Give it Up for Lint Proper Dryer Care Can Prevent Fires

With the economy struggling and thousands of unemployed Americans looking high and low for work, you might wonder why anyone should care about something like dryer lint.

Fair enough—but here’s why: According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), there are more than 15,000 clothes dryer fires annually in the U.S. Those fires cause over a dozen deaths, more than 400 injuries, and some $88 million in property damage. And the leading factor contributing to dryer fires in residential buildings? “Failure to Clean.”

Cleaning your clothes dryers is not only essential to your safety, it also helps keep your costs down. Clothes dryers are already one of the most expensive appliances to operate, and dryer vents clogged with lint cause the dryer to run longer. According to some estimates, this reduced efficiency could cost you an extra $18 to $24 per month, per dryer. And whether it’s a row of clothes dryers in the commercial laundry room in your building or the individual unit in your apartment, proper cleaning and maintenance procedures are equally important.

A March 2009 report from the FDNY’s Bureau of Fire Investigation on fire incidents found that among 187 appliance-related fires, 71 were caused by combustion from natural gas or electric clothes dryers.

According to Maria Vizzi, president of Indoor Environmental Solutions, a family-operated business in Manhattan that provides indoor air quality services and products to individual consumers, property and facility managers, and retail businesses says: “Thorough cleaning—at least once every year—is essential, especially in residential buildings.”

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