There is something about the arrival of Winter that always gets me anxious about fire hazards. Maybe it’s because advertisements change from campfires to smoke alarms, maybe it’s just because we’re indoors more, maybe I’m a highly anxious person that looks for trouble where none exists….
maybe, but not this time.
I looked it up, and these are the top 10 causes of house fires (in the U.S.A.)
- Children playing with matches
- Flammables in the house
- Christmas trees
All of those make sense – but did you notice that “Dryers” was number 8? Right after candles and the fireplace – which are open, obvious flames.
There have been reports of dryer sheets that could lead to fires in the laundry area but it is far more common for improper dryer vents and venting to be the cause of a dryer related fire. It’s also incredibly important to stay on top of clearing lint away from the dryer (under it, on top of it, behind it, etc.). Treat this has highly flammable material and just keep your dryer well maintained. ~Commissioner Randy Leonard
- So we have smoke alarms around cooking areas and near bedrooms so cooking – check
- My girls are old enough not to play with matches – check
- None of us smoke – check
- Heating – we had a furnace tune up last year, and I try to keep on top of changing out the filters once a month – half-check
- Electrical – our home was only built 10 years ago, so all of our wiring is up to current standards – check
- Candles – we usually use battery operated – check
- Fireplace – we have a gas one so there is a glass face to it – check
- Dryers – OH MY GOD! I have a dryer and I don’t give it nearly enough attention!
This post serves a double-duty; 1. to keep you safe and remind you to clean out your lint traps and dryer venting thoroughly and 2. to show you an easy way to do it so that you can maintain a safe dryer without much effort at all.
We’ll start with an example:
I am embarrassed to admit that you are looking at my dryer vent. It’s at the side of the house and I almost never check it – as you can tell.
This lint build-up blocks the hot air from escaping the house when the dryer is on – causing over-heating of the machine and the laundry room. An accident waiting to happen?
This is the ENJO Dust Flexi – it’s a long wand (21.6″ / 55cm) of flexible stainless steel that can be bent in any direction covered with ENJO‘s patented dust fibre. As you can see here, I was able to put it up into my dryer vent and it was able to wipe out the dryer venting with a few swirls.
This is some of what I was able to pull out of the venting – the venting that you don’t see in the walls of your house.
Now for the inside; I clean my lint filter after every load, but there is always lint that seems to accumulate around the edges of my filter that I can’t quite get out. I’ve tried using the long, pointy vacuum attachment, but it’s too wide to fit in this space, plus it’s a bummer to lug around – so I tend not to try. The ENJO Dust Flexi fibre is small and light and easily fits into the tiniest cracks to pull all of the dust out. No chemicals, no liquids (please don’t ever use liquids of any kind – including water – to clean your lint traps), just this dry fibre with a slight static charge and it attracts the dust and lint with no effort.
Finally, you need to clean out the back of your dryer. The venting pipe should slide off relatively easily and then you can use the ENJO Flexi to reach inside the back of the machine and up into the venting pipe itself. You may want to unplug your dryer for this part – just to be on the safe side.
After I finished all three areas, I turned the dryer on and you should have heard all of the residual lint being blown out of the house. The ENJO Flexi got all of the main areas and having those clean allowed the air pressure in the dryer to clean out the rest.
I will admit, I was shocked at how bad it was.
Turns out my anxiety was well-founded and I feel safer already knowing this 15 minute task made such an obvious difference.
I love this fibre! It’s light, easy to store, easy to clean and incredibly effective on so many areas:
I use it for those pesky transoms above doors and window sills too high to reach without a step stool.
The moral of this story… it’s time to go check your dryer vents – inside, outside, the venting pipe, on top of and underneath the dryer itself.
Tell your friends – together we could put a dent in the number of occurrences of house fires due to dryer maintenance.
Lynn Grushka, Team Leader – ENJO Canada
Website – click on “Brochure” for more information on these revolutionary fibres