There’s a hidden fire hazard in almost every home. Removing lint from the dryer is only partially preventing a fire. The lint filter is only catching a small percentage of lint, the rest passes through directly into the dryer vent hose. Over time, lint can build up in the hose and catch fire.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration:
- 2,900 fires caused by dryers are reported every year
- Each year they cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in property loss
- 34% of dryer fires are caused by filing to clean them
Signs your dryer vent is clogged or improperly installed:
- If you notice it takes longer than usual to dry clothes (this is actually costing you more money per load)
- The outside of the dryer is hot to the touch
- You smell something burning when the dryer is running
Tips for preventing dryer fires:
- It’s recommended that you have your dryer vent hose cleaned at least once a year.
- There are ways to clean the vent yourself, but it’s always recommended you have a professional take care of the cleaning every six months. (this runs around $100-$150)
- Never leave home or go to sleep while your dryer is on.
- Make sure the covering to the dryer vent outside opens when the dryer is on.
- Inspect the vent hose behind the dryer, make sure it’s not damaged or crushed.
- Buy dryers that use moisture sensors rather than ordinary thermostats to end the auto-dry cycle. Thermostats can allow the dryer to run longer than necessary.
Should you ever experience a fire in your home, make sure you are covered. It’s important to review your policy every year with your agent so you have a full understanding of what you’re covered for. Depending on your home owner’s policy, you want to check whether you have Actual Cash Value or Replacement Cost.