AAA urges homeowners to prevent home fires by routinely cleaning dryer vent
AAA Carolinas Insurance is reminding all residents to routinely clean out their dryer vents to prevent build-up that can lead to danger.
One of the most common reasons for a house fire stems from the lint build-up in a dryer. U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated 15,970 home fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines each year, resulting in about 13 deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association. 92% of those fires were caused specifically by dryers. And the leading factor contributing to the ignition of the fire was failure to clean the vent (about one third of all dryer fires).
“Most home owners know to regularly clean out the lint catcher inside their dryer, but few go the extra mile to clean out the full tubed vent that connects the dryer to the outside of the home, and that is where the problem occurs,” said Jim McCafferty, president of AAA Carolinas Insurance.
The lint trap inside a dryer unfortunately does not capture all of the lint produced. As the air exits the dryer through the vent hose that leads to the outside of the home, lint particles are carried along with it. Over time, this builds up in the vent and can lead to an obstruction. When this build-up is combined with the high temperatures of a dryer, deadly consequences can ensue.
AAA Carolinas recommends cleaning out the full tubular vent at least twice a year. For those that use a dryer daily, the recommendation increases to three to four times a year.
“There are some warning signs associated with a potential lint build-up,” added McCafferty. “If you find your dryer isn’t drying your clothes as well, maybe it takes multiple cycles to get them fully dry, or if your dryer is extremely hot to the touch, you should immediately check your vent.”
The National Fire Protection Association has provided dryer safety tips, including:
• Do not use a dryer without a lint filter.
• Clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry.
• Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and that the outdoor vent flap opens fully when the dryer is operating.
• Clean lint out of the vent pipe at least twice a year or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.
• Never operate the dryer if you leave home or when you go to bed.
AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 2.1 million member and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.