Monday, July 6, 2009

Preventing Dryer Fires

Following is great information on how to reduce your risk of dryer fires. I received this article from one of my clients, Moss Building & Design, in Chantilly, VA. Moss is a specialist in custom residential remodeling.

How a clean dryer can do more than clean your clothes…it can save your life!

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that in one year alone, clothes dryers are on average associated with 15,600 fires, which result in 20 deaths and 370 injuries. Fires can occur when lint builds up in the dryer or in the exhaust duct. Lint can block the flow of air, cause excessive heat build-up and result in a fire in some dryers. These easy steps will show you how to protect your family and your home.

  • Clean the lint screen/filter before or after drying each load of clothes. If clothing is still damp at the end of a typical drying cycle, this may be a sign that the lint screen or the exhaust duct is blocked.
  • Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct periodically. Check the outside dryer vent while it is operating to make sure exhaust air is escaping. If it is not, the vent or the exhaust duct may be blocked. To remove a blockage, it may be necessary to disconnect the exhaust duct from the dryer.
  • Clean behind the dryer where lint can build up. Have a qualified service person clean the interior of the dryer chassis periodically to minimize the amount of lint accumulation. Keep the area around the dryer clean and free of clutter.
  • Replace plastic or foil, accordion-type ducting material with rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct. Most manufacturers specify the use of a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct, which provides maximum airflow. The flexible plastic or foil type duct can more easily trap lint and is more susceptible to kinks or crushing, which can greatly reduce the airflow.
  • Take special care when drying clothes that have been soiled with volatile chemicals such as gasoline, cooking oils, cleaning agents, or finishing oils and stains. If possible, wash the clothing more than once to minimize the amount of volatile chemicals on the clothes and, preferably, hang the clothes to dry. If using a dryer, use the lowest heat setting and a drying cycle that has a cool-down period at the end of the cycle. To prevent clothes from igniting after drying, do not leave the dried clothes in the dryer or piled in a laundry basket.

Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission


Justin Schopp

Moss Building & Design

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