How to prevent a dryer fire in your home

Cleaning your dryer regularly important to prevent fires

Two recent fires in Hoover highlight the danger of something that we all use a lot in our homes: a clothes dryer. That appliance is blamed for a third of all house fires. Numbers from the National Fire Protection Association show 14,000 fires a year due to dryers, causing $191 million dollars in property damage.

Many times they're totally preventable. Excess dust, fiber and lint build up over time and reduce air flow making conditions ripe for a fire.

Last week fire broke out at a Hoover home caused by a dryer. Fortunately a smoke detector alerted the family. And at a Hoover fire station spokesperson Rusty Lowe tells us a squirrel crawled through an outside vent and died, igniting a fire.

One of the most important things you can do is to clean the lint off the filter before every use. Lint is highly combustible and in just a few loads it can really build up. Lowe says it's also a good idea if you use dryer sheets to clean the filter with soap and water every so often to clean away fibers that can build up.

Also, remember to clean around the drum and the flexible tubing behind the dryer. Don't push the dryer up against the wall. That may crush the venting, restricting air flow. For the outside vent you will want to use a vacuum cleaner. Also consider having a professional come in to give it a good cleaning every few years.

If your clothes aren't getting dry or they're extremely hot when you take them out, that may be a sign of trouble. Never leave the dryer running while you're away from home. Always make sure you have working smoke detectors in your home just in case.

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