Worst Case Scenario: What To Do If Your Dryer Catches Fire
Follow These 4 Steps:
A dryer fire started by a lint-clogged dryer vent destroyed
- Call Your Local Fire Department at Once
- Keep the dryer door closed
- Turn off and unplug the dryer if possible
- Evacuate your home if the fire persists
When To Fight and When To Flee
At the first sign of a fire, you should be dialing 911 so the fire department can mobilize and get to your home. You should also be alerting anyone else in your home to evacuate...immediately! Although it's unlikely, you may be lucky enough to be right in the laundry room when the fire starts, in which case you have a fighting chance at stopping the fire—provided you have an extinguisher and a fire blanket within reach.
First things first: If you smell burning or see smoke coming from your dryer, resist the natural inclination to fling open the door to have a look. The door may be hot enough to burn your hand if you touch it. Even worse, any smoke built up inside will come rushing out into your face. Smoke from burning plastics inside a dryer is highly toxic. Instead, turn off and unplug the dryer, then cautiously open the door while keeping as much distance from it as possible.
If you’re going to try to contain the fire, make sure you’re within reach of an exit. You should know that inhaling smoke from burning plastics inside the dryer and the usual assortment of synthetics in the vicinity can overcome a person in less than two minutes. So, you have very limited time to take action and if your initial efforts to put out the fire don’t work, you need to get out quickly. Stay as low to the floor as possible, where the smoke will be less concentrated.
Your Life Is Worth More Than Your Belongings
You may be tempted to scramble through the house grabbing valuables and important things so they aren’t lost in the fire. DON’T! Unless there’s someone else in the house you need to get out, you should head outside as quickly as possible. As you make your way out, close all doors behind you. This will help slow down the progress of the fire by cutting off some of the oxygen the fire feeds on.
Two Things You Need In Your Laundry Room To Fight A Dryer Fire:
1. A Fire Extinguisher
There are 5 types of fire extinguishers available for consumer use: Water, wet chemical, foam, dry powder, and carbon dioxide. They all have graphics on them to communicate what kind of fires they’re intended to put out. They also have a letter designation to indicate the types of fires they can be used on.
What you want is a dry chemical fire extinguisher. It can be used on class A, B and C fires (solid combustibles, flammable liquids and gases, and electrical equipment). This versatility makes it the closest thing there is to an “all purpose” fire extinguisher. The powder makes a bit of a mess when used, but it’s better than having the fire spread.
2. A Fire Blanket
A fire blanket is a heavy blanket designed to smother small fires. It’s made from wool and (usually) fiberglass. Fire blankets typically come in a wall-mountable nylon bag designed to make it easy to pull the blanket out in an emergency.
Obviously, a fire blanket will only be helpful if the fire is still small. Do not attempt to use a fire blanket on a fire that has engulfed your laundry room. Get out of the house ASAP.
Even If You Put The Fire Out, You Still Need The Fire Department
Let’s say you manage to catch the fire early and put it out. Don’t call the Fire Department to try to cancel your call! What looks like a fire that’s been put out may actually still be smoldering and can come back with a vengeance. It’s possible the fire is still smoldering somewhere deep inside your dryer, your walls, or the ceiling. To make sure the fire is completely out, have the fire department check everything out.
If You’re Thinking It Would Be Much Easier and Cheaper To Have Your Dryer Vents Cleaned Every Year, You’re Right!
The cost of a yearly dryer vent cleaning ranges from $100 to $200 (depending on the length and location of dryer vent). That’s NOTHING compared to the cost of a fire. Even a small fire contained quickly in your laundry area can easily cause $5,000 to $20,000 in damages.
Assuming it's a small fire, there's much more than the cost of replacing the burned out dryer and repairing your laundry area. There’s also the cost of cleaning up the smoke and water damage (from the firefighters putting out the fire). Additionally, you’ll probably have to find a place to stay until all the restoration work is complete.
In many cases, the fire can't be contained and the entire house burns down. Besides losing all your valuable possessions, pets and family members can die. The losses are truly heartbreaking. Saving a hundred bucks or so by taking a pass on dryer vent cleaning just isn’t worth the risk.
If you haven't had your dryer vents cleaned in more than a year, contact Dryer Vent Wizard of Wisconsin for a free estimate on dryer vent cleaning at your property.
Before you do another load of laundry.
The Best Protection is Prevention
Having your dryer vent cleaned once per year is the best thing you can to do to prevent a fire caused by a lint clog in your vent line. Obviously, you should also be cleaning off the lint trap in your dryer before each use. But even with a new dryer, small particles of lint get past the lint trap and end up in your vent line.
Dryer lint also gets inside your dryer, and over time it accumulates to the point it forms a layer of lint over everything. If your dryer is 5 years old or older, it’s a good idea to do a deep cleaning of your dryer. There are online videos explaining how to do this, but if you’re not comfortable removing the front and top panels of your dryer, Dryer Vent Wizard of Wisconsin does deep cleaning, too.
Why Dryer Vent Wizard of Wisconsin is Your Best Choice for Dryer Vent Cleaning
Unlike HVAC companies and handyman services, Dryer Vent Wizard is the only business in Wisconsin focused solely on dryer vents. All our employees are C-DET certified, meaning they have met the standards set by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and are Certified Dryer Exhaust Technicians.
In addition to cleaning dryer vents, we also install vents, reroute them for greater safety and efficiency, and even repair them when possible. From our three Wisconsin locations, we serve the northeast counties of the state, the greater Milwaukee area, and southeast Wisconsin.
Our A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, consistently high ratings on consumer review websites, and hundreds of positive reviews from satisfied customers should tell you all you need to know.
If you don't live in Wisconsin, look for the Dryer Vent Wizard in your area.
Contact the Dryer Vent Wizard of Wisconsin Nearest You:
Northeast Wisconsin: Fond du lac, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Kewaunee and the Fox Valley Counties. 920-644-3797
North Milwaukee: All locations north of Highway 94 in Dane County, Waukesha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Dodge counties. 262-757-8368
Southeast Wisconsin: All locations south of Highway 94 in Dane County, Waukesha, Milwaukee, Walworth, Racine and Kenosha counties. 262-312-1991. For property managers and condo associations, call 262-501-5240.
Request a free estimate on dryer vent cleaning for your home or business.