Around four out of five homeowners in the US use a clothes dryer. Unfortunately, clothes dryers are also one of the primary causes of house fires in the country. That’s why it’s important to do regular maintenance on your dryer. You can hire a professional for that task by searching for “dryer repair near me”. Let’s check out a few housekeeping tips to prevent dryer fires:
Tips & Tricks
- Keep the dryer surroundings clear – Your laundry room has numerous items that are waiting for an excuse to catch on fire and bring the house down. Everything from piles of dry clothes to specialized washing chemicals that light up with a spark. If your dryer accidentally catches fire, these items trigger a chain reaction and turn a small flame into an unmanageable blaze.
You can prevent this from happening by keeping the dryer surroundings clear of such items. Make sure that washing detergents and clothes aren’t stored near the dryer. If the dryer is under the windows, make sure that there are no curtains. Instead, opt for aluminum blinds that resist fire.
- Clean the lint filter after each use – When your clothes go through a dryer cycle, some fibers are weakened and torn off from the fabric. Apart from that, there is other dust and debris. All of this is caught by the lint trap in your dryer. The lint is exceptionally dry and highly flammable. That’s why avid hunters and campers collect it in a jar so that they can easily start a fire at their campsite.
That’s why you shouldn’t leave the lint trap to accumulate that highly flammable substance. When the lint trap gets clogged, it also makes the dryer components run hotter and use more power. Moreover, if any of that lint accidentally reaches an electronic component, the heating element, or the boiler, it’s a sure disaster. That’s why you need to clean the lint trap after each drying cycle.
- Don’t overload the dryer – Most people think that overloading the dryer would dry their clothes quickly and they would be able to save on time and power. Ironically, that’s very counterproductive. When the dryer drum is filled with clothes more than its rated capacity, hot air has less space to move around and effectively dry your clothes.
This decreases the efficiency of your dryer and makes it work harder. This eventually heats components, and the soaring temperatures increase the risk of fire. Even if it doesn’t burn your home, it burns your hard-earned money on a higher power bill. That’s why you should stick to the rated dryer capacity while drying your clothes.
- Keep the exhaust vent clean – As mentioned above, dryer lint can build up in the lint trap. Lint and dust also accumulate in the exhaust vents and that can cause serious problems. Apart from lint, the exhaust vents may also be blocked by dry leaves, animals, and other things that get in from outside your home. When the exhaust vent gets blocked and the dryer can vent gasses, it’s a major safety hazard.
When your dryer can’t discharge gasses, it can’t work properly and heats up. Moreover, if you have a gas dryer, a blocked vent may redirect toxic and invisible gasses back into your home. They can affect your lungs and expose you to serious health risks. That’s why you should check your exhaust vent at least once every week and make sure it stays clear.
- Don’t leave the dryer running unattended – Everyone likes to get to other tasks while allowing their appliances to work their magic. While this makes sense for cooking in the oven and for washing clothes in the washer, the dryer is an exception. Dryers are one of the most useful and dangerous appliances in your home that can catch fire quite easily, due to component failure or dryer malfunction.
If you’re busy with other tasks or taking a nap while the dryer catches on fire, you’ll be too late to stop the flame. This is especially important if your dryer sits in the kitchen or the laundry room that has plenty of flammable substances. That’s why you should never leave the dryer unattended while it’s running and also keep a fire extinguisher close to the dryer.
- Leave a gap between the dryer and the wall – People often push their appliances against the wall to make a bit more room. However, this isn’t safe for your microwave oven, refrigerator, or your dryer. Most appliances have their ventilator units and cooling mechanisms at the back. They need some airflow to keep the appliance cool and functioning efficiently and safely.
That’s why you should leave at least a two-inch gap between the dryer and the wall. A 5-inch gap would ensure safety with plenty of airflow. The minimum recommended gap depends on the unit. You can find this information in the owners’ manual or on the manufacturer’s website.
- Check the gas line and vent hose – If you have a gas dryer, a fire can cause an explosive disaster. The fire will spread within seconds, and you would be too late to do anything about it. That’s why you should get the gas line feeding the dryer checked by a licensed technician every few months. If you start smelling gas, immediately turn off the dryer and contact a technician.
You also need to watch out for your dryer vent hose. If your dryer is very old and was installed before 2006, the vent hose may be made from a dangerous and highly flammable white plastic. They were outlawed in 2006. Check your vent hose and get it replaced with aluminum metal or other kinds of approved fire-retardant material.
There are many ways of preventing dryer fire. A bit of caution while using the dryer and keeping it clean and running efficiently can bring down the risk of house fires tremendously. You should also keep your dryer in its best shape with regular repairs and maintenance. You can search for “dryer repair near me” and hire professionals for that job.