There is a little-known cause of home fires that results from a clothes dryer that malfunctions and catches on fire. Now, some people like to make jokes that dryers cause pairs of socks or other garments to disappear forever, but this problem is actually quite serious.

When a dryer operates, it blows hot air while spinning at high rate to evaporate the water from the clothing. This makes the vent of the dryer a very important piece of this appliance, both for operation and for safety. Tiny pieces of material from clothing accumulate as lint and are highly flammable. Because of this home fires due to lack of dryer safety are actually quite common. They most often occur as a result of not cleaning out the lint filter and a mechanical failure that can cause the lint to catch on fire.

Proper maintenance of this vent and dryer safety are very important to prevent fires and keep the appliance operating normally. Here are some tips to make sure the your dryer is in good working order:

  1. The dryer and the vent are fully connected. The dryer can operate without this connection, but this will result in a lot of steam filling the room and there is a high risk of fire and mechanical failure. Make sure these parts are fully connected by checking on the back of the dryer or on the wall behind it.
  2. 2.    There is no restriction of airflow. The dryer vent is flexible and can easily be crushed or kinked when placed against a wall. Any airflow restrictions are a potential fire hazard, so a clean, unobstructed vent is very important.
  3. 3.    The lint from inside the dryer is cleaned out. Cleaning out the lint filter not only helps the dryer work more efficiently, but pieces of lint are highly flammable and if the dryer overheats, this can trigger sparks and cause a serious home fire. Be sure to clean the lint filter after every cycle and put it back into the appliance.
  4. 4.    The area is clean behind the dryer. Since dryers are usually pushed into walls and small spaces, lint and dust tends to build up behind the dryer. This area should be kept free of dust, clothing and other objects as it can get very hot.
  5. 5.    Only clothing items are placed in the dryer. Putting plastic, metal, rubber, or foam pieces can contribute to a dryer safety issues. In addition, if clothes in the washing machine have had flammable substances spilled on them such as gasoline, they should not be placed in the dryer.

Lately, make sure to have a working smoke detector in the laundry room as a precaution. By following these dryer safety tips you’ll greatly reduce any problems that could occur and also have a more efficient appliance.

For more information read the article Dryer Vent Safety.