Dryer Fires: How to Prevent the Cause of 2,900 Fires Each Year

house with fire on the roof

MISHAWAKA/FORT WAYNE — Dryer fires, started when a spark from your gas or electric clothes dryer hits built up lint, causes $35 million in property loss each year according to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“Our technicians are in about 150 homes throughout Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan every day and they see a lot of dangerous situations,“ said Brian West, Home Comfort Experts General Manager. “Often homeowners don’t realize how blocked their dryer vent is. All it takes is one spark to devastate a family.”
FEMA cites failure to clean the lint trap as the cause of 34 percent of these fires.
“That’s a simple preventative measure homeowners can take,” West said, “Clean the lint trap out after every load of laundry.”
Unfortunately, cleaning out the trap isn’t always enough, he said. Small bits of clothing lint gather along the vent as the hot air blows outside. That lint builds up over time. Dryer vents can be anywhere from three feet to as long as 15 or 20 feet, making it difficult for homeowners to clean from just past the lint trap all the way outside.
“If you notice your clothes are taking a really long time to dry, that’s a sign the vent is clogged, which could lead to a fire,” West said. “Another sign is if lint is shooting out into your yard.”
Fortunately, professional equipment exists that allows us to thoroughly clean and check the line, connections, gas and hoses surrounding your laundry appliances, he said. “We can get into every cranny. Just give us a call!” West said.
“We include a dryer vent inspection for free with a furnace or air conditioning tune-up, but since we got this new equipment, people have been calling us out just to take a look at their dryers.
Each winter local news reports at least one house fire that was the result of smoldering lint, West said.
“It breaks my heart, because it could have been prevented with a simple check,” he said. “We’ve forgotten how important this equipment is in our home is and that it can be dangerous to us if we don’t maintain it. It’s one of the reasons I went into this business. Who knows how many fires we’ve prevented over the years.”
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Home Comfort Experts is a plumbing, heating and cooling company serving residential homes throughout Northern Indiana and Southwest, Michigan. It is locally owned and operated and emphasizes employee training of nearly 200 additional hours each year. All technicians are drug and background tested and expected to perform at above-standard levels, leaving homes clean and customers informed. Additionally, Home Comfort Experts offers financing to make the purchase of an efficient system affordable for the families we serve.
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