With spring in the air, it’s time to think about spring cleaning. Why not include dryer maintenance on your list this year?
Hundreds of household fires are started each year in the province as a direct result of dryer maintenance. Operating a clothing dryer is a must-have for most homes, and their proper care is crucial to the overall safety of your home.
When drying clothes, lint naturally accumulates. Unfortunately, lint is an extremely combustible material, and when it gathers and combines with reduced airflow, it creates an excellent opportunity for a fire.
According to Ontario’s Office of the Fire Marshall, all clothes dryers are required to be vented to the outdoors using ‘a short length of rigid or flexible metal ducting.’ In the past, it was very common for dryers to be located in basements and on an outside wall, reducing the length of venting. With newer homes and condos, dryers are often located on main floors and against inside walls, meaning the venting must be longer and requires more bends and turns to reach the outside. This can cause a build-up of lint and makes it more difficult to clean.
Some warning signs that your dryer might be at risk for a fire is that your clothes are taking an in ordinarily long time to dry, or your dried clothes are hotter than usual after the drying cycle, or if your vent flapper doesn’t open. Keep in mind that you may not have any warning signals, but your dryer still could be at risk.
Whether your dryer is located in your basement or on your main floor, here are some simple tips for reducing your risk for a dryer fire:
- Clean your lint screen after every load. Not only will this help reduce your risk, but your clothes will dry faster and your dryer will be more efficient.
- Never leave your dryer going when you are away from home or during the night while you are asleep.
- Have your ducts and dryer interior cleaned every 18 months to 2 years by a professional duct cleaner (depending on your type of dryer, this may be necessary more often. For example, if you have an exhaust that is located at the top of your dryer, lint build up may be more common).
- If your dryer has plastic ducting, you’ll want to get this replaced. When you have your ducts cleaned, the professional can provide some advice on this.
- Never dry clothing that has chemicals, oil or gasoline on the fabric. This also includes cooking oil. Even after washing, these substances can ignite.
- Do not dry natural or synthetic rubber or any materials with foam padding (including bras and bicycle shorts).
And, if you’re looking for a risk free way to reduce costs, remember that there’s nothing as sweet smelling as laundry that’s been dried outside!