Clothes Dryer Fire Prevention
Approximately 4% of house fires are caused by appliances and of the fires caused by clothes dryers about 35% of those fires are caused by not keeping the appliance clean.
When lint builds up it restricts the air flow. This causes the dryer to work harder and run hotter. Newer appliances have some safety features that older appliances did not, but that does not permit you to neglect your appliance. Two very simple things a homeowner can do to reduce risk of fire is to clean the lint trap after each load and make sure the exhaust is not plugged.
Stop using plastic flexible exhaust pipe!
Just because you can buy this garbage at any hardware store, does not mean it is appropriate or safe to use.
There are a few things that are dangerous about this setup. First is my pet peeve, the flexible dryer vent. Even worse is the use of the plastic flexible vent. All those ridges provide an opportunity for lint to collect and rarely does anyone disconnect the vent to inspect and clean. To make matters worse, the part you cant see is how the plastic vent pipe dips down and then comes back up before exiting the home. That dip will definitely trap lint!
Always use solid smooth exhaust pipe whenever possible. If you have to use flexible pipe, keep the length as short as possible and don’t allow it to sag by supporting it wherever it is needed.
Do as I say and not as I do!
So yes, I am preaching to you to keep your lint trap clean and I am admitting I did not follow my own advice. Last night my dryer quit heating up. After pulling it apart to diagnose a defective heating element I was shocked to see just how much lint was built up inside the dryer’s blower motor.
Just look at how compacted the lint is. Its not a wonder why the drying time was taking longer that usual. The extra time and heat required to dry the clothes was no doubt a contributing factor to the heating element I now have to replace.
If you are not comfortable with attempting your own maintenance there is no shame in hiring a professional to clean and maintain your appliances. It will extend their life and greatly reduce the risk of fire caused by neglect.
For more tips on fire prevention click on this link from Fire Prevention Canada