The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that annually dryers are associated with 22,000 home fires which result in some deaths and injuries. Fires can occur when lint builds up in the dryer or exhaust duct thus blocking the air flow.Reduced air flow causes excessive heat buildup that can result in a fire.
How to prevent fires?
- Clean the dryer lint screen/filter before drying a load of clothes. If clothing is damp after drying or the drying cycle is taking much too long, then this may be a sign of blocked air flow.
- Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct to the exterior of home annually. Check the exhaust termination on the exterior wall for proper operation; the termination must be free of lint, with no screen and a flapper that operates to prevent animal entry. Monitor dryer air flow out of the exhaust termination with the dryer operating normally. If you do not feel significant air flow, the duct system may be partially blocked, or the duct is too long.
- Check the User’s Guide to ensure the duct is the correct length. If blocked, have it evaluated and cleaned appropriately.
- Clean around dryer and under dryer periodically to remove lint build up. Ensure that flammable materials are not stored around the dryer.
- Replace plastic accordion type duct connector from dryer to wall with rigid metal or semi-rigid metalized duct.Also, ducts from dryer to exterior of home should have a slight slope downward (with no dips) to avoid collecting water and thus trapping lint.
- Take special care when drying clothes that have been soiled with volatile chemicals such as gasoline, cooking oils, cleaning agents, finishing oils or stains. Wash this type of soiled clothing more than once before drying and dry it on the lowest heat possible.
For additional information consult the web at https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/5022.pdf