Did you know that laundry room clothes dryers are the cause of approximately 15,000 fires in North America every year? This comes as quite a surprise to most people.
“The reality is that dryer fires are fairly preventable with proper maintenance and safety precautions,” says Ryan Michel, a senior executive with insurance firm, Allstate Canada.
Most of us are aware that regular cleaning of the lint trap after every dryer use is a good way to maintain your appliance, but it may not be enough. This fall season might be a great time to put this hard working appliance on your to-do list.
Here are 8 helpful tips to help get you started:
1. Avoid leaving your dryer running if you’re not at home.
2. Make sure there’s proper ventilation for dryers located in closets or enclosed rooms.
3. Never operate your dryer with a damaged or missing lint filter.
4. Keep the area around the dryer free of combustible items.
5. Never dry fabrics that have been saturated by oils, gasoline or chemicals.
6. Consider installing a carbon monoxide alarm in your home if using a natural gas or propane dryer.
7. Avoid placing dry natural or synthetic rubber, rubber-coated sneakers, galoshes, foam pillows or any garment with foam padding (eg. blouses with shoulder pads, bras, bicycle shorts).
8. Finally, always refer to the owner’s manual for proper operating instructions.
To go a few steps further, I would encourage you to consider the following at least once per year:
• Hire a professional to service your dryer.
• Check that the dryer duct is clear of lint and connected to a vent outdoors. This can also help to reduce energy costs.
• Replace plastic venting pipes with flexible aluminum or steel material to sustain proper airflow and avoid crimping.
“Every family should have a fire prevention plan in place,” Michel adds, “and dryer maintenance and proper use of it should be a key component.”
Fall is also the perfect season to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Also, be sure to have an exit plan in place for emergency evacuation during a fire and make sure every member of your family is aware of the plan. Talk soon!