7 Ways to Prevent Dryer Fires
Between clothing, bedding, and towels, we rely on our washers and dryers to be working quite frequently to keep our various items of fabric nice and clean. The more members of your household that there are, the more regularly your home’s dryer is going to be operating. The winter is almost here, and with the cold weather approaching, having nice, dry clothing and bedding is more important than ever. However, if certain safety measures aren’t taken, your home’s dryer could actually be a serious fire hazard. These appliances are the cause of devastating house fires every year, leading to major property damage and even loss of life. Fortunately, as long as you take the proper precautions, there’s no reason you should ever have to worry about your dryer starting a fire.
1. Invest in Professional Installation
Many people like to do household jobs on their own, without the help of professionals. While this is admirable, and for certain jobs it’s completely safe, installing your dryer should probably not be one of them. When you have a trained technician set up and install your dryer, you can be certain that the appliance is being installed correctly and safely. Your technician will understand the nuances of each different type of dryer, and be able to make sure that the correct type of ventilation system is in place, greatly lowering the risk of a fire occurring. By going with a professional, you can save yourself the time, the stress, and probably be at much lower risk for something serious going wrong down the road.
2. Regularly Clean the Lint Filter
One of the most common causes of dryer fires is lint or dust building up and eventually igniting. These little particles accumulate in the dryer cavity, which is very near to the heating elements of the appliance. In this part of the dryer, the temperature can reach as high as 550 degrees Fahrenheit, which is plenty hot enough for a fire to materialize. To make sure this never happens in your home, make it a priority to clean out the lint filter before and after every load of laundry that you run. Additionally, it’s a good idea to wipe down the interior of the dryer unit to remove any excess lint or dust that has built up inside.
3. Have Your Dryer Serviced Regularly
A common cause of dryers catching fire is a lack of regular maintenance. Once a year or so, you should seriously consider having a trained professional come give your dryer an inspection. During this check-up, they can not only clean the inside of the dryer chassis, but they can also evaluate the safety status of your appliance, and let you know if you’re at risk for a fire. Additionally, the technician will be able to inspect your dryer’s ventilation and exhaust systems and ensure that everything is working correctly and efficiently.
4. Don’t Overload the Dryer
It’s only natural to want to get as much of your laundry done in one load as possible, but packing your dryer too full is something that should be avoided. When your dryer is too full of clothing or other items, it puts extra strain on the appliance. This not only puts unnecessary wear and tear on the dryer, adding to the risk of breakdowns or malfunctions, but it also forces the dryer to work much harder to dry your fabrics. When your dryer has to work harder, the internal temperatures tend to go up, and this is what creates a fire hazard. When the temperatures are this high, all it takes is a little spark being created by the friction of the appliance’s working parts, and just like that you have a disastrous situation on your hands. It may take extra time and effort to split your laundry into multiple loads, but it’s worth taking the precaution to keep your household as safe as possible.
5. Keep the Exhaust Vent Pipe Clear
Another major cause of dryer fires is the appliance’s vents becoming blocked or otherwise restricted. Many people are unaware that their dryer’s vents require regular cleaning, but it’s very common for lint and other particles to build up in these spots, causing the ventilation system to become clogged up. This is because when the airflow becomes restricted, it can result in the appliance overheating, which can lead to fires. To combat this, make a point to clean the outside exhaust vent on a regular basis, between your professional inspections. It’s also important to check every now and then that the ventilation system is working properly. This is easiest to check for when the dryer is running, as you can check whether or not air is consistently escaping. If it isn’t, there may be a clog that you need to remove, either by yourself or with the help of a professional.
6. Don’t Run the Dryer When You Aren’t Home
Even if you feel like you’ve taken all of the necessary precautions to avoid dryer fires, there’s still always the small chance that something unexpected will go wrong. To keep your home as safe or possible, make sure to only have your dryer running when someone is at home and awake. When a fire does occur, being able to snuff it out quickly is extremely important if you want to minimize the damage. In many cases, being home when a fire breaks out is the difference between a minor scare and a serious catastrophe. To be extra safe, it’s always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher in the laundry room, or at least somewhere easily accessible nearby.
7. Keep Flammable Material Away From the Dryer
In addition to excess lint or dust, you should try to keep any other types of flammable material out of the direct vicinity of your dryer. If a small fire does start, you don’t want to have things nearby that will grow or worsen it. Things like cleaning products, boxes, clothing, or any other clutter should be far enough away from the appliance that they won’t be caught in the fire if one does break out. It’s a good idea, each time you do a load of laundry, to conduct a quick inspection of the area and ensure that nothing flammable has been left in the area. Particularly if you share a household with multiple people, you never know what may have gotten moved or left around without your knowledge.
We at Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning have been providing a variety of household services to the Seattle, WA, area for over 20 years. We are proud to offer high-quality heating, cooling, water heater, and indoor air quality services at an affordable price. We are committed to providing the best possible service and value to all of our clients, and our number one goal is to help you stay comfortable all year long.
When any of your home’s HVAC systems need professional work, go with local technicians that truly care about your needs. Contact us at Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning today, and schedule an appointment with one of our skilled experts.