Prevent a Clothes Dryer Fire
The following are ways to prevent a clothes dryer fire in your home:
- Inspect your outdoor vent. Check to make sure that your outdoor vent flap is not covered by snow or debris.
- Do not dry items that have been stained with volatile chemicals. Wash clothing stained with flammable chemicals more than once and do not use the dryer to dry these items, opting for a clothes line dryer.
- Don’t leave your dryer unattended. If you need to leave your home, turn off the dryer during the laundry cycle.
- Install with care. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing the vent pipe. Use a short, straight pipe that is an adequate distance from the wall. Reducing the bends in the dryer vent pipe creates fewer opportunities for lint to gather. Invest in a dryer vent fan if you have to vent your dryer over a long distance. Dryer vent fans increase the airflow through the duct every time you turn on your dryer forcing debris out.
- Remove combustibles. Cleaning supplies and other flammable liquids should not be kept near the dryer. In addition, sweep out dust in the areas around and underneath your dryer regularly.
- Use a metal dryer duct. Metal ducts are better than foil or plastic ducts for two key reasons. First, unlike foil or plastic ducts, metal ducts do not sag. This is important because sagging ducts contributes to lint build up at low points. Second, metal ducts are more likely to contain any fires that would start.
- Read clothing tags and labels. Always use caution when you are drying bath mats, padded bras, and bibs because they may contain rubber that should not be exposed to hot temperatures. Also, if the label instructs you to tumble dry an item, follow the advice and do not dry at hotter temperatures.
- After each dryer use, check your clothes. If your clothes do not feel dry or are extra hot after a normal drying cycle, then this may indicate that something is wrong. Before using the dryer again, check for a plugged vent and clean out any lint.
- Clean out the lint. Clean out the lint trap after each use and once a year hire a professional to clean out the vent pipes.
Dryers are the cause of many home fires. Be sure to check you dryer routinely in order to prevent possible fire.