Most homes have clothes dryers. Many people do not realize that clothes dryers are a major cause of fires each year. There is a clothes dryer fire every 35 minutes in the United States. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that there are over 17,000 dryer fires causing over $75 million in damages in the United States each year.
A large number of these fires occur when lint builds up in the filter or in the exhaust duct. This excessive accumulation of lint can block the flow of air and the resulting heat build-up can cause a fire. Many multifamily HOAs have programs on cleaning dryer vent line at the HOA’s expense.
– The dryer filter should be cleaned after each load.
– While the clothes dryer is in use check the exhaust ducts outside vent to see if air is passing out as needed.
– If clothes are taking longer than normal to dry this can be a sign of the exhaust duct being blocked.
– If the clothes dryer seems hotter than normal, this can be an indication that the dryer’s temperature control thermostat is malfunctioning.
– If a flexible plastic exhaust duct is being used, it must be checked more frequently. The flexible ridges are more prone to trapping lint.
– Rigid or flexible metal exhaust ducts are less prone to trap lint. Some clothes dryer manufacturers do not recommend the use of flexible plastic exhaust ducts for safety reasons.
– A dryer should never be used without a lint filter.
– A dryer should never be left unattended.