Tips to keep your clothes--and your home--from going up in smoke
East County News Service
July 28, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 15,500 fires associated with clothes dryers occur annually, causing an average of 10 deaths, 310 injuries and more than $84.4 million in property damage. A lack of maintenance, buildup of lint, placing inappropriate items in the dryer and inadequate venting are frequently cited as contributing factors.
Clothes Dryer DOs:
• DO clean the lint screen/filter before or after drying EACH load of clothes.
• DO clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct periodically.
• DO have a certified service technician clean and inspect the dryer and venting system regularly.
• DO replace plastic or vinyl exhaust hoses with rigid or flexible metal venting, which provides maximum airflow.
• DO keep the area around the dryer clean and free from clutter.
• Always use the appropriate electrical outlet for dryers and all major appliances.
Clothes Dryer DON'Ts:
• DON'T place clothing or fabric stained with a flammable substance, such as alcohol, cooking oils, gasoline, spot removers or motor oil, in the dryer. Flammable substances give off vapors that could ignite or explode. Instead, dry the materials outdoors.
• DON'T leave a dryer operating if you are not home.
• DON'T forget to read the manufacturer warnings in the user manual and on the inside of the dryer door.
• DON'T dry any item containing foam, rubber or plastic, such as bathroom and non-slip rugs and athletic shoes.
• DON'T dry any item that contains glass fiber materials, such as a blouse or sweater with glass buttons or decorations.
• DON'T overload the dryer with wet clothes.
Always install and maintain a working smoke detector in the area of the clothes dryer in addition to others in the home.