Dryer Safety: Preventing Dryer Fires in your Vacation Home

By: Kristin Dorsett

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that clothes dryers cause more than 13,000 fires each year, resulting in an average of $97 million in property damage, 280 injuries, and 10 deaths. Scary, right? Luckily, with the right measures, dryer fires are easy to prevent.

Most dryer fires result from poor maintenance of the dryer vent systems. As lint build ups, airflow decreases and the dryer overheats, eventually igniting the lint, wall, or clothes inside.

Since you may not have the luxury or motivation to check on your dryer between each renter, here are a few preventative measures that you can take:

1)Have the dryer installed by a professional.
2)Take a minute to read the manufacturer's warnings in the use and care manual.
3)Periodically use a vacuum attachment to clean the lint trap and behind the dryer.
4)Check that the exhaust hose is not crimped or bent.
5)Make sure that your dryer duct vents to the exterior of your house. Ducts should never vent to attics or crawlspaces.
6)Minimize the length of your exhaust hose.
7)Have the vent system cleaned once a year by qualified service personnel.
8)Replace plastic/vinyl hoses with metal venting.
9)Don't use screws to fasten your vent hose. These provide friction and cause lint buildup.
10)Make sure that the dryer is plugged into a suitable outlet for its electrical needs.
11)Keep the dryer area free of combustibles like clothes and paper.
12)If a renter or housekeeper mentions that the dryer takes an unusually long time to dry a load, have it checked immediately.

Having a washer and dryer in your vacation home can be a much-appreciated amenity. Just make sure that you first take the proper steps to protect the safety of both your guests and your property.

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