Is your clothes dryer a fuse for a potential house fire? - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Is your clothes dryer a fuse for a potential house fire?

If that load of towels is still wet after tumbling for an hour in your dryer, you have an issue.

Maybe two issues.

Either your dryer is malfunctioning, or you have a wad of lint packed so tightly in your dryer vent tube, it could be used as a fuse to light the rest of the house on fire.

Memorial Day weekend, Sherry Smoot's house "exploded," according to witnesses.

"It was a big blaze coming from the back, then it exploded again," said Hope Shaw, a neighbor who witnessed the fire.

Smoot could not be reached for comment, but everyone living in her house got out safely thanks to a well-maintained smoke detector, according to the fire investigator's report.

But the report also revealed the fire's cause:  a faulty dryer, with the possibility of a poorly maintained dryer vent.

The National Fire Prevention Association said in 2006, there were an estimated 17,700 fires involving clothes dryers in the U.S.

The blazes killed 15 people, injured 360 and caused $194 million in property damage.

According to the NFPA, the leading contributor to 29 percent of the fires was the failure to clean the dryer vents.

We know to change the lint traps inside our dryers after every load, but lint also builds up inside the dryer duct - that Slinky-looking thing, connecting the dryer to the vent - and inside the vent tube leading to the exhaust on the side of the house.

Duct expert Carl Greenway said homeowners should locate the dryer exhaust outside their homes and place their hands under the cover. There should be either an open hole, the end of the vent, or a flap that stays up when there's a clear path for the dryer's hot air to pass.

"If that flap is down, and they put their hand there and cannot feel any air, it's a good reason to call me," said Greenway.

He said homeowners should also consider installing "critter cages" on their dryer exhausts to keep animals from crawling into the vents.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommended these tips for preventing dryer fires:

  • CLEAN THE LINT SCREEN/FILTER BEFORE OR AFTER DRYING EACH LOAD OF CLOTHES.
  • CLEAN THE DRYER VENT AND EXHAUST DUCT PERIODICALLY.
  • CLEAN BEHIND THE DRYER, WHERE LINT CAN BUILD UP.
  • REPLACE THE PLASTIC OR FOIL, ACCORDION-TYPE DUCT WITH A RIGID OR CORRUGATED SEMI-RIGID METAL DUCT. Most manufacturers specify the use of a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct, which provides maximum air-flow. The plastic or foil duct is more susceptible to kinking or crushing.
  • TAKE SPECIAL CARE WHEN DRYING CLOTHES THAT HAVE BEEN SOILED WITH VOLATILE CHEMICALS. Wash those clothes more than once, and preferably, hang them to dry.

The NFPA also recommended:

* When moving into a new home, it is vital that new homeowners should ask the age of the dryer vent, its size and where it exits the home.

* Homeowners should also inquire about when the dryer vents and air ducts were last cleaned and request that the vent is cleaned before moving.

* For those living in condos, where dryer vents can make 180-degree turns, it is easier and more cost effective to simply replace the flex duct rather than clean it.

* Have dryer vents inspected and cleaned annually. Regular dryer vent cleaning promotes dryer safety and efficiency. Homes with pets and dryers that are used several times a week may require special attention. 

 


 

Related Stories:

Copyright 2011 WSFA-TV. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsLocalMore>>

  • Mother arrested after child allegedly tests positive for heroin

    Mother arrested after child allegedly tests positive for heroin

    Saturday, August 18 2018 3:46 PM EDT2018-08-18 19:46:14 GMT
    Source: J Reuben Long Detention CenterSource: J Reuben Long Detention Center

    HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) — Reports released Friday provide additional details surrounding the circumstances leading to one Murrells Inlet mother's arrest.  Brooke Stellers, 23, was arrested on Thursday, August 16 and charged with unlawful neglect of a child. According to the police report, a Department of Social Services employee informed Horry County Police that a 2-year-old child tested positive for heroine/crack. Social services then took custody of the ch...

    More >>

    HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) — Reports released Friday provide additional details surrounding the circumstances leading to one Murrells Inlet mother's arrest.  Brooke Stellers, 23, was arrested on Thursday, August 16 and charged with unlawful neglect of a child. According to the police report, a Department of Social Services employee informed Horry County Police that a 2-year-old child tested positive for heroine/crack. Social services then took custody of the ch...

    More >>
  • Police investigating two found dead in Conway home

    Police investigating two found dead in Conway home

    Saturday, August 18 2018 2:54 PM EDT2018-08-18 18:54:07 GMT
    Source: Raycom MediaSource: Raycom Media

    CONWAY, SC (WMBF) — Horry County Police are investigating Saturday after two individuals were found dead in a Conway home.  According to Capt. John Harrelson with the HCPD the bodies were found in a home on the 4000 block of Highway 19 in Conway. Details are extremely limited at this time. WMBF will continue to provide more information as it comes available. Copyright 2018 WMBF News. All rights reserved. 

    More >>

    CONWAY, SC (WMBF) — Horry County Police are investigating Saturday after two individuals were found dead in a Conway home.  According to Capt. John Harrelson with the HCPD the bodies were found in a home on the 4000 block of Highway 19 in Conway. Details are extremely limited at this time. WMBF will continue to provide more information as it comes available. Copyright 2018 WMBF News. All rights reserved. 

    More >>
  • Horry County Police Chief speaks on recent crime spree

    Horry County Police Chief speaks on recent crime spree

    Saturday, August 18 2018 1:36 PM EDT2018-08-18 17:36:13 GMT
    (Source: WMBF News)(Source: WMBF News)

    HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) — An interstate crime spree that has impacted the Grand Strand has left investigators still piecing together remaining information Saturday. Horry County Police Chief Joe Hill took to Facebook Saturday to issue a message to all citizens and visitors of Horry County.  Horry County Police Department Federal agencies have combined forces on this investigation according to the post. WMBF will continue to monitor this developing story and pass alon...

    More >>

    HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) — An interstate crime spree that has impacted the Grand Strand has left investigators still piecing together remaining information Saturday. Horry County Police Chief Joe Hill took to Facebook Saturday to issue a message to all citizens and visitors of Horry County.  Horry County Police Department Federal agencies have combined forces on this investigation according to the post. WMBF will continue to monitor this developing story and pass alon...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly