Insurance Insights

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 23, 2001


Dryer fires can cost millions We can help reduce insurance costs by eliminating preventable claims. It pays to take a pro-active approach to your personal health, auto and home safety. Each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association, about 15,000 house fires start in clothes dryers, causing nearly $70 million in damages. The most frequent causes of these fires are improper ventilation and/or poor maintenance, which allows lint to accumulate. When lint covers heaters, switches or dryer motors, fires can result. Don’t leave the dryer running when you’re not at home. Clean the lint trap after every use. Don’t dry oily rags in the dryer. Don’t operate the dryer without a lint filter. Ensure the dryer is plugged into a suitable outlet for its electrical needs. Keep the dryer area free of combustibles, such as clothing and boxes. Ventilate adequately. The dryer duct should vent directly outdoors not into an attic, crawl space or indoors. Metal dryer ducts are preferred. Plastic ducts can collapse, causing blockage and lint build up within the dryer. Also, plastic ducts may melt or ignite. Follow the manufacturers’ suggestions on the length of ducting to use. Appliances are tested and certified according to certain specifications. Check your owner’s manual for more information. Once a dryer has accumulated “mileage,” consider hiring a professional to clean lint build-up and debris off heaters, switches and themotor. Prevent dryer fires. Paying attention to what may seem ordinary is well worth the effort. Don’t become a dryer fire statistic.