As homeowners, there are lots of simple things we need to do in order to ensure the safety of our house: regularly checking smoke detectors,
replacing furnace filters, making sure our locks are safe, watching our outlets.

Add "cleaning dryer vents" to your list of homeowner to-dos; this simple chore could literally save your house.

Between 2002 and 2009, clothes dryers were the culprit for almost 14,000 fires, 10 deaths and some $84 million in damages. Many were caused by blocked dryer vents that caused heat buildup resulting in fast-moving fires. As a general rule of thumb, experts say that if you notice that it's taking longer for your clothes to dry, it's likely that lint is clogging the venting system.

You'll need to empty your lint trap between cycles and clean the venting behind your dryer. If you have an older house, you may have white vinyl venting between your dryer and the wall. This particular type of venting no longer meets national fire code standards in the U.S. and should be replaced with an aluminum equivalent. When choosing new venting for your appliance, the safest type of venting is rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal ducts.

Finally, make the following three items part of your regular cleaning routine:

1. Clean the lint screen/filter before or after drying each load of clothes.
2. Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct periodically.
3. Clean behind the dryer, where lint can build up.

Have any questions about what your homeowner's insurance covers? Give us a call at 513-984-0404 and we'll gladly answer any and all of your insurance questions!

Sources: Consumer Reports, Three overlooked home hazards | Gardus Inc., Dryer Fire Prevention Safety Tips

Photo credit: Flickr, mo1229

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