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Dryer Lint is a Bigger Fire Hazard Than You Think


Did you know that accumulated lint in dryer vents is the leading cause of dryer-related fires? Every year these fires result in dozens of injuries and even death, not to mention the considerable financial cost incurred. What to do? Simply keep your dryer vent lint-free. Follow these guidelines and your likelihood of a dryer vent fire will be greatly reduced.

  • Have your clothes dryer installed by a professional.
  • Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry. Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up. In addition, clean the lint filter with a nylon brush at least every six months, or more often if it becomes clogged.
  • Clean lint out of the vent pipe every three months.
  • Have your dryer cleaned regularly by a professional, especially if it is taking longer than normal for clothes to dry.
  • Inspect the venting system behind the dryer to ensure it is not damaged or restricted.
  • Put a covering on outside wall dampers to keep out rain, snow and dirt.
  • Make sure the outdoor vent covering opens when the dryer is on.
  • Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid, non-ribbed metal duct.
  • Check regularly to make sure nests of small animals and insects are not blocking the outside vent.
  • Keep the area around the clothes dryer free of items that can burn.
  • If you will be away from home for an extended time, unplug or disconnect the dryer.
  • Don’t use a clothes dryer without a lint filter or with a lint filter that is loose, damaged or clogged.
  • Don’t overload the dryer.
  • Don’t use a wire screen or cloth to cover the wall damper. They can collect lint and clog the dryer vent.
  • Don’t dry anything containing foam, rubber or plastic. An example of an item not to place in a dryer is a bathroom rug with a rubber backing.
  • Don’t dry any item for which manufacturer’s instructions state “dry away from heat.”
  • Don’t dry glass fiber materials (unless manufacturer’s instructions allow).
  • Don’t dry items that have come into contact with anything flammable, like alcohol, cooking oils, or gasoline. Dry them outdoors or in a well-ventilated room, away from heat.
  • Don’t leave a clothes dryer running if you leave home or when you go to bed.

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