Preventing Dryer Fires in Your Home

Fire on the roof of a homeThere are many possible causes of a house fire, from leaving a candle burning unattended to forgetting the oven is on when you leave the house. One of the most overlooked causes though is your clothes dryer. Dryers cause thousands of home fires each year, and in increasing numbers during the winter months. They take lives and cause hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage annually. Luckily there are multiple ways to help protect yourself and reduce the likelihood of a dryer fire.

What Can You Do to Prevent a Dryer Fire in Your Home?

The biggest cause of dryer fires is build-up of lint and dust. There are far more possible causes to watch out for, however. Here are three of the most common causes of dryer fires, along with a few ways to prevent them:

How Big of a Problem Are Dryer Fires?

According to a study done by the National Fire Protection Agency in 2017, dryer and washing machines accounted for nearly 16,000 annual fires from 2010-2014, 92% of that total being just the clothes dryers. These washer and dryer fires resulted in an annual average of $238 million in damages to property nationwide. The trouble these fires caused didn’t stop at the financials, though. They also cost an average of 13 lives and 444 nonfatal injuries annually.

Additional Measures You Could Take

Some more ways you can help protect yourself and your home from unnecessary costs resulting from a dryer fire include:

  • Replacing your accordion style air ducts is widely recommended, as they are prone to sagging and allowing dust to collect in the low points. They also have many ridges in which debris can collect. Experts recommend replacing them with a metal duct.
  • Keep flammable materials away from the dryer such as propane tanks, paint thinners, gasoline, and other common household materials.
  • Don’t machine dry clothes exposed to flammable chemicals. Hang dry them instead. If you do machine dry the clothes, you should wash it multiple times prior in order to reduce the amount of volatile chemicals left. Also, dry on the lowest heat setting and use a drying cycle that ends in a cool down phase.

Machine dryers are a huge cause of home fires in the winter months, but there are more causes to think about. No matter the cause of the fire, you want to be prepared for the aftermath. The best way to do so is to have a homeowners or renters insurance policy. For more info on these policies, as well as any other questions you may have, contact us at TJ Woods Insurance Agency Inc.