FMG is reminding clients and their communities of the dangers of not cleaning lint out of tumble dryers after a house fire in Oamaru last year.

To read more about Michelle and Rogan Borrie’s Oamaru house fire, that originated from a full lint filter, click here.

“Following the winter solstice, we know the days are at their shortest, the temperatures low and weather inclement. It is hard to get washing dry on the line and people often need to resort to using tumble dryers to get the job done” said Advice Services Manager Angela Taylor.

The insurer noted that unsurprisingly, house fire claims increase significantly during the winter months and that already they had seen more than 126 claims relating to house fires in the first half of this year.

“Clogged vents, ducts and filters are the primary causes of dryer fires. So, we have a few recommendations for those using tumble dryers to avoid the risk of overheating or a fire starting.”

  1. Clean the lint filter between each load. Lint build-up can result in filters overheating and igniting even after the dryer is turned off.
  2. Don’t overload your dryer. Overloading can cause excessive heat to build up. Allow for at least a quarter of the dryer to be free so items can move around and aerate.
  3. Use the correct settings. If you must use the dryer for items soiled with fats and oils, such as tea towels, ensure you hot was first and use the lowest heat setting on the dryer with a cycle that includes a cooldown period.

To tackle the issue of unemptied lint filters, FMG has developed a lint bag made of fire-retardant fabric that will magnet onto your tumble dryer and fits several loads of lint before it needs to be emptied. It was available to clients at Mystery Creek Fieldays and will be available at workshops and seminars run in collaboration with Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

“It is easy to say, ‘oh I will empty it next time’, it’s much harder to deal with the aftermath of a house fire. These lint bags are our way of taking away the excuses and helping encourage safer behaviours when it comes to getting your clothes dry.”

“Rest assured the days will keep getting longer and the washing line will be back in action in no time.  But in the interim – clean that lint filter!”

It is not just tumble dryers that contribute to house fires. Analysis of FMG’s claims over 5 years showed that the majority of FMG’s house fire claims are caused by

  • Electrical and wiring faults
  • Kitchen fires
  • Chimney and fireplace accidents.