Clothes Dryers & Washing Machines

Laundry is part of our everyday routine; however, these appliances are involved in an estimated 17,700 dwelling fires each year. Lint build-up in the vent or trap can get too hot and catch on fire.

  • Dryers and washing machines were involved in one out of every 23 (4%) home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2003-2006.
  • Clothes dryers accounted for 92% of fires, washing machines (4%), and washer/dryer combinations accounted for 3%.

Safety Tips

  • Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
  • Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
  • 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.

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