Doing laundry is likely part of anyone’s daily (or at least weekly) routine. However, dryer fires are responsible for a significant number of damages, injuries, and deaths every year. There are approximately 15,000 structure fires reported annually as a result of dryer fires throughout North America.
When following these simple safety tips, clothes dryer fires can be prevented:
- Dryers must be installed and serviced by a professional.
- Dryers should be properly grounded.
- The outdoor vent flap should be checked to make sure it is not covered by snow.
- The area around the dryer must be kept clear of things that can burn, like boxes, cleaning supplies and clothing.
- Clothes that have come in contact with flammable substances, like gasoline, paint thinner, or similar solvents should be laid outside to dry, then they can be washed and dried as usual.
- The dryer must never be used without a lint filter.
- The lint filter should be cleaned before or after each load of laundry. The lint that has collected around the drum should be removed.
- Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
- The air exhaust vent pipe must not be restricted and the outdoor vent flap should open when the dryer is operating. The lint out of the vent pipe needs to be cleaned at least annually.
- Gas dryers should be inspected by a qualified professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
- The right plug and outlet must be used and the machine should be connected properly.
- The manufacturer’s operating instructions need to be followed.
- The dryer should be turned off when nobody is at home.
It is important to note that the most common causes of dryer fires is lack of maintenance. Homeowners must ensure that their machine is clean inside and out. Any buildup of lint and household dust must be removed as quickly as possible.