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When most of us think about the leading causes of house fires, we imagine someone leaving a candle burning, a curling iron left on, or an item forgotten in a hot toaster oven. What we don’t think about is something as seemingly innocent as our clothes dryer.

Each year there are 2,900 home fires attributed to dryer problems in the United States. Typically this results in an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss annually. Of those fires, 34% are caused by failure to clean and maintain the dryer properly. Additionally, more home clothes dryer fires occur in the fall and winter months. Here are 3 tips to keep your home safe.

  1. Clean your dryer’s lint trap after every use. The lint screen is designed to prevent a majority of lint from entering your dryer’s ductwork. To properly do its job, it needs regular cleaning. We recommend cleaning the lint screen with every load of laundry that goes through the dryer. Failure to do this can result in slower drying times, putting unnecessary strain on the dryer, potentially damaging the dryer, and even a fire.
  2. Replace accordion style ductwork with metal. The ductwork connects the vent on the back of the dryer to the home’s exterior vent. Accordion style plastic or foil ductwork is not ideal as it has the ability to sag or crimp, which leads to lint building up and creating a blockage that hinders proper airflow. Consider replacing accordion style ductwork with rigid or flexible metal ductwork. The smooth walls of metal ductwork reduces the risk of a clog, and allows air to move through more efficiently.
  3. Hire a professional to clean ductwork annually. Once a year, have a professional throughly clean your dryer’s ductwork. This involves detaching the duct and thoroughly cleaning inside and out, as well as cleaning the dryer’s internal filtration system, and servicing the home’s exterior vent.

A home’s clothes dryer is often a big investment made by the homeowner, so it’s important to protect it. With these tips, the chances of experiencing a dryer fire are much lower.

At Thompson and Thompson Service Group, dryer duct cleaning is one of our specialties! If it’s been a while since you cleaned your dryer vent, (or maybe you never have), contact us for a free visit. We’ll inspect your dryer vent and make a recommendation.

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