Let’s face it, none of us like to pay for insurance, of any kind, but one thing we can all agree on is our desire to protect what’s ours, be it life, property, or finances. By far, the largest threat to all three of our highest protection priorities is a house fire. A house fire can, and does, put lives at risk, causes property damage, and can be devastating to a family’s finances.
There are many ways to lower the risk of a house fire, however we’re going to focus on just one, innocuous and overlooked culprit: clothes dryers.
From 2006 to 2010, approximately 1 out of every 22 house fires reported to U.S. fire departments was the direct result of a clothes washer or dryer mishap. 92 percent of these fire-related calls were attributed to clothes dryers within the structures and, of that 92 percent, 32 percent were related to failure to clean, 22 percent were related to a mechanical failure or malfunction, and percent were related to an electrical failure.
The National Fire Protection Association provides us with the following tips:
DRYER SAFETY TIPS
- Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
- Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
- Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.
- Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
- Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating. Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.
- Keep dryers in good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
- Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
- Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and don’t overload your dryer.
- Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.
By taking some very simple precautions, paying attention to our appliances, and keeping up with scheduled service, we can reduce our exposure to the risk of a house fire and keep our families, our property, and our finances safe.