The average family can go through quite a bit of laundry in just one week. I don’t know about you, but it’s not one of my favourite chores. Between sorting, separating colours, folding and ironing, laundry can take up quite a bit of precious time. You have enough on your “to-do” list and the last thing you want to add to it is regular maintenance of your clothes dryer. But, it’s a must — for your safety, for your family’s safety, and the safety of your home. Dryer fires can and do happen, mostly because of lack of proper maintenance and cleaning. So, take a few moments to get to know the warning signs that it’s time to clean your dryer, and follow these tips to avoid a devastating fire.
5 Warning Signs that it’s Time to Clean Your Clothes Dryer
- Your clothes take a long time to dry.
- The outside of your dryer and your clothes are very hot to the touch at the end of the cycle.
- The vent hood flap doesn’t open properly.
- It’s been longer than a year since your last cleaning.
- You notice heat or humidity build-up around the dryer.
Preventing dryer fires starts at the beginning:
- If possible, have your clothes dryer installed by a professional.
- If you are installing your own dryer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, determine the most direct venting path to the outdoors to reduce the likelihood of lint accumulation.
- Go with shorter and straighter dryer exhaust ducts, since longer, bendy ducts can result in lint buildup.
- Replace plastic venting pipes with flexible aluminum or steel material to sustain proper air flow and avoid crimping. Metal vents resist bending better than plastic which allows the air and lint to be carried out of the dryer.
- Ensure you use the proper electrical outlet for your dryer and don’t use multiple extension cords.
- Make sure that if you install your clothes dryer in a closet-type space or smaller room, that the room has sufficient incoming air for proper operation (refer to the manufacturer’s instructions).
- Be careful about where you install your clothes dryer. Leave adequate clearance space between the dryer and the wall to avoid crushing the venting material.
- Ensure you have working smoke alarms on every floor of your home.
- Always clean the lint trap before or after every use (cleaning kits can be purchased at hardware stores) and wipe away any lint that has accumulated around the filter trap.
- Never operate the dryer with a damaged or missing lint filter.
- Clean the inside of the dryer as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Keep the area around the dryer and the top of the dryer free of combustible items.
- Never use your clothes dryer to dry fabrics that have been saturated by oils, gasoline or chemicals and rubber-coated or foam materials. Use caution when drying new towels, wool items, or fleece clothing as they shed plenty of lint.
- Don’t overload your dryer.
- Always follow your owner’s manual for the proper operating instructions.
- Do not leave the dryer running unattended or if you’re not at home.
- Ensure the exhaust duct is free of crimps to avoid becoming clogged with lint.
- Clean the exhaust line a couple times a year as lint can get trapped in it and make sure the outdoor vent flap opens easily.
- Hire a professional to service your dryer once a year.
A little maintenance can go a long way. Be proactive and get cleaning today!
Any tips to add? Share them in the comments below.