Insights on Insurance: Clothes Dryer Fires

An estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated $35 million in property losses, according to a new government report. A report by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) states that 84 percent of clothes dryer fires took place in residential buildings. Here are some specifics included in the report:

  • Clothes dryer fire incidence in residential buildings was higher in the fall and winter months, peaking in January at 11 percent.
  • Failure to clean (34 percent) was the leading factor contributing to the ignition of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings.
  • Dust, fiber and lint (28 percent) and clothing not on a person (27 percent) were, by far, the leading items first ignited in clothes dryer fires in residential buildings.
  • Fifty-four percent of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings were confined to the object of origin.

Damaging fires can occur if clothes dryers are not properly installed or maintained. The report notes that lint, a highly combustible material, can accumulate both in the dryer and in the dryer vent. Accumulated lint leads to reduced airflow and poses a fire hazard. Reduced airflow can also occur when foam-backed rugs or athletic shoes are placed in dryers.  Small birds or other animals nesting in dryer exhaust vents are another hazard. A compromised vent will not exhaust properly, possibly resulting in overheating and/or fire.

Take a few minutes to inspect these components in your home to ensure safety for your family and your possessions.

David Carlson

President, Euclid Rotary Club; Past Chairman, Euclid Chamber of Commerce;President, Euclid Public Library Board; Owner, Nationwide Insurance Agency

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Volume 3, Issue 11, Posted 10:10 AM, 12.18.2012