If you didn’t know already, the leading cause of house fires in the U.S. is due to cooking equipment, an activity that many of us do nearly everyday. In fact, EyeTemp previously put together a list of how such fires can be avoided in your own home. Another main cause of house fires, however, is due to another task that many of us do quite often, and that is running the clothes dryer.
According to the NFPA, nearly 16,000 house fires from either clothes dryers or washing machines occur every year. This results in, on average, 13 deaths and 440 injuries. There are a few different reasons of why these dryer fires occur, the main ones represented by percentages in the chart below:
What is the Main Cause?
As you could see, there are many different reasons for why dryer fires could occur. Don’t let these statistics keep you from doing your laundry, however, because luckily there are many ways to prevent a dryer fire from striking in your own home. Based on the reported fires that have occurred, approximately 27% resulted from lint, setting this as the leading factor. Fortunately for us, this is the easiest cause of a dryer fire to prevent! Each time you run a load of laundry, the lint tray collects any built-up lint, dust, or fiber from your clothing items. A build up of these materials can block the airflow to and from the dryer therefore causing excessive heat to be trapped and creating potential fuel for a fire. Because of this, it is important to clean out this tray after every use. Just think, a task that takes no more 30 seconds can decrease your chances of a dryer fire by nearly 30%!
In addition to cleaning out the lint tray, checking and cleaning the dryer exhaust vent is just as important. By making sure that this vent is not restricted and the outdoor flap opens properly will greatly increase your dryer safety as well. Although you don’t have to do this after every use, it is important to do this at least a couple of times a year.
Extra Steps to Take
Now that you know one of the major ways to prevent a dryer fire, to decrease the odds even further, you can follow the steps below:
- If your clothes are not fully drying or if it they are taking an unusual amount of time to dry, this is a good indication that something is wrong with your dryer and you should get it looked at as soon as possible.
- Never leave a dryer running when you are not home.
- Keep the area surrounding your dryer free of clutter, clothing, and cleaning supplies.
- If you are putting a new dryer into your home, hire a professional to make sure the electrical work is completed properly.
- If any items have been soaked with chemicals such as oils, cleaning products, or gasoline, wash them a couple of times and either hang dry them, or if needed, use the dryer on the lowest setting.
How Can EyeTemp Help?
Not all fires can be prevented, and in the case that your dryer does overheat whether it is due to lint build-up, electrical issues, or a faulty appliance, EyeTemp is designed to alert you of a dangerous spike in temperature before a fire actually occurs. This gives you the chance to turn off the appliance before it is too late and repair/replace it if needed.
Dryer fires occur more often than you may think, so by following these simple tips, you can easily protect your home, increase your fire safety, and prevent tragedy!