VIDEO: Preventing Dryer Fires
If you’re like most people, your clothes dryer is a must have convenience, but treating it like a microwave oven, a blender or coffee maker is a recipe for disaster, especially when it comes to keeping dryer ducts free of lint and other flammable debris generated during each drying cycle.
It’s scary to think about, but according to FEMA, an estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year, and are responsible for causing an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss annually. And, not surprisingly, 34% of those fires could have been prevented if the owner had simply cleaned their dryer and connected ducts.
Steps to Prevent Dryer Fires
- Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
- Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
- Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.
- Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
- Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating. Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.
- Keep dryers in good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
- Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
- Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and don’t overload your dryer.
- Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.
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