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Housekeeping tips to prevent dryer fires

March 2017

Could you live without your clothes dryer? For many people, the clothes dryer is indispensable, but an improperly installed appliance could easily catch on fire.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, fire departments respond to roughly 2,900 clothes dryer fires each year, with an estimated $35 million in property damage. The leading cause of these fires was the failure to properly clean the dryers (34 percent), followed by dust, fiber and lint (28 percent) and clothing (27 percent.)

Try these easy tips to keep your dryer in good shape:

  • Have your clothes dryer professionally installed
  • Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry
  • Clean lint out of the vent pipe every six months
  • Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid, non-ribbed metal duct
  • Inspect the venting system behind your dryer for restrictions, and make sure the outdoor vent flap opens when the dryer is operating
  • Keep the area around the dryer free of items that can burn
  • Don’t overload the dryer
  • Don’t dry items made of foam, rubber or plastic
  • Have a professional inspect gas dryers annually to assure that supply lines and connections are intact and free of leaks

A clothes dryer that is not working properly has an increased risk of catching fire. Signs your dryer might need service:

  • Clothes are taking longer than one cycle to dry
  • Clothes come out hotter than usual
  • There is no visible lint on the lint trap
  • Dryer repeatedly stops during a cycle
  • The top of the dryer is hot to the touch while running

More information is available from:


A special thanks to Dianne Roller and the Cincinnati Insurance Companies for contributing this post.

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