Washers and dryers were involved in one out of every 22 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments between 2006 and 2010. Incidents of clothes dryer fires are higher in the fall and winter months and peak in January, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The leading cause of clothes dryer fires is a failure to clean the dryer of dust, fiber and lint. Lint is highly combustible and can lead to reduced airflow, posing a fire hazard in clothes dryers.Here are several safety tips for properly maintaining your washer and dryer:
Ensure proper installation
Be sure to have your washer and dryer installed and serviced by a professional. Check your washer and dryer manuals to ensure that your electrical outlet is appropriate for your plugs. If you have a gas dryer, have it inspected by a professional to make sure the gas line and connection are working properly and don’t have leaks.
Maintain the lint filter
Always clean the lint filter before drying each load of laundry. If you are drying a new item that creates a lot of lint, such as a bath towel or bath mat, consider drying it for half a cycle and then pause to clean out the lint filter before continuing to dry the item. Regularly check the dryer’s drum for lint accumulation.
Inspect the vent
The dryer vent is located outside of your house. It’s a good idea to periodically check to make sure air is coming out of the vent while clothes are drying. If no air is coming out of the vent, turn off the dryer and inspect the vent for blockage. Accumulated lint, a bird’s nest or even small animals can block vents.
Check the exhaust duct
Make sure the duct that runs from the back of your dryer to your wall and outside to your dryer vent isn’t clogged with lint or debris. If there is a blockage, you may have to remove the duct to clean it out. Consult with a professional before making any changes to your dryer’s exhaust duct.
Basic washer and dryer safety tips
Follow these basic safety tips when using your washer and dryer.
- Don’t overload.
- Read and follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions.
- Don’t run the washer or dryer when you aren’t home or when you are sleeping.
- Keep the entire area clean and free of clutter, boxes and other materials.
- Don’t store items on the top of the washer and dryer.
- Consult the operating instructions prior to washing or drying an item that has been soiled with chemicals such as gasoline, cooking oil or paint.
When disaster strikes, it becomes imperative to seek out fire and water restoration professionals who can help piece everything back together. Only trained technicians have the equipment and experience needed to identify problem areas and follow through with the necessary repairs. While it may be cheaper to employ family and friends to aid in the cleanup of a disaster, it will surely leave many stones unturned.
Broken pipes and floods are to blame for the most common of home disasters. Catastrophes are most times unavoidable, but this doesn’t mean that the building is unsalvageable. Using industrial air mover fans and dehumidifies, technicians are able to quicken the drying process, which can help prevent mold from growing and becoming its own problem. Another common occurrence regarding pipe leakages or improperly installed roofing is the dampening of drywall. Rather than attempt to treat these affected materials, technicians will instead inspect and remove any drywall that may harbor mold. They will then install new drywall that has been specially fitted and sanded to maintain the look of the walls before the disaster took place.
Fire and water restoration professionals are also adept at dealing with the aftermath of a blaze. The damage is quickly apparent, and may totally destroy furniture and carpet. There are, however, proper ways of removing any remnants of a blaze, including problematic soot and ash. Since ash can tarnish and corrode metals, it’s imperative to hire trained professionals only, as they have the knowledge and tools to properly identify the problematic areas. Technicians will deploy HEPA certified vacuums and other specialized equipment to remove all leftover fragments from an inferno.
A water restoration technician has an extremely important job when a home is affected by excess moisture or fluid. Certified professionals in the industry can quickly reverse the extensive damage that a flood or sewage backflow can cause, and save as many items as possible in the process. And when dealing with contaminated fluids, especially when it has pooled in the home, only certified professionals should be allowed to manage the cleanup. Attempting to perform cleanup efforts without expert assistance can lead to injury or illness, both of which can be severe.
A certified water restoration technician will usually be on call around the clock, except for those times when an entire community has been affected by a major disaster. As soon as a professional is on site, they will assess the situation and determine what items need immediate rescuing. If fluid has pooled in areas around the home, then pumps will be used to remove it.
The home will be dried using a configuration of heavy duty air movers and dehumidifiers, and while it dries, the firm will move through the building and look for any evidence of mold or pathogen contamination. If pathogens or mold are present, they will be eliminated using special procedures. This will ensure the home is safe to return to, and with concerted drying efforts, the building will as good as new once professionals have completed their work.
Leaks & Overflows
The wet, warm environment of a condensate collector beneath a central air conditioner evaporator coil is a perfect algae breeding ground. This biological growth may migrate into the condensate drain line or the drain trap and form a blockage. Condensate overflow due to a blocked drain may be caught by an overflow pan beneath the air handler, but if the overflow pan is missing, or has cracked or developed a hole, or if the overflow pan’s drain line is plumbed to the same primary drain line that is clogged, water leakage will ensue. Property damage from unseen condensate leakage can be extensive and expensive by the time a leak is finally noted by occupants.
A central air system routes condensation through a U-shaped trap located in the drain line just outside the air handler. It’s similar to the trap under your kitchen or bathroom sink; water in the trap prevents sewer gases originating where the condensate drain pipe terminates from infiltrating the air handler. In some conditions, such as during a long season of non-operation or when a gravity-fed drain line is not installed with the proper incline, the condensate drain trap may dry out and allow sewer gases to pass through the line. Unexplained noxious odors emitted from air conditioner supply vents in the home are the primary symptom of a dry condensate drain trap.
Because of the potential of severe property damage from unseen leaks, many condensate drain systems incorporate an overflow sensor. When a clogged condensate drain causes a backup that reaches overflow stage, the sensor cuts off power to the system. The coil and collector are sealed inside the air handler and generally not accessible for a do-it-yourself project. Until an HVAC technician can arrive to open the air handler, unblock the drain line, and clear the pan, the air conditioner will be unusable.
Many home owners don’t realize the importance of clean and functional gutters. This is a photo of a garage which sustained major water damage and mold growth due to their gutters being clogged and having water backup onto the roof.
When water damage occurs in your home either from a roof leak, plumbing issue or from any other source, it’s imperative to extract the water and completely dry it out as soon as possible. Waiting long periods of time will only increase the chance of microbial growth and also increase the chances you’ll need mold remediation down the road which can prove to be costly. Another issue many home owners encounter is the fact that even though many water damage restoration companies claim to have 24 hour emergency service, not many actually live up to it. Customers in distress end up leaving messages or the contractor will attempt to convince them that they can do it later and nothing will happen. The fact is, not only is mold a risk, but also more damage to personal contents, water wicking, structural damage, etc.
When you have a flood in your home or commercial property, the quicker you get the water out the less damage you will have. So leaving messages or waiting a few days is not going to help you. What you need to do is immediately address the source of the water, then you have to contact a water damage restoration company who completely understands the urgency to have the home structurally dried. You also have to consider if you’re going to contact your insurance company, and if so, then you will need a water damage restoration company who is fully capable of working with your adjuster and has the proper certifications, software for billing and knowledge to provide full documentation for your claim.
We at Mold Solutions & Inspections are IICRC (The Clean Trust) Certified in Water Damage Restoration among many other earned certifications, and handle over two hundred water losses per year. We have a 24 hour emergency service that is unmatched and you will always speak to a live person when you call us no matter the time or day, holidays and weekends included. Each and every employee also undergoes hours of training and continuing education every year so you know that every person working in your home has the experience to address any issue. And it is because of this that we’ve won the Angie’s List Award for Water Damage Restoration every year since 2011, a feat which no other disaster restoration company has accomplished. So if water should have a water loss on your property, you can rest assured we’ll be there to bring your back to pre-loss conditions.
We were established on May 1, 1998 and today marks our 18th year of service. We are proud to have more reviews and more awards than any other company in our service area and thank all of our customers for making this possible.