Clothes dryer fires represent a huge threat to your property and the lives of
your family. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that in
1998 (the last recorded data), there were 15,600 fires associated with clothes dryers. These
fires resulted in 20 deaths and 370 injuries, and caused more than $75
million in property damage. According to the Commission, most of these
fires were caused by the dryer lint being ignited by the dryer's heating
When the dryer's venting system
is plugged or partially plugged, the lint has no other place to go but to
build up inside the body of the dryer.
The dryer will many times also
run significantly hotter, but even if running at its normal temperature, the
combination of the open flame and heating element in the dryer combined with
this abundance of fuel (the lint) will result in an out-of-control fire.
The images directly above
show a dryer vent clogged and clean
shown at right sadly shows that even when people think that they are doing
everything right to maintain their dryer and its venting system, there still
is a tremendous risk of the dryer's lint being ignited which results in an
watching the video, please read the dryer servicing tips on our dryer
information page to learn about the things that you can do to help and when
you should consider having the dryer vent and/or the dryer serviced by
clothes taking longer to dry?
It's not impossible,
but it is unlikely that the dryer itself would be the problem when your
clothes won't dry in one cycle.
The more likely reason would
be that there is a blockage in the venting system that will not allow
the dryer to properly vent out the laundry's moisture and the heat
created by the dryer.
on the right show different parts of the venting system that can be
either clogged or crushed.
Any of these
conditions will cause the dryer to run inefficiently.
Most times, more than
one condition exists in the same system.
This not only results in higher
energy costs and your dryer wearing out faster, but also does put you at
considerably greater risk of a dryer fire.
dryer is on, does it seem to get hotter to the touch than it used to?
starting to notice a burning smell when the dryer is on?
Over time, lint can collect in
the body of the dryer.
These are pictures of the bottom
of the dryer with the inspection panel open.
As scary as this looks,
I've seen much worse than this! This can act as fuel and can ignite.
Unfortunately, most newer dryers
do not have an inspection panel.
This makes it that much more
critical to periodically have the dryer serviced and cleaned out by an
appliance service person, and have the vents cleaned regularly.
These are the
sad truths about a dryer:
They are not a sealed
system--you can never completely prevent lint from getting into the body of
No dryer is ever
completely safe while it is operating
Their method for
creating heat is basically a blow torch in front of a 4" I.D. metal tube!
As a result,
if you can help it:
Never leave the house
with the dryer running
Never go to bed with
the dryer running
Do not use a knit
stocking over the end of a gas dryer's connector hose because of the risk of
carbon monoxide poisoning
Contact a dryer vent
exhaust technician if the dryer feels hot to the touch and is not drying the
clothes in one cycle