Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dryer Safety

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that there are 15,000 clothes dryer fires per year. The result of these fires are material losses, injuries and even death. 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.

To help prevent fires follow these helpful tips:
· Clean the lint screen/filter before each load of clothes. It is so easy to forget to do this each time. A small reminder sign near or on the dryer itself is a good idea. Be aware of clothing that is still damp at the end of a typical drying cycle or drying requires longer times than normal, this may be a sign that the lint screen or the exhaust duct is blocked. Your high utility bill can be an additional signal.
· Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct periodically – A good rule of thumb is once a year. Check the outside dryer vent while the dryer is operating to make sure exhaust air is escaping. If it is not, the vent or the exhaust duct may be blocked. Many times the damper is actually stuck. To remove a blockage in the exhaust path, it may be necessary to disconnect the exhaust duct from the dryer.
· Clean behind the dryer, where lint can build up. Also clean the interior of the dryer chassis to prevent lint build up. Always use a
qualified service person to clean the dryer’s interior vent system.
· Replace plastic or foil, accordion-type ducting material with an approved fire resistant duct. Flexible plastic and foil type ducts are susceptible to kinks and can trap lint causing heat build up - A potential fire hazard! Most manufacturers specify the use of a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct, which provides maximum airflow.
· Take special care when drying clothes that have been soiled with volatile chemicals. Clothes that have come in contact with gasoline, cooking oils, cleaning products, or paint solvents can be combustible. If possible, wash the clothing several times to minimize the amount of volatile chemicals on the clothes and 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.