Taking care of a dryer is necessary for it to function correctly and for safety because dryers can become a fire hazard if they aren’t maintained. One in every 22 house fires are the result of a dirty, neglected dryer. These numbers will continue to rise unless homeowners start taking care of their dryers. This is the best way to prevent a fire that can start because of your dryer.
How Do Dryer Fires Start?
Years of accumulating dust, lint and clothing fibers in a neglected dryer and exhaust hoses is dangerous. Dryers use high temperatures to get your clothes dry and these high temperatures can get even higher when air cannot circulate properly. When overheating occurs, it can be all that needed to ignite the lint that is blocking the airflow. It’s very easy to prevent this from happening and will help you save money on operating costs and it will last longer too. When a dryer is properly maintained it will run more efficiently and allow your clothes to dry faster and use less energy.
Dryer Maintenance Tips
1. Empty the filter. Your dryer has a lint trap or lint screen that collects a lot of the lint from your clothes during the drying process. It’s important to clean this filter after every load to ensure proper airflow and to prevent the dryer from overheating.
2. Vacuum the dryer. It’s a good idea to vacuum around the area where the lint filter sits because stray clumps can get past the filter. The dryer should also be pulled away from the wall to vacuumed under it and behind it because lint can act like kindling if a fire should start.
3. Clean the inside of the dryer. It’s also a good idea to vacuum and clean the internal workings of your dryer every one to three years, but only if it’s easy to access. Make sure you unplug the dryer to avoid electrocution.
4. Make sure the dryer is vented outside. Check to make sure the dryer isn’t vented to the attic or another space inside your home because it must be vented to the outside. You will need a professional to do this.
5. Check the exterior exhaust vent. Turn the dryer on and go outside to where the dryer is vented. You should be able to see air getting out. If not, make sure the exhaust vent isn’t blocked by debris. If you still notice restricted airflow, there may be a clog too deep for you to take care of. You will need to hire professionals to take care of it.
6. Upgrade the vent hose. The vent hose should be upgraded if it’s made of white vinyl. Replace it with an aluminum hose because the older vinyl ones don’t meet current US federal safety standards.
7. Watch the drying time. If you notice your clothes taking longer to dry, it’s an indication that the dryer is getting clogged. Clean the lint filter and the rest of the dryer as soon as you can to reduce any risk of fire. You may need to replace your dryer if this doesn’t work.