Tumble Dryer safety advice

The recent bad weather has meant lots of households with tumble dryers have probably had them working overtime. As such, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued some timely advice on how to avoid the risk of fire.

Station Manager Graham Kewley said: “Tumble dryers contain powerful motors with fast moving parts that get very hot. If you don’t clean and maintain your machine, excess fluff or lint can build up over time and catch fire.”

There are a number of warning signs to watch out for:

  • Does your tumble dryer smell of burning?
  • Are your textiles taking longer to dry?
  • Do the dried items feel hotter at the end of the cycle?
  • Does the external vent flap stay shut when the dryer is on?

If you notice any of the above, clean the filter and check the vent pipe immediately.

The Service’s other top tips for staying safe include:

  • Always make sure your dryer is in good working order.
  • Follow the manufacturers’ instructions and don’t overload the machine.
  • Use the correct temperature setting for the fabric.
  • Don’t leave the dryer on for longer than you need to.
  • Keep the lint filter clean and ‘defluff’ the vent pipe and the back of the machine regularly. Static electricity can quickly cause a build-up of dust around the ventilation and heating elements, which can then catch fire if it gets hot.
  • Allow laundry to complete the drying cycle and cool down properly. Towels and clothing which are folded and piled up whilst still warm can continue to self-hear and may start a fire.
  • Never use a tumble dryer or washing machine at night when you are asleep.
  • Always switch off electrical equipment when not in use unless specifically designed to be kept on, such as a fridge or freezer.
  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm, test regularly and know how to get out in an emergency.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service offers free Safe & Well visits – to request a check, or for more information about being fire safe at home, visit www.dwfire.org.uk or call 0800 038 2323.

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