Of all the appliances you depend on in your home, your dryer probably doesn’t seem like one that would represent a real danger. After all, its entire operation is self-contained. Even though it depends on high temperatures, the heat clearly isn’t enough to start a fire or your clothes would come out looking a lot worse than they did before the washer.
However, the material in your dryer’s lint trap is far more flammable. It’s basically tinder just waiting to catch a spark. This is why it’s so important to clean this trap out. Make it a habit to do this before and after you load clothes in. This way, there will be no chance that enough lint is left over to start a fire.
One sign that you’re not doing this enough is if your clothes come out of the dryer and are still wet. The reason for this could be because the lint in the trap is built up or the exhaust duct has become blocked (more on that in a moment).
If you think this kind of thing sounds too unlikely to worry about, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that their estimates are that some 15,000 houses will catch on fire every year because of dryer lint traps. The damage done will be somewhere around $97 million in total.
Make sure you’re checking your exhaust duct, too. Lintk can get in there and block it. When the flow of air is suppressed, enough heat can build up to turn even small amounts of lint into a blaze.
One other place you might not expect lint to be a problem is behind the dryer. Over the course of countless operations, lint can pile up behind there, too. Aside from the fact that all that lint can make for a welcoming home for pests, it, once again, is tinder just waiting to go up in flames. After enough of it becomes packed tight against the dryer, the back of that machine could produce enough heat to cause a serious problem.
A blown fuse would also provide the heat required to begin a fire fueled by lint, so make sure that you’re using an outlet that can accommodate your dryer’s electrical needs.
The lint that is caught in your dryer’s filter may not seem like a big deal, but it could lead to your entire house burning down if you’re not careful. Now that you have a better idea why, take steps to mitigate this risk.