Dryer Safety Tips – Avoid a Laundry Fire

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  <img src="house fire.jpg" alt="House fire caused by clothes dryer">

US Government statistics show that 2,900 clothes dryer fires occur in the United States every year. Annually, these dryer fires are responsible for deaths, injuries and $35 million in property loss. To keep your family safe from laundry room fires, attention must be made to the proper installation, usage and maintenance of the clothes dryer in your home. Here is a listing of safety laundry tips from the US Fire Administration related to reducing fire hazards in clothes dryers.

Clothes Dryers Dos For Prevention

  • Hire a qualified appliance professional to install your clothes dryer.
  • Mandatory cleaning of the lint filter after each dryer cycle. Routine cleaning of the backside of the dryer where lint and dust can collect. Every 6 months, physically clean the lint filter with a nylon brush —  more often if filter becomes more frequently clogged.
  • Visually inspect the venting system behind the dryer for any signs of damage, crushing or restriction.
  • Observe the outside wall dampers.  External dryer dampers should be equipped with a covering that shields from rain, snow and dirt. Wire screens or cloth should never be used as covering because they can attract and trap lint which will clog the dryer vent.
  • Outdoor dryer vent coverings should open when the clothes dryer is operating.
  • Both the interior of the dryer and the dryer vent system should be periodically cleaned (or repaired) by a professional appliance repair service. A sign of a clog, is a dryer that is taking longer to dry laundry.
  • All coiled-wire foil or plastic dryer venting should be immediately be replaced with rigid non-ribbed metal duct.
  • Gas powered dryers should annually be inspected by a professional. This will insure that gas the gas line and connection are free of leaks.
  • Beware of critters. Routinely check the outside dryer vents for nests of small animals and birds and insects. Promptly remove if found.
  • Verify that you are using the correct electrical plug and outlet as per your clothes dryer instructions. Double-check all connections.
  • Actually read and observe the dryer manufacturers’ instructions and warnings in the use and care manual provided at purchase.
  • Keep the area around the clothes dryer free of items free of items that can burn.
  • When you away from home for a long period of time (such as a vacation or business trip) unplug or disconnect the clothes dryer.

Clothes Dryer Dont’s For Fire Prevention

  • Never operate a clothes dryer without a lint filter or operate with a lint filter that is damaged, loose or clogged.
  • Never dry rubber, foam or plastic in the clothes dryer. This includes bathroom rugs lined with such backing.
  • Never dry any article with explicit care instructions that state “Dry away from heat”.
  • Never dry glass fiber materials.
  • Never dry in a clothes dryer items that have come into contact with flammable items such as: alcohol, cooking oils, gasoline and the like. Such items should be dried outdoors or in a well-ventilated room away from any heat source.
  • Never leave a clothes dryer running when the home will not be occupied.
  • Never leave a clothes dryer on when you are sleeping.

Establishing the above dryer safety guidelines will help keep your family and home safe from the hazards of clothes dryer fires. These safe laundry tips are easy to implement. Don’t delay, start making your laundry safer starting today.


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