Keep Your Clothes Dryer Clean to Prevent Fire

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the leading cause of clothes dryer fires is the failure to clean them properly, and clothes dryers account for 92 percent of all washer/dryer fires. Cleaning the lint trap after each use is important, but checking for and preventing clogs in the vent is crucial to safe use and long life.

“It’s very important to maintain the cleanliness of dryer vent,” said Bob Sullivan, owner of Cape Cod Appliance Service. “If that vent gets blocked up with lint or debris, or of the vent flap can’t close all the way because of something preventing it, it can cause the dryer to overheat. A dryer fire would start inside the dryer, not inside the vent, because the heating element gets overheated.”

Fires involving clothes dryers usually start with the ignition of something that was being dried or was a byproduct (such as lint) of drying, while washing machine fires usually involved the ignition of some part of the appliance. There are often signs that your dryer is clogged or is experiencing some kind of blockage in the heating process. For example, clothes come out of the dryer feel very hot; the outside of your dryer is hot; your laundry room seems humid; or there is a smell of something burning.

In these cases, he said, the dryer has to be taken apart and thoroughly cleaned. “You have to take the whole thing apart, vacuum it, clean it, and get it done properly,” Sullivan said. He added that there are around three to four clothes dryer fires on the Cape each year from lint buildup, and about 15,000 nationwide.

Cape Cod Appliance recommends that you have your dryer vent inspected to not only make sure it is vented properly but is also running efficiently. We offer free estimates for Dryer Vent Replacement and cleanings.

Sullivan advises people to have their dryers cleaned and maintained around once every two years. “We give it a thorough clean,” he said. “After that initial cleaning, it costs a little less for each cleaning after that. We may not be the least expensive out there, but we definitely do the job properly. We have liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. A lot of companies are not covered, but we are. Also, if a dryer is old, we can bring the parts up to code.”

Some tips for safe dryer use include the following: Always have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional, and don’t use the dryer without a lint filter. Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating. Keep dryers in good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a qualified professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks. 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.

Cape Cod Appliance Service has been serving the Cape, South Coast, South Shore and beyond since 1979. You’ll always get an actual person on the phone when you call – someone who can answer all of your questions. And, Cape Cod Appliance Service can do same-day repair, which most, if not all, of the big box stores do not offer.

At Cape Cod Appliance Service, you will never be placed in an automated system when you call. They have a 24-hour answering service in case of an emergency, and they will always bring their A-game when it comes to your appliance repairs. Reliability, quality, fast work, and same-day service – everything you need, when you need it.

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About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo is the Marketing Writer and Lifestyle Reporter for, and has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.
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