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Friday, July 11, 2014

Closing the door on dryer fires

Thursday, February 7, 2008

You could be heating up more than clothes in your laundry room.

Each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association, the most frequent causes of these fires are improper ventilation and/or poor maintenance, which allows lint to accumulate. When lint covers heaters, switches and motors in the dryer, fires can result.

The following are tips to avoid this:

* Avoid leaving the dryer running when away from your home,

* Clean the lint trap after every use,

* Don't dry oily rags in your dryer,

* Ensure that the dryer is plugged into an outlet suitable for its electrical needs, and

* Keep the dryer area free of combustibles such as clothing and boxes.

Adequate ventilation is key to not only the safety, but the performance of your dryer as well.

The dryer duct should vent directly outdoors, not into an attic, crawl space, or indoors.

Ducts should be kept free of lint and combustible debris to prevent a fire from spreading outside of the dryer.

Use only metal dryer ducts. Plastic ducts may collapse, causing blockage and lint build up within the dryer. Plastic ducts may ignite or melt, and will not contain a fire within the dryer.

Follow the manufacturers' suggestions on the length of ducting you should use, since appliances are tested and certified according to certain specifications. Make sure to consult your owners manual for more information.

Hot spots

While there are no sure signs that your dryer may catch fire, the following some possible warning signs of trouble:

* Clothes, especially towels or jeans, take a long time to dry,

* Clothes are hotter than usual at the end of cycle, and

* The flapper on the vent hood won't open when the dryer is on.

Consider having a professional disassemble your dryer to clean the lint and debris covering the heaters, switches, and motors in your dryer and help prevent fires from occurring.