping normally. If it is not, turn off the dryer and look inside both ends of the duct for lint. Remove any lint found there. If there are signs that the dryer is hotter than normal, this may be a sign that the dryer’s temperature control thermostat needs servicing.
- If clothing is still damp at the end of a normal cycle or requires longer dryer times, this may be a sign that the exhaust or lint screen is blocks.
- Plastic Flexible duct should be replaced with rigid or flexible metal ducts. Inspect all Ducts for kinks or crushing, which can greatly reduce the airflow.
- Closely follow manufacturers’ instructions for new installations. Most manufacturers specify to use a rigid or flexible metal duct to provide a minimum restriction of airflow. It metal duct is not available at the retailer where the dryer was purchased, check other locations, such as hardware or builder supply stores. If you are having the dryer installed, insist upon metal duct unless the installer has verified that the manufacturer permits the use of plastic duct.
For more information about this topic, or if you have any questions regarding your PA insurance needs, our agents at The Weimer Group would love to help you! Call us at 888.304.6678.