Baldwinsville Codes Corner: Overheated clothes dryers can cause fires

As we look forward to the snow being gone and spring cleaning, we need to remember the clothes dryer. Lint can accumulate and cause excessive heat build up.

In 1998, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated 20 deaths, 370 injuries and 15,600 fires were associated with clothes dryers. Currently, only metal may be used for the exhaust. Brushes with extension rods can be found at your local hardware store. If your dryer has a flexible foil duct, it may be easier to replace it than clean it; keep in mind rigid pipe provides the best flow and protection in the event of a fire. New York State Code allows up to 25 feet for a dryer vent, but you must deduct five feet for each 90-degree elbow in the line. Screws should not be used, as lint will quickly build up on the screws. This is one place where good old duct tape is allowed on ducts.

A shop vac works well to clean inside, behind and underneath the dryer where lint can collect. Washing the lint screen with dish soap can remove a restriction caused by fabric sheets and detergent ingredients. Occasionally wipe the moisture sensor with a soft cloth and rubbing alcohol. Sensors are usually located inside the dryer just below the door opening.

So, add your dryer to your spring cleaning list for a safer home and, at the same time, lower your laundry costs.

Ronald W. Dean is the code enforcement officer for the Village of Baldwinsville. To contact Dean, call 635-2481 or e-mail rdean@baldwinsville.org.

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