With a few simple safety tips, you can help prevent a clothes dryer fire. Once upon a time long ago everyone took their freshly washed clothes outside and hung them on the line to dry. With clothespins in hand and the warm summer sun beaming down most homemakers let nature do the drying for them. Now we have modern clothes dryers that take all the work out of the process and make things easier on us all, especially in cold or wet months.
In order to keep our dryers in top-performing condition so that we don’t have to go back to hangin’ clothes on the line, there are a few things we should be doing to maintain our appliances.
Clean Your Filter… Every…Load
Tackle the easy maintenance item after every load. We all know that dryer filters should be cleaned after each use but how often are you skipping it? Even if you clear it out after each use, your filter may still be clogged if you use fabric softener sheets in the dryer.
Test your dryer filter by clearing it of lint, then pouring a small amount of water onto the filter screen. If the water pools up instead of flowing through the screen, wash the screen in warm, soapy water using a brush. Rinse, retest, and repeat until the water flows through. Then you’re all set!
2. Maintain Your Drum
The dryer drum usually doesn’t need cleaning unless you’re drying a load of hairy pet items or a pillow that explodes. In those cases, try to shake the hair and grit off the articles before tossing them into the dryer. After the load is dry, wipe out the drum with a damp cloth to remove hair and grit or anything else that may be in there.
Should lipstick, gum, crayon, etc. accidentally find their way into your dryer, it’s OK to scream. After you cool down, however, follow this advice from Debra Johnson, the national home cleaning expert at Merry Maids.
“Get the stuff off by warming the dryer for a few minutes. (Toss in a couple of old towels or rags first.) Remove the excess by scraping it off with a hard rubber spatula. Tackle the remaining residue by wiping the area with a cloth dampened with a small amount of laundry detergent and hot water. Use a dry cloth to remove any excess water or suds,” she said.
3. Clean Your Dryer Vent Annually
Dryer exhaust vents should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year depending on the size of the household and dryer usage. In a normal household with standard use, once a year is adequate.
Dryer vents accumulate highly flammable lint, and failure to clean out lint is the leading cause of dryer fires. According to the National Fire Protection Agency. A plugged dryer vent can also burn out the heating element and cause you to have expensive repairs.
A telltale sign that the dryer vent needs cleaning is that clothes take longer and longer to dry. Have you noticed that you have to restart your load to get them dry all the way or are you having to dry smaller loads?
When it takes 2-3 cycles to dry a load of towels, it’s time to check things out. Another indication of poor or obstructed venting is that the dryer’s external cabinet or its control area is hotter than usual. If that happens, disconnect the dryer and check the vent immediately.
If you find that you have a clog or it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your dryer vent, give us a call. Here at Daffy Ducts, we are CRAZY ABOUT YOU! Our mission is to inspire trust in our customers, partners, and teammates by providing a simple and seamless service experience from start to finish by being attentive, informative, caring, and clean! We began our journey to become experts in-home air quality and dryer vent safety in 2007 and have been getting bigger and better ever since!
Our service offerings include duct cleaning, dryer vent cleaning, blown-in attic insulation, and whole-home air purification with even more to come. We service residential (single-family & multi-family) and commercial customers and with our headquarters centrally located in Snellville, GA. We invest heavily in our team members with industry-leading training and certifications and top-of-the-line equipment. Our employees SHOW CARE every day, putting safety first and working with passion and integrity. We are proud to serve our community and to show how we are CRAZY ABOUT YOU!
4. Keep it Clean!
The lifecycle of your appliance will be longer if you keep the outside clean as well as the inside. I have found that if you add cleaning your washer and dryer to your regular home cleaning schedule your units will last longer. Cleaning includes:
- Clearing away anything that may be on top of, in between, or around the units. This creates adequate airflow and allows your dryer to cool down more efficiently.
- Wipe everything down. Don’t let dust, debris, and lint build up on your appliances so the finish stays new longer.
- Clean underneath them. Lots of dirt and lint can get stuck under the unit and become a fire hazard.
- Check your duct connection, make sure that your dryer vent has little to no bend in it before the connection to the wall, and make sure the connection is secure.
Facts About Dryer Fire
- Approximately 2,900 home clothes dryer fire occur each year, resulting in 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property damage.
- There is 34 percent of home clothes dryer fire caused by not cleaning the dryer.
- Fall and winter are the seasons when there is more clothes dryer fire at home, with January being the most common.
With these simple tips, your dryer will have a much longer life cycle than if it is neglected and your family will be much safer. As always if you have any questions or concerns about maintaining any appliance it is BEST to call a professional for advice before moving forward.