In our small community we have had two destructive house fires in the last few weeks. Both fires got started at a natural gas powered clothes dryer that overheated.
In one fire a woman sleeping in an upstairs bed room died. I’ve seen the house, it is a total loss.
In the other fire a smoke alarm and quick action by the home owner saved lives and limited the damage to the laundry room. The home owner did the right things, he got everyone out of the house and called 911 and then shut off the gas. The fire crew arrived very quickly and got the fire out.
That second fire was in our neighborhood so it had us all talking about it. My Navy veteran neighbor said that over half of all Navy shipboard fires start in the laundry compartment, at the dryers.
To prevent fires we need to keep the vent duct that blows hot air out of your dryer clear so the air can move freely. Lint from your clothes collects in the vent ducts. If allowed to build up the air flow gets choked off. That makes heat build up to where the lint starts to burn.
Lint from manmade clothing fibers burns like a hydrocarbon fuel, hot and Smokey.
To do its job a clothes dryer needs a good flow of warm dry air passing through the tumbling clothes. When the air flow gets choked off the dryer has to run longer to get the clothes dry, wasting energy. Good air flow is what keeps the warm air from getting too hot and igniting a fire.
My Navy neighbor takes the duct off his gas dryer and cleans it every 3 months. The flex duct and the outlet fittings through the house wall needs to be check and lint removed to keep the air way clear.
At our house the electric dryer was a full year old when I first check for lint build up. It was minimal but there was enough that I was glad I cleaned it out. I’ve added an appointment to my calendar to clean the drier duct and check my smoke detectors twice a year.
Get this task done for your safety and to keep your dryer running efficiently.
I have to give my wife credit for doing the right thing. Whenever we are about to leave the house she makes sure the washer and dryer are shut off in the laundry area so we don’t come home to a fire or flood.