Clothes dryers are simple to use, but these appliances also pose significant safety hazards. Dryer fires are more common than most people realize, causing millions of dollars in damage and injuries every year. Although some fires are attributed to dryer malfunction and the need for dryer repair, most are preventable with good dryer cleaning and maintenance. To avoid the need for home appliance repair and reduce the risk of a dryer fire, appliance owners must pay attention to the lint filter and keep it clean.
Startling Statistics on Dryer Fires
It may be hard to believe that such a simple appliance can be so damaging, but every year there are more than 15,000 home fires started by clothes dryers. These fires cause an estimated $100 million in damages, injure people, and sadly cause as many as 10 fatalities per year. These statistics make clothes dryers one of the most dangerous appliances of all commonly owned home machines. Sadly, most of these fires are completely preventable, and take only a few minutes of time whenever the dryer is used.
How Do Dryer Fires Happen?
There are a number of ways that dryer fires can occur, including the ignition of flammable materials inside the dryer, and electrical failure or short circuit. Yet the most common cause of dryer fires is a clogged lint trap or dryer vent. Dryer lint is especially flammable, and when it blocks the flow of hot air either within the dryer, or leaving the dryer, the lint itself heats up and can ignite. At the very least, this can cause significant damage to the dryer so that it requires a dryer repair; but at the very worst, entire homes can catch on fire when lint in a clogged lint trap ignites.
Preventing Dryer Fires Is Easy to Do
Preventing damaging dryer fires requires very little. Dryer lint traps should be checked before and after each use of the appliance, and cleaned of all lint, to prevent blockages that can attribute to lint catching fire. Also, as part of regular dryer maintenance, dryer vents and hoses should be cleaned of all lint once or twice a year, or more frequently for a dryer that gets heavy use. Dryer owners can do this themselves, or can call a home appliance repair and maintenance service for help. These simple tasks, along with frequently checking inside the dryer drum and around the back of the appliance for lint and dirt, can drastically reduce the chance of a fire by preventing the buildup of lint. Keeping lint traps and dryer vents clear also keeps air flowing well, reducing strain on the appliance, and the possibility of rust forming in the drum due to higher moisture levels.
Clothes dryers make life a little easier, but they should not be taken for granted. Professionals in home appliance repair and maintenance stress that poorly maintained dryers can be very dangerous, causing extensive appliance and home damage, and possibly injuries. To properly use a clothes dryer and reduce safety risks and damage requiring expensive dryer repairs, appliance owners should make cleaning the lint trap and dryer vent a regular part of their dryer use!