Fire marshal releases safety tips for clothes dryers

The state fire marshal reminded residents Monday to follow several safety tips for clothes dryers.

Most home fires caused by clothes dryers can be eliminated by regular maintenance and cleaning of the appliance and the attached vent ducting, fire marshal Brian Geraci said.

Geraci said residents should:

Clean the lint filter before or after each use to allow proper airflow.

Never operate the dryer without the lint filter in place.

Check the outside vent housing and remove any obstructions.

Specialized brushes are available to reach into the area beneath the lint screen and the vent pipe.

Consider having a qualified professional service the appliance at least once a year to ensure peak performance and efficiency.

Keep the area around the dryer clean and free of combustible items.

Make sure the dryer is plugged into an appropriate outlet designed for your appliance.

If you are drying items that were previously contaminated with volatile chemicals such as gasoline, motor oil, cooking oils or other types of combustible liquids, remove the items soon after the drying cycle ends.   Avoid stacking them together until the items have cooled off.

Replace plastic and thin foil accordion-type vent ducting with rigid or semi- rigid metal duct.  Plastic and thin foil ducting can more easily trap lint, which reduces airflow and presents a potential fire hazard.

If you leave your home, turn off the dryer.

Don’t overload the dryer. 

When in doubt, review the owner's manual for proper safety measures.

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