According to the National Fire Protection Association, dryers caused an estimated 15,456 house fires in 2010. In fact, they are the number one reason homes catch on fire. Of the 15,456 dryer fires, 32 percent or 4,946 dryer fires were caused by improper cleaning or not cleaning the lint screen and dryer vent, and the risk is the same regardless of whether you use an electric or gas dryer.
Cleaning out your lint screen after each load is the first step to preventing dryer fires, but this step does not remove all the lint from inside your dryer. Some of the lint from your clothes moves through the screen and into your dryer vent where it slowly builds up until it obstructs the airflow and increases your risk for a dryer fire if your unit overheats.
Warning signs that your dryer vent needs to be cleaned
- Your clothes take considerably longer to dry.
- Your dryer gets very heated and causes harm to clothes.
- There is no audible sound coming from the exit to your dryer vent.
- During colder months of the year, there is no visible steam coming from the exit of your dryer vent.
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