How safe is your tumble dryer?
15th December 2014
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In the last year (from 01/12/2013 - 31/11/2014) we responded to 23 property fires caused by tumble dryers.

Tumble dryers have powerful motors with fast moving parts which get very hot. A common issue is that if users don’t clean and maintain their machines, excess fluff can build up on the filter which could then catch fire.

Graham Rooke, Station Manager from North Devon said: “With this cold and wet winter weather, more and more use is likely to be made of tumble dryers to dry clothes over the coming months.


“It is important that filters are regularly checked and cleaned to ensure they do not become blocked. A buildup of fluff and lint inside the machine is a major fire risk. Machines should not be overloaded with clothes and the manufacturers’ instructions for use, including the maintenance, should be followed.

“We would always advise people to be in the house when their dryer is being used so, if there is a problem and there is a fire, you can be alerted to it as soon as possible. And never leave the machine running overnight when you are in bed asleep. Smoke alarms should be installed in your house and checked regularly to ensure they are working.”

Top Safety Tips

After each use

  • Clean the fluff or lint filter
  • Condenser dryers – the drawer at the top or base of machine needs emptying


Every six months

  • Vacuum areas where the fluff or lint builds up
  • Vacuum heater area, blower housing and vent pipe connection
  • Check external vent (if fitted)
  • Condenser dryers – clean condenser unit at base of machine

Once a year

  • Remove and check vent pipe for fluff or lint

Don’t ignore any warning signs

  • Does your tumble dryer smell of burning? Always unplug it before opening it to investigate.
  • Are your clothes taking longer to dry, especially heavy items such as towels or jeans?
  • Do the clothes feel hotter than usual at the end of the cycle?
  • Does the external vent flap stay shut when the dryer is on?

If you notice any of the above, clean the filter and check the vent pipe immediately.

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Dave B

Member since: 10th July 2012

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