Dryer fires are a common risk in-home laundry rooms, but they can be easily prevented. Dryer safety should be a priority in your house. Dryer fires are more common than you might think, with over 25,000 dryer fires reported annually.
Many of these fires occur because clothes aren’t removed from the dryer promptly after the completion of a drying cycle or because lint builds up inside the dryer and ignites.
Additionally, older models often have a low risk of fire because they lack modern safety features such as moisture sensors and thermostat cutoff switches. Newer models usually feature technology that helps reduce the risk of fire and lint buildup.
This article will explore how you can increase your safety while using your drier by keeping it clean and ensuring that it has updated safety features.
Check the Venting Before You Start Drying
Before drying anything, be sure that the venting is clear of debris. This includes loose lint, pet hair, or other debris that can cause a fire hazard. If the area is particularly dusty, it might be best to do your drying outside or in a utility room where the dust won’t be an issue.
It’s key to check the venting before starting the drying cycle. Even with a clear vent, you should always be careful when drying items that generate a lot of static (such as synthetic materials).
It’s a good idea to check the outside of the venting at least once a year to look for signs of wear and tear. This can include loose or broken pieces of the exterior vents or ducts, mold, or other debris. If you notice any of these issues, seek help from a professional in repairing or cleaning the system.
Install a Dryer Safety Vent Timer
If you have a gas dryer, an easy way to reduce the risk of fire is to install a dryer vent timer. These are simple devices that turn off the dryer a few minutes before the end of the cycle.
This allows the clothes to finish drying but cuts off the gas before they have a chance to ignite. Dryer timers are particularly helpful for families with small children or pets. Small children may forget to open the dryer door and release the clothes promptly.
While this is a natural part of growing up, it can lead to an increased risk of fire because the clothing stays in the dryer for too long. If you have pets, they may try to sneak in and hide in the dryer. A dryer timer can help protect against this type of accident.
- Does an Electric Dryer Produce Carbon Monoxide?
- How to unhook a gas dryer safely
- How to Wash Shoes in the Washing Machine
Add a Lint Screen
A lint screen is one of the most basic ways to reduce the risk of fire while using your dryer. These screens are standard on most models and can be found near the front.
When drying items with a high risk of generating lint (such as synthetic fabrics), it’s best to use a lint screen. Lint screens help prevent lint buildup on the inside of the dryer. As you open the door to remove clothes, it’s also a good idea to remove the lint screen.
Check the screen periodically while you’re drying. If you notice that the screen is very full of lint, stop the cycle and clean the screen before resuming the drying process.
Use Dryer Sheets and Detergent That Releases New Technology Fibers
If at all possible, use dryer sheets that have fabrics containing new technology fibers. These fabrics often have a cotton or polyester core and a special coating that releases tiny polymer fibers as they come into contact with moisture.
When you use dryer sheets, these fabrics release a fine powder that can help reduce the risk of fire and lint buildup. It’s important to note that not all fabric softeners have this feature. If you can, choose a brand that has this protection.
If your laundry room doesn’t allow the use of fabric softeners due to allergies, there are other ways to reduce the risk of fire. For example, you can use an anti-static product like Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus.
Add a Carbon Monoxide Detector
A carbon monoxide detector is an important safety feature in any room with a gas appliance, including the laundry room. Newer models feature an audible alarm that alerts you to potential leaks (like CO).
If you have a gas dryer and are hearing the CO alarm frequently, it indicates that the system is aging and needs to be repaired by a professional. If you have a dryer with a CO detector, be sure to change the batteries annually.
Dryer fires are a common risk in-home laundry rooms, but they can be easily prevented. Before drying anything, be sure that the venting is clear of debris. It’s also a good idea to install a dryer vent timer and use dryer sheets that release new technology fibers.
Additionally, add a carbon monoxide detector to your dryer to protect against potential leaks.