Is your Clothes Dryer a fire hazard?

Washing machineDryers & washing machines

Dryers and washing machines were involved in one out of every 23 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2003-2006.

Facts and figures

  • In 2006, an estimated 17,700 reported U.S. non-confined or confined home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines resulted in 15 civilian deaths, 360 civilian injuries and $194 million in direct property damage.
  • Clothes dryers accounted for 92% of the fires; washing machines 4%, and washer and dryer combinations accounted for 3%.
  • The leading cause of home clothes dryer and washer fires was failure to clean (29%), followed by unclassified mechanical failure or malfunction (24%). Thirteen percent were caused by some type of electrical failure or short circuit.

Source: NFPA’s “Home Fires Involving Clothes Dryers and Washing Machines” report by John R. Hall, Jr., March 2009.

Also see: Fact sheet on home fires involving dryers and washing machines. (PDF, 59 KB)

NFPA Safety Tips

  Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
  Do not operate the dryer without a lint filter.
  Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
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