Heater & Dryer Safety
Important Dryer and Heater Safety Precautions
Dryer Fire Safety
Fires can occur when lint builds up in the dryer or in the exhaust duct. Lint can block the flow of air, cause excessive heat build-up, and result in a fire in some dryers.
To help prevent fires:
Clean the lint screen/filter before or after drying each load of clothes. If clothing is still damp at the end of a typical drying cycle or drying requires longer times than normal, this may be a sign that the lint screen or the exhaust duct is blocked.
Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct periodically. Check the outside dryer vent while the dryer is operating to make sure exhaust air is escaping. If it is not, the vent or the exhaust duct may be blocked. To remove a blockage in the exhaust path, it may be necessary to disconnect the exhaust duct from the dryer. Remember to reconnect the ducting to the dryer and outside vent before using the dryer again.
Clean behind the dryer, where lint can build up. Have a qualified service person clean the interior of the dryer chassis periodically to minimize the amount of lint accumulation. Keep the area around the dryer clean and free of clutter.
Replace plastic or foil, accordion-type ducting material with rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct. Most manufacturers specify the use of a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct, which provides maximum airflow. The flexible plastic or foil type duct can more easily trap lint and is more susceptible to kinks or crushing, which can greatly reduce the airflow.
Take special care when drying clothes that have been soiled with volatile chemicals such as gasoline, cooking oils, cleaning agents, or finishing oils and stains. If possible, wash the clothing more than once to minimize the amount of volatile chemicals on the clothes and, preferably, hang the clothes to dry. If using a dryer, use the lowest heat setting and a drying cycle that has a cool-down period at the end of the cycle. To prevent clothes from igniting after drying, do not leave the dried clothes in the dryer or piled in a laundry basket.
Electric Space Heater Safety
CPSC estimates that from 2008 to 2010, portable electric heaters were involved in approximately 1,200 fires per year.
Portable electric heaters are high-wattage appliances that have the potential to ignite nearby combustible materials like curtains, beds, sofas, paper, clothing, and flammable liquids. If ignition results from a heater left on and unattended, a major fire could result.
CPSC recommends the following for the safe use of electric heaters:
- Never operate a heater you suspect is damaged. Before use, inspect the heater, cord, and plug for damage. Follow all operation and maintenance instructions.
- Never leave the heater operating while unattended, or while you are sleeping.
- Keep combustible material such as beds, sofas, curtains, papers, and clothes at least 3 feet (0.9 m) from the front, sides, and rear of the heater.
- Be sure the heater plug fits tightly into the wall outlet. If not, do not use the outlet to power the heater.
- During use, check frequently to determine if the heater plug or cord, wall outlet, or faceplate is HOT! If the plug, outlet, or faceplate is hot, discontinue use of the heater, and have a qualified electrician check and/or replace the plug or faulty wall outlet(s). If the cord is hot, disconnect the heater, and have it inspected/repaired by an authorized repair person.
- Never power the heater with an extension cord or power strip.
- Insure that the heater is placed on a stable, level surface, and located where it will not be knocked over.
- When purchasing a heater, ask the salesperson whether the heater has been safety-certified. A certified heater will have a safety certification mark.
- Never run the heater’s cord under rugs or carpeting. This can damage the cord, causing it and nearby objects to burn.
- To prevent electrical shocks and electrocutions, always keep electric heaters away from water, and NEVER touch an electric heater if you are wet.
- SPREAD THE NEWS! Inform family, friends, and coworkers of the ways to use an electric heater more safely.
Kerosene Heater Safety
If you are using a kerosene heater, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Kerosene Heater Association advise you to follow these suggestions in order to minimize the risk of fire and potential health effects from indoor air pollution.
- Use only water-clear 1 K grade kerosene. Never use gasoline. Gasoline is not the same as kerosene. Even small amounts of gasoline or other volatile fuels or solvents mixed with kerosene can substantially increase the risk of a fire or an explosion.
- Always store kerosene in a separate container intended for kerosene, not in a gasoline can or a can that has contained gasoline. This helps you avoid using contaminated fuel or the wrong fuel by mistake. Kerosene containers are usually blue; gasoline containers are usually red.
- When purchasing kerosene at the pump, make sure to use the kerosene pump, not the gasoline pump. Some service stations have separate islands for kerosene. Some oil companies have also established quality control programs to minimize the chances of gasoline contamination of kerosene.
- 1-K grade kerosene should be purchased from a dealer who can certify that what is being sold is 1-K. State operated and private sector certification programs that ensure the quality of kerosene are established in some states. Grades other than 1-K can lead to a release of more pollutants in your home, posing a possible health risk. Different grades of kerosene can look the same so it is important that the dealer certify that the product sold is 1-K grade kerosene.
- Never refuel the heater inside the home. Fill the tank outdoors, away from combustible materials, and only after the heater has been turned off and allowed to cool down. Do not refuel the heater when it is hot or is in operation. Do not fill the fuel tank above the “full” mark. The space above the “full” mark is to allow the fuel room to expand without causing leakage when the heater is operating.
- In case of flare-up or if uncontrolled flaming occurs, do not attempt to move or carry the heater. This can make the fire worse. If the heater is equipped with a manual shut-off switch, activate the switch to turn off the heater. If this does not extinguish the fire, leave the house immediately and call the fire department. As an added reminder and precaution, install at least one smoke detector near each sleeping area or on each level of the house.
- Reduce your exposure to indoor air pollutants by properly operating and maintaining your portable kerosene heater. Although portable kerosene heaters are very efficient in the burning of fuel to produce heat, low levels of certain pollutants such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide are produced. Exposure to low levels of these pollutants may be harmful, especially to inpiduals with chronic respiratory or circulatory health problems. To assure that you and family members are not exposed to significant levels of these pollutants, you should follow carefully the following rules of safe operation:
- Operate your heater in a room with a door open to the rest of the house.
- Open an outside window approximately one inch to permit fresh air to effectively
- dilute the pollutants:if you must operate your heater in a room with the door closed to the rest of the house, or
- if your home is relatively new and tight, or older but has been winterized to reduce air infiltration from the outside.
- Always use your heater according to the manufacturer’s instructions, making sure that the wick is set at the proper level, as instructed by the manufacturer.
- Make sure the wick in your heater is clean and in good operating condition by following the cleaning and maintenance procedures recommended by the manufacturer.
CAUTION: Improper fuel may cause pollution and sooting of the burner. Use only water clear No. 1-K Kerosene.
DANGER: Risk of explosion. Never use gasoline in this heater.
CAUTION: Risk of indoor air pollution. Use this heater only in a well ventilated area. See operating instructions for details.
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