Clothes dryers have become an essential part of the family home, but what a lot of homeowners don’t know is that they also are one of the leading causes of house fires. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that there are approximately 15,000 fires sparked each year by dryers; that can add up to millions in property damages.
One of the most common causes of dryer fires is lack of proper maintenance. Lint and debris can build up inside the vents and lead to the appliance overheating. It’s recommended to have a professional cleaning once a year, but there are everyday steps you can take to avoid a major problem. Cleaning out your lint screen before and after each load of laundry is the easiest way to prevent a fire but there are signs that you need to watch for that could indicate a more thorough cleaning is needed.
Signs that it’s time to clean your vents:
- Clothing does not dry completely after a normal drying cycle.
- Drying time for clothing takes longer than 35 to 40 minutes in duration.
- A musty odor is noticed in the clothing following the drying cycle.
- Clothing seems unusually hot to the touch after a complete drying cycle.
- The dryer vent hood flap does not properly open as it is designed to do during the operation of the dryer.
- Debris is noticed within the outside dryer vent opening.
- Excessive heat is noticed within the room in which the dryer is being operated.
- Large amounts of lint accumulate in the lint trap for the dryer during operation.
- A visible sign of lint and debris is noticed around the lint filter for the dryer.
- Excessive odor is noticed from dryer sheets that are used during the drying cycle.
For more information on preventing dryer fires check out these links: