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Prevent House Fires: Clean Out Your Dryer Vents

Lint filled dryer vent.

When it comes to protecting your home and family, what scenario worries you most? Many of us invest in home security systems, updated door and window locks, firearms, and even big dogs to prevent and protect against a home invasion. What most neglect to focus on are fire hazards. Whether it’s having your home’s wiring inspected and updated or simply replacing the batteries in your smoke alarm, being mindful of the threat of a fire is just as important for home safety and security. One of the leading causes of house fires is found in a seemingly harmless appliance… our clothes dryer!

We’re here to share the importance of protecting your home and family against accidental house fires caused by improper dryer vent cleanout.

According to The Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 15,500 fires are caused by clothing dryers annually. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that a failure to clean the dryer vent is the leading cause of these fires. When a dryer vent is clogged, the appliance overheats and becomes a fire hazard.

How can you determine whether your dryer is functioning properly? How do you know if you’re at risk? We’ve compiled a list of warning signs:

  • The first sign is that your clothes suddenly do not fully dry during a normal cycle
  • An odd smell (musty and/or burning) comes from your clothing and/or dryer after a normal cycle
  • Your clothes are hotter than usual after a normal cycle
  • The laundry room itself seems unusually hot during a normal cycle
  • An unusual amount of lint remains inside the dryer/on your clothing after a normal cycle
  • You find your lint trapper overwhelmed with lint after a single drying cycle
  • Your exterior vent does not seem to be expelling air
  • Your exterior vent has visible debris/lint accumulating around it

What can you do year-round to prevent a clogged and dangerous dryer vent?

  • Clean the lint filter before and/or after each load of laundry
  • Only run your dryer if someone is home. Left unattended, dryer fires will remain unnoticed until it spreads throughout the home – and then it’s too late
  • Be mindful of residual flammable liquids on clothing: did you wash a shirt that had cooking oil, gasoline, or flammable paint on it? Putting a potentially flammable item into a dryer that’s overheating is dangerous
  • And of course… inspect and clean your dryer vent regularly! We cannot stress the importance of regular maintenance. It’s a fairly simple task if your vent is easily accessible

If you’re unsure of how to locate and assess the condition of your dryer vent, enlist the help of a professional. Most businesses that offer a home cleaning service should be able to assist. Ask your local professional what they can do to help. Don’t delay, it may just save your home… or your life!

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