Heavy woollen and fleece clothes may help Canadians keep warm during long and frosty winters, but many people don’t realize that they carry a hidden hazard: when tumbled in the dryer, they shed lots of lint that can pack into cavities and dryer exhaust vents to increase the risk of fire.

At Paul Davis we see all too often the extensive damage that a vent fire can produce, so we created this list of do’s and don’ts to avoid a dryer fire.

Do’s of dryer maintenance

  • Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry.
  • Verify that the air exhaust vent pipe is unobstructed.
  • Confirm that the outdoor vent flap opens when the dryer is operating.
  • Clean the vent pipe every three months to remove excess dryer lint.
  • Make sure to turn off your dryer if you leave home or go to bed.
  • Check the vent system behind the dryer to ensure that it isn’t kinked or ripped.
  • Always remove items from pockets before putting clothing in the dryer.

Don’ts of dryer maintenance

  • Overload your dryer.
  • Use your dryer without the lint filter.
  • Use your dryer to dry items with rubber backs (like a bath mat).
  • Use your dryer to dry items that come in contact with flammable liquids like gasoline or alcohol.

These tips help ensure that your dryer stays in proper working order. Consider printing these tips and sticking them on a wall near your dryer as a reminder – it’s better to be safe than to risk a fire. Also, periodically check your dryer’s electrical cord for wear and breakage; mechanical and electrical failures can also cause dryer fires.