In recent weeks, there have been widespread reports of tumble dryers catching fire in UK homes, destroying property and endangering the lives of many families. Automatic recalls are currently being imposed for repairs, but in the meantime we wanted to do our bit to ensure your dryer performs as safely as you would expect.
What’s Causing the Fires?
A selection of dryers, sold under the brands of Creda, Hotpoint, Indesit, and Whirlpool over the last 11 years, have been identified as having a fault in which excess lint from previous washes can come into contact with the heating element, therefore risking fire. The faults have prompted safety notices on both the Hotpoint & Indesit websites.
Within the four brands involved, there are reportedly 5.3 million affected tumble dryers, of which, around 750 have caused fires since 2004. While that is a very small number of cases in relation to the affected number, it still requires resolving. Should you own a tumble dryer from these brands, it is advised to get in touch with the manufacturer and find out if yours needs repairing.
Whether you have an affected model or not there are some easy-to-follow instructions to keep your tumble dryer working at its best without risking fire. It’s important for all owners to remember when running one regularly that, being electrical devices that produce hot air, tumble dryers exhaust a lot of heat and should be taken care of. Our top tips for keeping yours running smoothly include:
1. Ventilation, Ventilation, Ventilation
Tumble Dryers produce heat from their ventilation ports when in use. The tendency of many tumble dryer owners is to place theirs in an enclosed space with no room for the hot air to escape during a cycle. A heavily used dryer, placed in such an environment, could at some point suffer a blowout of its motor, the burning of wires or even produce enough heat to impact surrounding surfaces. Give your tumble dryer room to breathe while it’s at work.
2. Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness
The front of every tumble dryer contains a tray which collects the lint from each load. These trays are very easy to remove and empty into the bin. Before every load, it is vitally important to empty the tray as a build-up of lint over many washes can create an exceptional risk. What may seem like an unassuming tray of fluff could be the very cause of a large fire.
3. Having a Kink Is Not Okay!
Ventilation has already been mentioned in this list, but it cannot be stressed enough that keeping your machine cool while running hot is a huge fire risk reduction. Part of that ventilation system is the ventilation pipe. These pipes are the wide, ribbed pipes providing the main source of hot air escape. Not only should the end of these pipes find an open area to ventilate into, they should also contain no kinks or damage that can stop them doing their job. If your tumble dryer pipe has seen better days, replace it for a fresh one.
4. Do Not Overfeed
While your dryer may certainly earn it’s keep by enjoying a full load of clothes, it is important to never purposely overfill a machine (there is such a thing as too much). There will be guidelines in your manual or even on the machine itself to explain what constitutes too much. Overfilling can affect the overall temperature and of course a build-up of hot fabric which while working could present a risk of fire.
5. Supervision Is Advised
A common oversight by both tumble dryer and washing machine owners alike, is to switch the machine on as the final task of the day before heading off to bed. The washing machine is less of a fire risk, leaving the tumble dryer unattended however could prove fatal should any of the above (or other) problems occur and a fire starts. You do not necessarily have to remain in the same room as your dryer for the duration of its cycle; but it is strongly advised you do not leave yours on overnight at the risk of endangering the household and the family.
Whether your machine is from the affected brands or not, old or new, in your kitchen or elsewhere, please use yours responsibly and keep all fire risks at bay. Always remember, these types of fires are not usually electrical fires. The best way to avoid your tumble dryer catching fire is to keep it clean and always load it with a sensible amount of clothing or linen. Other fires and faults that are the result of product design itself are incidents where Sincere Law can step in and assist you. However, following safe procedure is down to that of you the user; so enjoy your dryer, treat it well and enjoy your fresh, warm laundry.