Stop Dryer Fires Before They Start
The following article was taken from AAA Mountain West. Normally we don't repost articles in whole, but the message was so simple and positive that we thought that it should be shared. Cudos to AAA Mountain West for providing personal risk management information to its customers.
Dryer Fires and How to Prevent Them
In most homes, the clothes dryer has become an indispensable part of family living; and for families with children, laundry often seems never-ending. But, many families don’t know that clothes dryers can be a leading cause of fires in the home – approximately 15,000 every year. At UL (Underwriters Laboratories), they rigorously inspect, certify and test dryers while they are still in the factory to ensure that safety standards are met. Once you bring them home, a little preventative maintenance can keep them in good working order.
Clean the lint trap before and after drying each load of clothes.
Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can be trapped.
The interior of the dryer and venting system should be cleaned periodically by qualified service personnel. If you notice the drying time is longer, clean the vent system thoroughly to ensure proper airflow.
Replace plastic or vinyl exhaust hoses with rigid or flexible metal venting.
Do not dry clothing/fabric on which there is anything flammable (alcohol, cooking oils, gasoline, spot removers, dry-cleaning solvents, etc.). Flammable substances give off vapors that could ignite or explode.
Don’t forget to read manufacturers’ warnings in use and care manuals that accompany new dryers. Also, warning markings can usually be found on the inside of the dryer’s lid and take only minutes to read.
Clothes dryers can be found in 80 percent, or 81.5 million homes throughout the United States.
A full load of wet clothes placed in a dryer contains about one half gallon of water. As water is removed, lint is created from the clothes.
Clothes dryers are one of the most expensive appliances in your home to operate. The longer it runs the more money it costs you.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that 15,500 fires associated with clothes dryers occur annually. These fires account for an average of 10 deaths and 310 injuries and more than $84.4 million in property damage annually.
On a positive note, the number of clothes dryer fires has dropped by 35 percent from the 24,000 fires that occurred annually, on average, in the late 1970s.