Dryer fires are one of the most common causes of home fires in the US. The National Fire Protection Association report says that dryers and washing machines cause around 16000 home fires each year and over 90 percent of them are due to dryers alone. If you need to get your dryer repaired or checked to prevent such fires you can search for “dryer repair near me” and hire a professional. Let’s check out how you can prevent dryer fires:
- Make sure the dryer is properly installed – If you don’t get a dryer properly installed it can lead to numerous problems and some of them may cause a fire. Some electronics stores and online websites offer free home installation, and you should take them up on that offer. If you don’t get free home installation don’t try to DIY it. The small amount of money you save by not hiring a certified technician can cost you thousands of dollars in the event of a dryer fire.
After the installation is done make sure that the unit is connected to a 240V electrical outlet. Dryers are power-hungry beasts and while gas dryers could run off 120V outlets, most modern dryers need a 240V connection. Make sure to check that the ventilation duct is connected securely to the dryer and the exterior exhaust. Also, pay attention to the location of the dryer. Make sure that it isn’t too close to other appliances, or its airflow isn’t blocked by shelves. Keep items that could easily catch on fire away from the dryer.
- Clean the lint screen after each use – Dryers need good airflow to function properly. When that airflow gets restricted, your dryer becomes inefficient, and it can build up heat. After each use of the dryer, the lint screen gets clogged by dust, worn-out fabric, and other such tiny particles. If the lint screen gets clogged up it reduces airflow inside the dryer and heats it up. The lint collected by the screen is extremely dry and campers and hunters collect that stuff for starting fires.
That’s why you need to clean the lint screen after every use. Before you throw a fresh batch of clothes into the dryer, check the lint screen and make sure it’s clean. Moreover, cleaning the lint filter is very easy. You can vacuum up the collected lint or simply wash it away and let that air dry before you put it back in the dryer.
- Clean the ducts and vents – Your lint screen does a great job at blocking most of the dirt and lint. However, some will sneak through once in a while. Over time this can build up between the exhaust vent and the dryer duct. If everything is alright and your dryer takes a longer time to dry your clothes you need to check the venting system. You need to do the same if your clothes don’t come out completely dry.
You may also notice a burning smell or notice that the dryer is getting too hot for comfort and the clothes are coming out too hot to touch. In these cases, the venting system may be dangerously obstructed, and you need to turn off the dryer immediately to prevent a fire. Unplug the dryer from the wall and check the venting system after the dryer has cooled down. That’s why it’s recommended to get your dryer’s venting system checked and cleaned every few months to avoid such problems.
In some cases, the venting system can also be obstructed from the outside. While the exhaust vent is the final component of the venting system, if it gets clogged due to external elements it can overheat the dryer and make it catch on fire. Whenever you go out for lawn maintenance or garden care, make sure to check the vent and clean it up if it gets clogged by dry leaves, snow, or other things. If your vent has flaps that open automatically when the dryer is turned on make sure it is working properly.
Exhaust vents are also a great shelter for critters, rodents, and all kinds of animals. If they end up making a nest in the vent and then die in there it’s going to create a huge problem. You can solve this problem by installing a mesh grill on the exhaust vent.
- Replace ducts – Ducts are not made the same. Some are made from plastic and can be highly flammable. That’s why they were outlawed a few years ago and if you have one you should get yours replaced as soon as possible. Ducts also have a foiled ribbed cut that traps lint and dust. They can also catch on fire very quickly. You can get them replaced with a smooth duct. When you get your duct replaced make sure its specifications are on par with UL 2158A, a standard set by Underwriters Laboratories.
- Get your dryer routinely checked and use it properly – Electrical dryers are prone to electrical fires and gas dryers aren’t any better since they have a gas line that can catch on fire very easily. That’s why you should get your dryer routinely inspected every year by a certified technician to make sure everything is in working order and safe to use. This helps you nib out small problems so that they don’t turn into a home fire in the future.
It’s also important to use your dryer properly to prevent it from catching fire. Make sure that you don’t overheat your dryer by overloading the dryer. It blocks airflow, increases drying time, and increases the risk of fire. Check the dryer manual to figure out what you shouldn’t throw in there. The list usually includes rubber, foam, and plastic.
While air drying out in the sun can be cheap and eco-friendly, it’s not a sustainable ideal for most people. With proper dryer use and maintenance, you can prevent dryer fires and make them safer home appliances. To conduct routine maintenance on your dryer you can hire the right professional by searching for “dryer repair near me”.