Most home fires caused by clothes dryers can be eliminated by regular maintenance and cleaning of the appliance and the attached vent ducting. "Following the below listed guidelines will not only promote the longevity of the dryer, but it will also lessen the chance for a fire," stated Fire Marshal Barnard.
· Clean the lint filter before or after each use to allow proper airflow.
· Never operate the dryer without the lint filter in place.
· Check the outside vent housing and remove any obstructions.
· Specialized brushes are available for purchase to reach into the area beneath the lint screen and the vent pipe.
· Consider having a qualified professional service the appliance at least once a year to ensure peak performance and efficiency.
· Keep the area around the dryer clean and free of combustible items.
· Ensure the dryer is plugged into an appropriate outlet designed for your appliance.
· Replace plastic and thin foil accordion type vent ducting with rigid or semi- rigid metal duct. Plastic and thin foil ducting can more easily trap lint, which reduces airflow and presents a potential fire hazard.
· If you leave your home, do not allow the dryer to continue operating.
· Do not overload the dryer. The additional items cause stress on the appliance and lower the effectiveness to dry efficiently.
· When in doubt, review the owner’s manual for proper safety measures.
· If you are drying items that were previously contaminated with volatile chemicals such as gasoline, motor oil, cooking oils or other types of combustible liquids, please ensure you remove the items soon after the drying cycle ends. Avoid stacking them together until the items have cooled to room temperature. If chemicals still remain in the items, they could self-ignite if not allowed to cool properly.
Following the above listed safety guidelines will help to ensure a regular household task does not turn into a dangerous situation. Additionally, please take the time to check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors for proper operation.