A Fire In Your Dryer Is More Common Than You Think
Did you know that laundry room clothes dryers are the cause of around 15,000 house fires across North America every year? It is essential, therefore, to put this hard-working appliance on your springtime to-do list. “The reality is that dryer fires are fairly preventable with proper maintenance and safety precautions,” says Ryan Michel, senior vice president and chief risk officer at Allstate Canada.
Most people know you should clean the lint trap after every dryer use and shouldn’t overload your machine. However, here are six other tips you can follow to ensure it is operating safely:
1. Don’t leave your dryer running if you’re not a home.
2. Make sure there’s proper ventilation for dryers located in closets or enclosed rooms.
3. Never operate your dryer with a damaged or missing lint filter.
4. Keep the area around the dryer free of combustible items.
5. Never dry fabrics that have been saturated by oils, gasoline or chemicals. And don’t put rubber coated or foam items in your dryer either.
6. Always refer to the owner’s manual for proper operating instructions.
And once a year be sure to:
• Hire a professional to service your dyer.
• Check that the dryer duct is clear of lint and connected to a vent outdoors. This can also help to reduce energy costs.
• Replace plastic venting pipes with flexible aluminum or steel material to sustain proper airflow and avoid crimping.
“Every family should have a fire prevention plan in place,” Michel adds, “and dryer maintenance and proper use of it should be a key component.”
Spring is also the perfect time of year to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and CO detectors, and to ensure that you have one on each floor of your home. Also be sure to have an exit plan in place for emergency evacuation during a fire and make sure every member of your family is aware of the plan. Additional information on fire prevention is available at www.allstate.ca/learningcentre.