Many people have inadvertently burned our hand or arm while removing clothes from a hot dryer, so it isn’t a stretch to conclude that anything that can heat up to such a degree may also be fully capable of triggering a fire. The clothes dryer has become a staple of almost every home or apartment complex in the country, an indispensible part of our lives when it comes to keeping clothes cleaned and ready to wear.
Add to that the fact that fabric and lint are tossing around inside this superheated unit, and you end up wondering why we don’t hear about dryer-related fires more often.
Make yourself aware of them. Take a few seconds and familiarize yourself with them If there is a chance that the clothing item contains flammable materials such as alcohol, gasoline, spot removers, or cleaning solvents, do not risk exposing them to the high temperatures found in many drying cycles. Know what is on your clothing before putting it in your dryer.
Many flammable substances generate vapors that could not only cause a fire, but trigger an explosion. A saturated lint trap can easily catch fire if left unattended for too long. The less lint trapped in your dryer, the better off you will be. Be sure to clean the lint traps in your dryer between loads, and that alone will go a long way towards preventing fire problems.
Read the owners’ manual. In addition, look behind the dryer where lint can become trapped (this is something that most of us do not do). The manufacturer has put together a list of warnings for your benefit. Warning markings are also located on the interior of the dryer door. The good news is that dryer fires can be avoided with little or no interruption to your daily routine.
Fortunately, improvements in industry standards and manufacturers’ quality control have helped cut down the number of occurrences of dryer-related fires by about 35% since the late 1970s. This means that the filters and vents are becoming clogged and not doing their job effectively. Providing proper service and maintenance of your dryer can significantly cut down on the chances for an unexpected blaze
Plastic or vinyl hoses are also fire hazards and should be replaced by heavy duty flexible metal hoses. Have the interior of the dryer as well as the venting system professionally cleaned by a qualified service technician every year or so. You will know it is time for such maintenance when you start noticing longer than average drying times.