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Washers and Dryers...What Every Homeowner Needs to Know to Keep Your Property Safe From Avoidable Accidents.

Lurking in your home are two appliances that might appear to be innocent but are harboring a deep secret: the ability to cause catastrophic damage. While washers and dryers help make our lives easier, they can become a real headache if not properly maintained.  

According to a study of homeowners' insurance claims from water damage conducted by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety:  

  • Washing machine-related failures are one of the top 10 sources of water damage to a home.
  • Cost an average of $5,308 per incident after paying the deductible.
  • Supply hoses accounted for more than half of all washing machine-related damages.
    • 78% of those failures involved washing machines that were less than 11 years old.
  • Approximately 6% of all washing machine failures occurred in unoccupied homes.
    • Failures that occurred in vacant dwellings resulted in claims that were on average nearly two-and-a-half times more severe than those occurring in occupied homes.
  •  To prevent water damage in your home we recommend the following:

    1. Conduct monthly inspections of the hot and cold washing machine supply lines looking for any punctures, leaks, or damage. If found replace line immediately.

    2. Replace water supply hoses: Over time, water supply hoses can become brittle and burst. Check them periodically and replace your old hoses with a braided metal hose. These ingenious hoses cost only about $20 each and can be used on washing machines, dishwashers, and other plumbing fixtures and appliances.

    3. Washer floor tray: If you want to mitigate some of the damage in the event that you do have a small washing machine leak, slide a water-catching tray under your washing machine to catch drips and leaks. It's a simple, inexpensive way to prevent water damage to your floor from a slow leaking washing machine — purchase price around $20.

    4.Flood protection device – An automatic water leak detection device (or automatic water shut-off valve) prevents flooding by immediately shutting off both the hot and cold-water supply to the washing machine when sensors detect a water leak. These localized devices are relatively easy to install by homeowners, or can be installed by a licensed plumber, and provide 24/7 protection against damage caused by washing machine floods. Some even sound an audible alarm. The price tag is around $150 for an appliance specific shut-off valve.

     Washing machines aren't the only appliance that can cause damage to your home. Next, we examine clothes dryers, and the hidden dangers you need to know about. Plus, we share expert tips for dryer maintenance.

    Clothes dryers cause over 2,900 home fires annually. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the primary reason is due to lack of proper cleaning that causes a build-up of lint in dryer exhaust vents and ducts. If a dryer exhaust vent becomes clogged and the hot air can't escape, there is a danger that the dust can ignite.

    Keeping your dryer in good working order not only helps to protect your home and family, but can also save money on your utility bills.Estimates show that a dryer with a clogged vent takes four times longer to dry an average-sized load.Check out some of these top tips for dryer maintenance and safety.

    Keep Your Dryer Clean

  • Do not use your dryer without a lint filter
  • Clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry
  • Remove lint that has collected around the drum
  • Have your dryer serviced and vents or ducts cleaned by a professional at least once a year
  • Know the Warning Signs

    Look out for signs that your dryer might have a problem and the vent might be clogged or need cleaning, such as:

  • An overly hot dryer
  • Longer than usual drying times for an average load of clothing (well over an hour)
  • Humidity inside the dryer door
  • Lint collecting inside the dryer door
  • A burning smell in the laundry room when the dryer is running.
  • Does Your Dryer Need Extra Maintenance?

    There are a few instances when your dryer might need more frequent care and cleaning, always check your appliance user guide and manual for more information.Some instances might include:

  • If your dryer is more than ten years old
  • If your dryer vent is more than 10 feet long or has more than one 90 degrees turn
  • If your dryer is used heavily, frequently or for large loads of laundry
  • Keep your family out of danger and never forget a dryer vent cleaning again. vipHomeLink is a home management and organization tool that you can access from your phone. Members can keep track of their dryer vent cleanings in the membership profile for their home and receive yearly reminders that it is time to organize a dryer vent cleaning. 

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