There is no better feeling than getting a fresh load of clothes out of the dryer while they are still warm. You slide on that warm shirt, pants and undies and just enjoy the next couple minutes of complete comfort. But what if you went to retrieve that load out of the dryer and it was on fire? Dryer fires are not something we often think about but they do happen and they are more common than you might think. Luckily for you we have complied a list of 5 tips to help make sure you never have to experience one.

#1 Clear your lint screen filter before every load

I remember when I was growing up an going to University and we were fortunate enough to have our own washer and dryer in our student house. On the odd occasion when we would do our laundry we never cleared the lint screen (because we didn’t know we had to). After several loads we could smell something burning. It was our dryer. Luckily we noticed it before a fire broke out but that was a good lesson. I am sure our landlord would not have been happy.

Clearing the lint screen filter is something you need to do before every load. The lint screen acts as the filter to prevent lint from getting into your dryer’s ventilation system. This will help your dryer run more efficiently and also the hot air to properly exit the dryer. It is also important to note that you should never run a load of laundry if the lint screen filter is not in the dryer.

#2 Clean your dryer’s ventilation system

This bring us to our next tip. If you have ever run a load of laundry without the filter all of that dust and material will pile up in your ventilation system. Even with the filter, particles can still get by and build up over time. This is a major fire hazard and is why you need to clean your ventilation system. The easiest way to clean it out is disconnect the ventilation duct and vacuum it. If you do not know how to disconnect or reconnect your duct and vent make sure to hire a professional.

#3 Keep the loads to a reasonable size

The larger the loads, the longer and harder the dryer has to run for. The longer your dryer runs the hotter your dryer will get. It is better to keep the loads smaller or if you have a large load in the mashing machine split it into two smaller loads or hang up bigger articles to air dry.

#4 Keep the area around your dryer clean

Most dryer and washing machines are in an area of your house that doesn’t get cleaned as regularly as the rest of your house. However, it is important to keep the area around your dryer clean. Lint and dirt can pile up around the dryer and underneath it and if the dryer heats up these can become flammable. You should also avoid piling clothing or cleaning supplies on the top of your dryer.

#5 Do not leave your dryer on while you’re not home

Remember back to my University story with not clearing the lint filter? Well, if we were not home or left after starting the load we likely would have experienced a dryer fire. If you are not home you won’t notice anything irregular that might be happening with your dryer.

Even with these tips accidents do happen and a dryer fire could occur. In order to make sure you have complete peace of mind you need to reach out to your home insurance broker and make sure you have the proper protection if a dryer fire does occur. After all your experience with your dryer should be nothing but warm clothes and fresh scents.