A clothes dryer is an essential appliance in any home. However, from 2008 to 2010, the fire departments across the nation responded to over 2,900 fires per year, all of which are caused by a clothes dryer. Based on the information available from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), here is important information you need to know about the clothes dryer fire in residential buildings.
Where Clothes Dryer Fires Often Occur
One would think that clothes dryer fires will be more probable in residential buildings where there are more people using it. Surprisingly, about 77.1 percent occur in homes with only one or two families. The rest occur in multi-family dwellings, hotels, dorms, boarding houses, and the like.
Where Residential Fires Begin
This, too, will come as a surprise. Most fires in residential dwellings begin in laundry areas. 82.6 percent of fires start from clothes dryers, which is a huge percentage as compared to the 2 percent that starts from kitchens or cooking areas.
Clothes Dryer Fire Occurrence by the Time and Month
In a 24-hour interval, the peak times for clothes dryer fires to occur is between 1:00 to 2:00 in the afternoon, which is most likely the time when most homeowners find time to wash and dry their clothes.
In months, the occurrence of fires due to dryers is highest from November to March, during the Fall and Winter seasons.
Major Factors that Cause Fires in Clothes Dryers
Within the clothes dryer, the main cause of ignition is operational deficiency, which is 46.6 percent of all clothes dryer fires. Digging deeper, the specific factor that causes operational deficiency is the failure to clean dryer vents. It goes to show that lint, dust, and fiber, if not cleaned and removed, will cause more fires than electrical failure will.
The Extent of Clothes Fires in a Residential Building
Fortunately, 53.5 percent of clothes dryer fires are confined to the dryer itself. 32.1 percent involves the entire laundry room, and the remaining percentage involves fire spreading to the floor where the laundry room is located, to the rest of the residential building, or fires affecting even nearby buildings.
The percentage of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings is alarmingly high as compared to other causes. It is crucial for homeowners to perform dryer vent cleaning as often as possible. Also, it is of equal importance to clean the entire dryer, not just the trap and vent, to make sure that no lint is left undetected. For a more thorough cleaning, you can hire a professional dryer vent cleaning service to do it for you.