It’s hard to beat the convenience of a clothes dryer. Rather than try to work around the weather to get your clothes dry, you can enjoy dry clothes at any time of the day during any time of the year. The only drawback to clothes dryers is that the heat they create can cause a fire if you don’t properly maintain your dryer. To avoid that frightening scenario, here are some important tips you should follow to help your dryer operate safely and efficiently.
Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions
You can avoid many dryer catastrophes if you simply read the manufacturer’s instructions for your dryer.Proper installation of the dryer and electrical cord are crucial to helping your dryer operate safely long-term. Specifically, make sure that you locate your dryer away from combustible materials that could ignite if the dryer overheats. Proper dryer cord installation is also crucial. Make sure that you install the strain relief bracket that’s included with your dryer. This will prevent crimps in the cord that could cause the cord to overheat and catch fire.
Clean Your Lint Trap
When it comes to preventing a clothes dryer fire, lint is one of your biggest enemies. Lint that accumulates in the lint trap or dryer duct can cause heat to build up in your dryer when hot air doesn’t have a way to escape. You should try to clean the lint trap in your dryer after every drying cycle. Waiting any longer will reduce your dryer’s performance and lead to an unnecessary fire risk. In a commercial setting, it’s a good idea to assign someone to check the lint traps every day to clean any lint that other dryer users leave behind. Also, if your lint trap develops holes, it is important to replace it before continuing to use your dryer. Otherwise, excess lint will enter the dryer duct and begin to reduce airflow through the duct.
Clean Your Dryer Duct
Just as important as cleaning your lint trap is cleaning your dryer duct. Blocked dryer ducts represent a major fire hazard and are one of the most common causes of clothes dryer fires. Try to keep your duct run as short as possible so that lint doesn’t have to travel through multiple twists and turns. In addition, it’s vital to use rigid metal ductwork whenever possible to prevent crimping that could lead to lint buildup. Another tip is to ensure that you have a screen or other protective device on the exterior end of your vent so that animals can’t get into the vent and build nests. A good rule of thumb is to thoroughly clean your dryer duct at least once a year. This involves moving the dryer away from the wall and disassembling the dryer duct so that you can remove any lint buildup with a brush or vacuum cleaner.
Be Wary of Overloading
To dry textiles properly, a dryer must be able to circulate air between the individual items in the dryer. An overloaded dryer will result in much longer cycle times and can create a serious fire hazard. Overloaded dryers are common in both residential and commercial contexts because people want to get more done in less time. Unfortunately, putting too much into a dryer reduces the volume of air flowing through the dryer, which can quickly lead to an overheating condition. This is another situation where your dryer manufacturer’s instructions can come in handy. Since the manufacturer understands the design limits of your dryer, you can consult the instructions to discover what you can safely put in your dryer.
Flammables Are Not Welcome
A major risk that you should avoid at all costs is drying items soaked in flammable liquids. Even if the items have gone through multiple wash cycles, there are still no guarantees that there aren’t traces of the flammable material left on the fabric. In the hot environment of a dryer, these flammable materials can easily combust. Fueled by large amounts of incoming air, a fire of this nature can quickly burn out of control and cause major damage to your home or business. Rather than using your washer and dryer to clean your clothes after contact with flammable liquids, it’s best to use specialized cleaners and a sink or hose to fully remove the combustible residue from the fabric. If you can’t get the residue out of the fabric, your best bet is to throw away the affected items.
Don’t Ignore Warning Signs
In many cases, you can avoid a clothes dryer fire by simply paying attention to warning signs that dangerous conditions are present. If you notice that your clothes are unusually hot when you remove them from your dryer, there’s a good chance that your dryer has a problem that you need to investigate. If you smell smoke or burning plastic, this is a definite sign of a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. In these situations, it’s best to turn off your dryer, unplug the cord, remove the items inside, and allow the dryer to cool down so that you can check for potential problems. If you can’t find the cause of the problem, it is imperative that you call an appliance repair technician to fix your dryer before using your dryer again.
Dryer Safety Is Everyone’s Job
Whether in a residential or commercial setting, it’s important to remember that dryer safety is everyone’s job. Cleaning lint traps, being aware of potential problems, and properly loading the dryer are all jobs that anyone who uses a dryer can and should do. Therefore, it’s vital that you educate your family or co-workers on dryer safety so that everyone can work together to prevent a clothes dryer fire. At Monster Vac, we’d be happy to help you better understand what you can do to prevent dryer fire danger.