It’s easy to think of kitchen mishaps, wiring problems or unattended candles as the cause of the typical house fire, but there’s a less known risk lurking in your laundry room. Every year, over 15,000 house fires stem from dryers. In 2010, these fires caused the deaths of 51 people. And, sadly, at least 1/3 of these fires were preventable: failing to clean the dryer was the top cause of laundry room-related fires.
So what can you do prevent fires from happening in your laundry room? Here are a few quick safety tips:
1. Always remove lint from the lint filter before and after using your dryer. And don’t even think about running the dryer without a filter in place. Clean the filter with a nylon brush 2-3 times per year.
2. Don’t forget to check the drum for lint, too.
3. Don’t overload the dryer.
4. Is it taking longer than usual for your clothes to dry? That’s a good sign that your dryer vent is clogged with lint.
5. The further your dryer is from an outside wall, the larger the fire risk. If your dryer isn’t up against an outside wall, the vent will be longer, and the harder it is for the lint to escape.
6. Dryer vents need a thorough cleaning about once a year. You can clean your dryer vent yourself, but certified professionals are probably the best way to go. They typically cost $100-$150.