Fire Safety Tips: How to Clean & Maintain Your Clothes Dryer to Minimize Fire Risk
As a fire damage restoration company, we know that prevention is the best strategy to keep your home or apartment safe from fires. We tend to think of doing laundry as just another household chore, but did you know that dryers can be a source of residential fires? You can follow these fire safety tips to keep your appliance functioning safely, and remember that regular maintenance and inspection will help minimize your risk of fire damage from clothes dryers.
Proper Use of Dryers to Prevent Fires
- Avoid overloading the unit because this can cause excessive amounts of lint to build up, which restricts proper ventilation and may lead to overheating and fire.
- Make sure it is installed properly by a professional.
- Do not run your dryer unattended, when you are away from the home or asleep, in case a fire occurs.
- Avoid washing items contaminated with flammable materials or items that should not be heated, such as oils, gasoline or alcohol. You should also avoid using essential oils in dryers -- some people use these on wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets, but this poses a fire hazard!
- Don’t dry anything containing foam, rubber or plastic, such as bath mats. You can let these air dry instead.
Routine Maintenance Of Dryers to Avoid Fires
- Remove the lint from the lint screen after every load, and check that it’s clean before starting a new load. This also helps your dryer run more efficiently.
- Several times a year, you should clean your lint screen with a brush and rinse it with water to avoid buildup, especially if you use dryer sheets.
- Inspect and clean the dryer vent and ducts at least every year, or if you suspect there’s a blockage. Signs of a blockage include dryer taking longer to complete a cycle, no longer heating effectively, or excessive lint buildup.
- Make sure the outdoor vent covering opens when the dryer is on.
- Inspect the vent hose for bends or kinks. It should be kept straight.
According to the US Fire Administration, failure to clean the dryer is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires. By following these tips, you can avoid becoming a statistic.
If you experience a dryer fire while the dryer is running, do not open the door because the rush of air will accelerate the fire. Call 911 for immediate help, and then call us at SERVPRO Gainesville West/Alachua County West for fire damage restoration at (352) 374-6589.
For more fire prevention tips, check out the rest of our blog posts on fire damage.