Doing laundry may be a never-ending chore, but did you know the laundry room can quickly become a fire hazard in your home? Nearly 3,000 clothes dryer fires cause
“Dust, fiber, or lint is often the first item to ignite in a dryer fire. The key to preventing a dryer fire is to do the basics. Clean the lint filter after each use. Remember there’s a vent on the back side of the dryer that should also be cleaned regularly,” said
Choose the right venting system
Just as clogged lint filters can overheat and combust, lint can also build up in the dryer and ductwork of the ventilation system. For example, bends in the ductwork reduce air flow, leading to lint accumulation. That’s why it’s important for ductwork to be constructed properly and the dryer and ductwork to be cleaned occasionally by a qualified service professional.
“The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers recommends that clothes dryer vents be constructed of rigid sheet metal or corrugated semi-rigid sheet metal, and they should never be plastic,” said Sasse. “Also, lint is more likely to accumulate and combust in coiled-wire foil or plastic venting material. Ductwork should be vented directly to the outdoors, not to attics or crawl spaces, to reduce the chance of fire spreading throughout a home.”
Know what to air dry
Whether you’ve cleaned up cooking oil with a towel or spilled gasoline on a rag, those items are on the list of what not to place in a clothes dryer, according to the
“Any material that has a flammable substance or cooking oil on it should not be placed in a clothes dryer. It can go through the clothes washer but find a well-ventilated place for it to air dry,” said Sasse. “Homeowners should also avoid placing anything with foam, rubber, or plastic inside the dryer. That includes tennis shoes and foam-backed rugs.”
Suspect something’s wrong?
Dryer performance is a good indication of whether or not a problem has developed. If clothes begin taking longer than usual to dry or are warmer than usual at the end of the drying cycle, the ventilation system may be clogged.
To learn more about preventing clothes dryer fires at home, check out the
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