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How can you prevent fires in your dryer?

Published on September 29, 2022


The dryer is one of the leading causes of home fires. Sometimes, the fire is triggered by a defective part. But more often than not, it’s due to poor maintenance. Hair, threads and other residue from various fabrics (lint) can block the appliance’s air vents. As long as lint continues to gather, the air can’t circulate properly and the temperature rises. Here are a few tips to help you prevent dryer fires and home insurance claims, too.

Safe installation

  • Place your dryer in an area with sufficient air intake. This is vital, particularly if it’s in an enclosed area.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Make sure you understand the safety instructions so you can follow them properly.
  • Opt for a solid metal pipe. It should be as short and straight as possible. Aluminium is more resistant to flames. White vinyl causes lint to accumulate.
  • Insulate the pipe if it’s in a non-heated area where hot air comes into contact with cold air. The condensation it creates causes lint to accumulate.

Regular maintenance

  • Empty and clean the lint filter. Remove the gathered fluff before or after each use. Wash the filter often with a brush and hot, soapy water.
  • Empty the exhaust ducts. At least twice a year, use a vacuum to remove the lint and debris.
  • Inspect and clean the parts. To avoid overheating your dryer, better check out the state of the pipes on a regular basis.

The following table indicates the parts you should monitor and the recommended frequency.

Part Frequency



Dryer vents

Every 2 to 3 years
(if the vent is long, it should be cleaned more often)

Exterior flapper

Twice a year
(Be sure it doesn’t get clogged by snow or ice in the winter)

Proper use

  • Avoid working the dryer when it’s unattended. The timer and humidity or temperature gauges may be defective. Also, make sure the lint filter is in place.
  • Watch out for any signs of the ducts being blocked. For example, if it’s taking longer for your clothes to dry.
  • Try not to fill the dryer at more than ¾ capacity to avoid overheating it. Note that drying clothes in smaller loads reduces the drying time.
  • Use fabric softeners sparingly. The residue they leave behind can clog the filter.
  • Air dry clothes soiled by oil or other flammable liquids, never in the dryer.

Using the dryer safely and maintaining it regularly goes a long way in preventing fires. If, despite all the precautions you take, a fire occurs, your home insurance covers your property.

Your insurance broker is there to help you prevent losses. Contact him or her!