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Guard Against Clothes Dryer Fires

Protect your family from this unexpected hazard.

Woman pulling out filter from dryer machine in laundry room

Washers and dryers, found in almost every U.S. home, offer a great deal of convenience, but also present a fire hazard.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 15,000 home fires were attributed to clothes dryers in 2010. These fires resulted in 51 deaths, 380 injuries and more than $235 million in property damage. The leading cause was failure to clean out dust, fiber and lint.

Lint is extremely flammable and, over time, builds up in dryer ducts. This accumulation causes excessive heat buildup, which can lead to a fire.

Reduce your risk of dryer fire

Don't let your home go up in smoke because of a dryer fire. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has these recommendations for clothes dryer safety:

  • Clean the lint filter before each cycle.
  • Inspect the ducts to make sure they aren't damaged or pinched.
  • Make sure the outdoor vent covering opens when the dryer is operating, and that the vent isn't clogged with plants or animal nests.
  • Have the interior venting system serviced and cleaned periodically by a qualified professional.
  • Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with a rigid, non-ribbed metal duct.
  • Have gas-powered dryers professionally inspected annually to ensure the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
  • If you're away from home for an extended time, unplug or disconnect the dryer.
  • Never put clothing in the dryer if its label states "dry away from heat."
  • Do not dry glass fiber materials, anything containing foam rubber or plastic (e.g. bathmats), or materials that have come into contact with flammable liquids.
  • Never leave a clothes dryer running when you leave home or go to bed.

Following these safety tips can help protect your family and home by reducing the chance of a dryer fire. For more information about how you can protect your home from these and other hazards, contact your local American Family Insurance agent.

Disclaimer: These recommendations were developed using generally accepted safety standards. Compliance with these recommendations is not a guarantee that you will be in conformance with any building code, federal, state or local regulation regarding safety or fire. Compliance with these recommendations does not ensure the absolute safety of your occupation, business or residence. It is the property owner's duty to warn any tenants or occupants of the property of any safety hazards that may exist.


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