Clothes Dryer Safety Tips
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that there are over 15,500 fires annually from clothes dryers. This is no surprise considering that 80 percent (81.5 million) U.S. residences have this convenience in their home. Unfortunately, these fires account for scores of personal injuries and cause millions in property damage each year. We know you don’t want to give up your dryer, so we’ve gathered some simple things you can do to protect your home and family from clothes dryer hazards.
Do´s & Don´ts
- Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry. Also, do not forget to clean the area behind the dryer where lint can get trapped as well.
- Hire a qualified service technician to clean the interior of the dryer and venting system on a periodic basis. Should you notice that it is taking your dryer longer to dry your clothes, clean the vent system immediately to ensure that air flows properly through the unit.
- Replace plastic or vinyl exhaust hoses with metal venting.
- Do not dry clothing or fabrics that contain flammable solutions such as alcohol, cooking oils,, gasoline, spot removers and dry cleaning solvents. These substances give off vapors that can ignite and explode. Instead, wash the garments of fabrics first to remove the solutions and then dry them.
- Read the manufacturer´s instructions carefully and follow all of the safety instructions.
Causes of Fire
Lack of maintenance is the number one reason for dryer fires, according to Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a respected product testing organization. When consumers do not clean the lint traps or vent systems, they are running risk of fire. This is due, in part, to lint buildup in the screen or other areas around the dryer, which reduces airflow. This causes the dyer to work poorly, operate at higher temperatures and potentially overheat.
Consumers are also at risk if they place items in dryers that are not meant to be dried, such as foam-backed rugs and athletic shoes.
The CPSC, UL and the Home Appliance Manufacturers work together to reduce the number of dryer fires. In recent years, the UL has changed its standards for electric dryers to recommend that consumers not only clean lint traps regularly, but also the lint from around the lint screen and routing wiring. For more information on dryer maintenance, visit www.ul.com.
Know your coverage, know your risk