Could your clothes dryer cause a fire?

2 minute read Published on Mar 9, 2024 by BrokerLink Communications

Could your clothes dryer cause a fire?

Pulling warm towels straight from the clothes dryer feels great, but do you ever stop to think that it’s a dangerous appliance? Each year, clothes dryers are responsible for causing fires in homes and the best way to prevent this by cleaning and maintaining them.

What causes the fires?

As your clothes tumble in the dryer they produce highly flammable lint. Many people assume that by emptying their lint trap between loads they have gotten rid of all the lint. This is not sufficient as pieces can still escape through the vent or can get stuck inside the machinery. This can lead to two problems: first, the lint can become trapped inside the dryer and may reach the heating element and could cause the dryer to overheat or start a fire. The second problem is that lint can build up inside the dryer’s external hose and prevent the hot air from escaping. Forgetting to empty the lint trap or drying heavy lint-producing clothes increases the risk. In some cases, faulty dryers are to blame, but most fires can be prevented with proper dryer cleaning and venting maintenance.

In the past, laundry areas were built in basements and the dryer was set against an outside wall to make it easier for the vent to reach the outside. Many new homes and condos offer main-floor or second-floor laundry facilities. While this makes it easier to move loads of laundry, it forces the dryer’s vents to travel a longer distance. Hoses may need to bend and turn to reach the wall making it easier for lint to collect and harder to clean.

How should I maintain my dryer?


  • Avoid flimsy plastic or foil duct extenders or spiral-wound surfaces as they kink easily and tend to catch more lint. Use only solid metal ducts and vents.
  • Keep the area around the dryer clear of flammable materials.
  • In the winter, make sure that dryer vent flaps are not frozen shut. Disconnect, clean and inspect your duct work at least once a year by adding it to your spring cleaning routine.


  • Never run your clothes dryer while you are away from your home or asleep in another room.
  • Clean your lint filters. It reduces the risk of fire and helps you save money because your dryer runs more efficiently and lasts longer.
  • Never put clothes or rags that contain wax, flammable solvents or oils in the dryer. Even after washing, they can carry trace amounts of chemicals and can easily catch fire.
  • If your clothes are taking longer to dry than normal, check for blocked pipes or lint buildup. If the unit is clean, the problem may be with the heater coil. Furthermore, schedule professional maintenance to ensure the dryer and vents are in proper working order.
  • Use the dryer correctly by following the manufacturer’s instructions such as using the appropriate heat settings for different types of materials. Additionally, do not put foam pillows or clothing with foam padding in the dryer. Leave them out to air dry.
  • Avoid overloading the dryer as this can lead to overheating.
  • Consider using a drying rack or clothes line as a safe and cost-effective alternative.

Get the right insurance coverage for your home

The right home insurance policy can help cover the costs of repairing damages. Consult with our experienced brokers at BrokerLink to ensure you have the proper home insurance emplace to protect your you and your loved ones.

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