Doing the laundry is a part of the typical household routine. Advancements in technology have made it easier with the development of washing machines and dryers. While it is important to care for clothes properly, just as important is regular dryer checkup, as 2,900 dryer fires are reported annually, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
Poorly maintained dryers pose a fire risk. On average, dryer fires amount to 35 million dollars in property damage, 100 injuries and five fatalities every year. Aside from the loss of a laundry appliance, there is also the cost of repairs from hiring a professional fire damage restoration company to restore the affected area properly, such as ServiceMaster of the Upstate. It is vital, therefore, to understand what causes dryer fires and how they could be prevented. ServiceMaster of the Upstate has prepared some tips for dryer fire damage prevention. Read them below.
What Causes Dryer Fires?
Dryer fires could be a result of any of the following:
- Dirty lint filters. Lint collects in the dryer cavity, which is close to the heating elements. Uncleaned lint filters are a fire risk since lint is highly flammable and may ignite due to the heat.
- Improper usage. Manufacturer’s instructions often come with appliances. Dryer usage outside the recommended guidelines, such as overstuffing and placing items that shouldn’t be put in it, is a potential fire hazard.
- Machinery failure. Damaged components and faulty wiring may start a fire. Upon notice, these and other electrical or mechanical issues must be repaired or replaced, if necessary.
Is My Dryer Damaged?
- Drying clothes takes longer even if there is heat produced
- Clothes are hotter than usual after the drying cycle is completed
- Clothes are still damp even if the cycle is already finished
- Outdoor flapper on the vent hood remains closed when the dryer is running
Dryer Fire Prevention Tips: Dos and Don'ts
DO: Clean the lint filter.
- Most residential dryer fires are a result of poor dryer maintenance, such as failing to clean out a clogged lint filter. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 34% of reported dryer fires every year are caused by uncleaned lint traps.
- Clean lint filters before and after every cycle.
- Dryers rely on proper airflow, and obstructions such as lint inhibit this process. Clean lint traps do not only prevent fire risks but also allow the dryer to run efficiently and prevents it from overheating.
DON'T: Dry clothes without the lint filter.
- The filter protects the dryer’s inner workings from collecting lint. Without this defensive shield, a buildup of lint in the ducts can easily lead to a dryer vent fire.
- Make it a habit to check that the lint trap is in place before using the dryer. Damaged or worn out lint traps must be replaced immediately.
DO: Inspect the ducts and vents regularly.
- Obstructions in the ducts or vents can lead to a dryer fire. These could be due to the accumulation of lint, animals building nests in the vents, or snow building up over the outside vents. Check ducts for blockages and clean them regularly.
- Ducts may be clogged if laundry is taking longer to dry, exhaust air is failing to exit the vent, and the machine is overheating.
- Blockages may also occur if the venting system is damaged. Call a professional to repair the issue and also to inspect for other dryer problems.
DON'T: Overload the dryer.
- Busy schedules may prompt one to overload the dryer, forcing it to work overtime and potentially overheat. This can cause dryer malfunction or ignition from too much heat accumulated.
- Over-stuffing the dryer can also cause lint buildup, affecting the dryer’s ability to ventilate and make the dryer overheat. Read the manufacturer’s recommended load to avoid overstuffing.
DON'T: Leave the dryer running unattended.
- Only use the dryer if someone’s watching over it. If the dryer is left running unattended, property damage and losses may occur if fire breaks out.
You can also download a clothes dryer safety sheet from the National Fire Protection Association website.
Dryer Fire? Contact ServiceMaster of the Upstate, South Carolina's Leading Fire Damage Restoration Company
Accidents can still happen despite efforts to prevent them. If your home in South Carolina has been damaged by a clothes dryer fire, contact a trusted fire damage repair service company in South Carolina, like ServiceMaster of the Upstate.
At ServiceMaster of the Upstate, we provide smoke and fire damage restoration services around the clock. We are IICRC-certified, which means that the ServiceMaster of the Upstate restoration team has gone through extensive course work to become the best in the business. We are also an insurance-preferred vendor and have 11 years of experience in damage management.
Our skilled and experienced technicians are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year to respond to your fire emergency. Contact us at (864) 310-7891. We service Greenville, Spartanburg, Laurens, Newberry, and Saluda, South Carolina and surrounding areas.