There are over 14,000 dryer-related home fires per year in the U.S., a clear indication that dryer exhaust duct inspection, cleaning and maintenance cannot be ignored.
Prevention is key and below are some tips to help keep your home safe.
Installing a Dryer?
It begins with proper installation. Consider having a professional install your washer and dryer. Some of the mistakes homeowners typically make can be avoided, such as a dangerous kink in the line during the dryer exhaust duct installation. Kinks and twists create pockets where lint builds up, and over time, restricts the airflow and creates the potential for a dryer fire.
Make Sure There’s a Lint Filter in Place
Operating the dryer with a missing lint filter is only allowing more lint to collect in the ducts, and faster, creating the perfect environment for a dryer fire.
Clean the Lint Filter
Believe it or not, this is something that is often overlooked. This simple step saves your dryer - it will last longer as it doesn’t work as hard. It saves you from having clogged ducts and saves on utility bills. Make it good common practice to clean the lint filter after each load.
Exterior Wall Vent
The exterior wall vent needs to perform its job of venting the dryer exhaust. It should not be clogged with lint that will only block the airflow. A simple inspection and cleaning on a periodic basis will do the trick to keep everything operating as it should.
Dryer Exhaust Duct
The duct from the back of the dryer that runs to the outside of your home should be cleaned once a year. Lint buildup is quite common and if ignored, leads to a clogged duct.
Most fires start in the dryer near the heating element. It’s a good idea to have the inside of the dryer cleaned annually by a professional.
Dryers should be plugged into the proper electrical outlet using the three-prong electrical cord. Never bypass the ground wire or use extension cords as these create a dangerous fire hazard.
Don’t Overload the Dryer
When you overload your clothes dryer, you cause that appliance to work harder than it should. One of the problems you create is there won’t be enough space within your dryer to get your clothes to dry properly. The other major problem is that it will cause your dryer heating element to stay on longer than it should, creating a potential fire hazard.
Do Laundry Only When Home
Since the dryer is one of the most dangerous appliances in your home, you should only run it when you are there and awake. If something happens, there is a good chance you can be there to prevent more significant damage to your home.
Unclutter Around the Dryer
Do your best to keep a clean and organized laundry room, especially around your dryer. Do not store anything flammable like cleaning agents, chemicals, or oils near your dryer.
Be Careful What You Dry
Always read the care instructions on your clothes to ensure that the garment can be dried. Not only are the instructions there to protect the garment, but some items are more flammable than others. Always avoid drying items that have rubber or plastics.