Laundry is part of our everyday routine; however, these appliances are involved in an estimated 17,700 dwelling fires each year. Lint build-up in the vent or trap can get too hot and catch on fire.
- Dryers and washing machines were involved in one out of every 23 (4%) home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2003-2006.
- Clothes dryers accounted for 92% of fires, washing machines (4%), and washer/dryer combinations accounted for 3%.
- Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
- Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
- Clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.
- Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
- Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating. Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.
- Keep dryers in good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
- Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
- Follow the manufacturer's operating instructions and don't overload your dryer.
- Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.