How To Prevent A Dryer Fire
Very few people realize the danger of clothes dryer fires. However, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an estimated annual 15,500 fires, 10 deaths and 10 injuries due to clothes dryer fires. Several hundred people a year are also subjected to carbon monoxide poisoning from improper dryer vent setups. The financial costs come to nearly $100,000,000 per year. In some cases faulty appliances are to blame, but many fires can be prevented with proper dryer venting. Lint accumulation and reduced airflow feed on each other to provide conditions ripe for a fire. Lint is a highly combustible material, which, interestingly enough, is one of the ingredients in a recipe for home-made fire starters. A number of dryer vent problems contribute to this.
Here are several important steps you can take to keep this from happening to you
Clean your lint screen.Always clean your lint screen right before you push the start button for EVERY LOAD! Even if there is just a small amount of lint on the screen, clean it anyway. This is a good habit to get into.
Check your vent hose.Make sure your vent hose is in good shape. If you have the white plastic vent hose, replace it now! It is not safe and has been outlawed. Use the aluminum type vent hose and make sure the length is as short as possible and not crushed or kinked.
Clean your vent line regularly.It's very important that the vent line (from the wall behind the dryer to the outside flap) is not restricted or clogged up with lint. This greatly increases your chance of a dryer fire. If you are unable to clean out this line yourself, call a professional. Many Chimney Sweep companies offer this service.
Keep the area around the dryer clean.In the event that your dryer does have a lint fire, don't give it more fuel to destroy your home. Make sure there are no articles of clothing, boxes, cleaning supplies, or anything else behind or around the dryer. You should also keep things off the top of the dryer.
Clean the lint out of the inside of the dryer regularly.Your dryer needs to be opened up and vacuumed out periodically. Most dryers today are not easily accessible for the homeowner. Unless you know how to take your dryer apart and put it back together, you'll need a technician to do this. Any time you have your dryer repaired, ask the technician to vacuum it out for you. He should be doing this anyway as part of the service.
Make sure your gas line is in good shape.If you have a gas dryer you should check your gas line. If it looks old or questionable, you should replace it. Make sure when you push your dryer back into position, you don't kink the line.