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Is Your Dryer a Fire Hazard? Check for These Warning Signs

Not a lot of people are aware of the dangers of clothes dryers when they aren’t properly maintained. In fact, clothes dryers are one of the leading causes of house fires. Each year, there are an estimated 2,900 fires related to dryers in the United States alone. These resulted in an estimated five deaths, 100 injuries, and millions of dollars in property damage.

Read on to know more about how your dryer could result in expensive damage.

How Do Clothes Dryer Cause Fire?

There are a few ways that clothes dryers can cause fires, such as:

Lint Buildup

The most common is when lint builds up in the dryer vent. Lint comes from the fibers, hair, and fabric of your clothes as they tumble around in the dryer. As the lint builds up, it becomes a fire hazard. It can act as kindling, igniting a fire that could quickly spread to the rest of your home.

Faulty Wiring

Another cause of fires is faulty wiring. Over time, the wires inside your dryer can become frayed or damaged. This can create sparks that could easily ignite any lint that’s present.

Overheating

If your dryer isn’t properly vented, it can overheat. This is especially true if you often use the “high heat” setting on your dryer. When clothes get too hot, they can self-ignite and cause a fire. Also, when there’s too much lint, it can block the airflow in the vent. This results in the dryer overheating and eventually catching fire, sometimes requiring you to hire a smoke and fire remediation company.

Remember that smoke damage can affect your entire home, not just the room with the fire. Your furniture, carpeting, and walls can all be permeated with the odor of smoke.

Igniting Flammables

Another way that clothes dryers cause fires is by igniting flammable items that are left in their pockets. This could be anything from a matchbook to a lighter. It’s important to always check pockets before putting clothes in the dryer.

Warning Signs That Your Dryer May Be a Fire Hazard

There are a few warning signs that your dryer may be a fire hazard, such as:

  • Your clothes are taking longer to dry than usualĀ 
  • The outside of the dryer feels hot
  • There’s a burning smell coming from the dryer
  • There’s visible lint buildup inside the dryer
  • There’s lint buildup outside the dryer
  • The exhaust vent is bent or crushed

How to Prevent Your Dryer From Causing a Fire

Fortunately, you can do a few things to prevent your dryer from causing a fire. These include:

  • Clean the lint trap after each use
  • Clean the exhaust vent regularly
  • Don’t overload the dryer
  • Don’t use the dryer without a lint screen
  • Don’t use flammable items in your pockets
  • Don’t leave the house with the dryer running

What to Do if a Fire Occurs

Here are tips to consider when a fire occurs due to a clothes dryer:

  • The first you should do is call 911.
  • Try to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher.
  • If the fire is too big or you can’t reach it, evacuate the house and wait for the fire department.
  • Don’t try to reenter the house until the fire department says it’s safe to do so.
  • Once they give you the all-clear, open windows, and doors to air out the smoke. You may also need to call a smoke damage restoration company to clean up any damage that’s been done.

Final Thoughts

A clothes dryer is an everyday household appliance that many people use, but few think about the dangers it poses. A few simple precautions can help prevent a clothes dryer fire from happening in your home. If a fire occurs, the first you should do is call 911 and use a fire extinguisher to extinguish the fire. If it’s too big, get out of the house and leave it to the professionals.

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