6 Ways to Keep Your Clothes Dryer from Causing a Home Fire
According to the National Fire Protection Association, clothes dryers are the cause of more than 13,000 home fires each year in the United States, causing more than $200 million in damages. No one wants to experience a home fire, and luckily there are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of your clothes dryer causing flames. Follow these six steps to keep your home safe from dryer fires.
1. Clean the Lint Filter
Cleaning the lint filter is the most important piece of dryer maintenance to remember. The interior of a dryer can reach more than 500 degrees Fahrenheit during use, and if too much lint has accumulated on the filter, it can easily spark and ignite. After every use, remove the lint filter from your dryer and run your hand over it to remove lint buildup. Rinse the trap under a faucet and replace it in the dryer once it’s fully dried. It’s also good to wipe down the interior of the machine periodically, and remember: never use the dryer when the lint screen is missing.
Not only will cleaning the lint filter protect you, but it can save your wallet too. A blocked lint filter causes your dryer to use more energy, so keeping it free of debris will save you money on utility bills.
2. Don’t Overload
We’ve all experienced getting behind on laundry and having to catch up all in one day. However, it’s important to resist the temptation to overload your dryer, especially if you’re drying thick items like towels or blankets. Overfilling the drum can cause dryer components to work harder than they’re designed to and reach temperatures that are higher than safe, eventually causing a spark. It may seem inconvenient, but the longer time of splitting a large load into two is worth it.
3. Get Regular Inspections
Consider scheduling an annual visit from a qualified maintenance technician. He or she can clean the interior of your dryer and inspect it for mechanical and electrical failures. The venting and exhaust systems and gas line fittings could all benefit from a professional eye, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that preventative maintenance can identify issues before they become major problems
4. Clean the Dryer Duct
The ventilation duct of your dryer carries excess hot air to the outside of your home, but lint can get caught there, too. These vents should be cleaned at least annually, and more if you have more than a few people living in your home. To clean out the dryer duct, move your dryer away from the wall and detach the large vent, then use a shop-vac or powerful vacuum with a hose to remove any lint that may have settled inside.
5. Don’t Dry Hazardous Chemicals
It’s also important not to dry anything that’s not meant to be put in the dryer. If your clothes have any sort of oil, gas, cleaning products, alcohol, or other flammable substances, wash them with soap and then hang them to dry. Look at the washing instructions on product labels and don’t dry materials like plastic, foam, and rubber.
6. Only Run Laundry When You’re Nearby
It’s tempting to put a load of laundry in the dryer before dashing out the door to run an errand, but you should only run your clothes dryer when you’re at home and awake. This way, in case a fire does start in your dryer, you’ll have time to take action before it can grow and spread.
SERVPRO of Cedar City/Fillmore
SERVPRO of Cedar City/Fillmore is a professional cleanup and restoration company that specializes in providing quality services to our Southern Utah community. We are on call 24/7 to respond to emergencies like dryer fires and are highly experienced in dealing with damage from fire, water, mold, and more. For more information, contact us today.