According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 15,000 fires are caused by dryers every year. Considering that your dryer operates at nearly 300 degrees Fahrenheit, it is important to take certain safety precautions.

How Fires Start

Fires occur when lint accumulates and air flow is restricted. Lint is a common ingredient in most fire starters, because it is highly combustible. However, this is not something you want in a contained environment like you laundry room. The position of the dryer in your home can also increase your chances of fire. Dryers that are located near an exterior wall will have less ventilation to run through. More ventilation means a greater potential for lint to collect inside the ducts on its way out. It also forces your dryer to work harder to push air through the ventilation. All these factors can contribute to a potential fire hazard. If your laundry takes longer than normal to dry, it may be a sign that the ventilation is clogged. Remember, never run your dryer when you are away from home or asleep in case a fire does start.

Routine Maintenance

There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of dryer fires. The first, and most obvious, is to clean out your lint trap regularly. Use a lint brush and vacuum attachment to get lint under the trap. Keep the area around the dryer clear. Lint and dust can accumulate behind and around the unit, especially if it is in an enclosed closet space. Check to make sure the ventilation ducts are not kinked. This can happen if the dryer is moved and can impair the airflow. Keep external dryer vents clear of obstructions. When the dryer is not in operation, remove the external vent if possible and check for debris. It is not uncommon for small birds and insects to try to make their homes inside dryer vents.

Professional Service

Experts suggest regular inspections of your dryer by trained professionals. Depending on your usage, it is recommended to have your dryer inspected every 1-2 years. A trained professional can properly clean your dryer vents and exhaust, saving you money on power in the long run. When searching for heating and cooling services in Minneapolis, find professionals whoare properly licensed and insured.