Dryer fires are incredibly common, and while some are caused by electrical issues, many are preventable. In today’s blog, the insurance experts at Grange Insurance Association discuss how to prevent dryer fires with these fire prevention tips.
Air flow is imperative to a safe drying cycle. If you fail to clean out the lint screen after each use, this can cause a blockage that allows heat to build up. Once the heat builds, it can then cause the remaining lint to combust, which leads to a dryer fire.
Dryers are typically equipped with a back vent which is then connected to an exterior vent by a duct. Accordion-style ducts that are made of plastic or foil are common, especially in older homes. However, because of the flexible nature of the duct and its ribbed interior, it’s quite easy for the duct to accumulate lint, which can then catch on fire. Replacing any flexible duct with a smooth, rigid metal duct can go a long way. This is especially important for fire prevention if you have a plastic duct, as they no longer meet most building codes.
People often miss the signals that their dryer duct needs cleaning. If, for example, it’s taking longer for your clothes to dry than normal or you notice that your clothes and the outside of the dryer are too hot, that may be a sign that you need to clean the dryer duct. Regardless, you should be cleaning your dryer duct at least once a year. You can either do this carefully by yourself or hire a service to do it professionally.
The tags on your clothes, rugs, and other items aren’t just there to protect the fabric. In fact, some items, like bathmats and baby bibs may have rubber in them that can combust at high heat. Read the tag and follow the drying instructions to avoid causing a dryer fire.
Clothes with gas, cooking oil, cleaning agents, or other flammable chemical stains need to be handled incredibly carefully. Not only does that include repeat washing, but you may even want to hang the item to dry. At the very least, you should use the lowest heat setting and keep a close eye on the dryer.
Putting in a load of laundry and going for a walk or to drop a child off at practice can be tempting. However, if you’re not home, you won’t be able to turn off the dryer in the event that you start to smell smoke.
Now that you know how to prevent dryer fires, you’ll want to make sure your Homeowners insurance policy is up-to-date, including revisiting your home replacement cost. You can also check out our other summer fire safety tips that can help you protect your home from common fire starters.
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