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How to Avoid Dryer Fires


Do-It-Yourself Tips and Tools to Avoid a Hazardous Home Appliance
NEW YORK, NY -- 05/03/2005 -- Home improvement radio and television personality Tom Kraeutler has seen more than his share of unsafe appliances. Prior to hosting The Money Pit, a syndicated weekend home improvement radio program heard on nearly 150 radio stations around the nation, as well as on both XM and Sirius Satellite radio, he spent 20 years as a home inspector evaluating homes and appliances for potential new buyers. “The dryer is potentially one of the most dangerous appliances in the home. Consumers just don’t realize how quickly it can become hazardous if not properly maintained,” he said.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 15,600 dryer fires occur each year, usually starting beneath or inside the appliance when the lint build-up ignites. “Keeping the lint trap clean after every load is one basic tip, but the danger can go much deeper,” he said. He recently tried the Gardus LintEater, a new lint removal system that cleans all the hidden lint in the entire venting system. By attaching the LintEater’s series of flexible rods to a rotary brush on one end and a cordless drill on the other, Kraeutler was able to clean out 15 ft. of venting.

Kraeutler said, “Homeowners can’t imagine how much lint sneaks by the trap and gets into the venting,” he said. “For home safety, they should be doing a thorough cleaning at least four times a year, especially if they’re doing large loads of laundry.”

He also suggests checking the wiring on your appliances, such as the dryer, especially when moving into a new home or apartment. Rodents can chew through wiring, causing laundry or lint to ignite. And, if you’re dryer is running too hot, there may be a lint blockage that will reduce energy efficiency and present a fire risk.

The CPSC also reports that a 75% blocked dryer exhaust elevates the air temperature of the average electric dryer 89% more than its normal operating temperature. With gas dryers, the exhaust duct carries the by-products of combustion, including carbon monoxide, which can also be dangerous if blocked. And, more than one gallon of water is disposed of for every typical load of laundry. If trapped, the moisture can support mold growth and degrade air quality if the dryer isn’t properly venting. “Dryer cleaning and maintenance is easy to do with the tools available,” said Kraeutler. “It can go along way in protecting your home from fires, increasing energy efficiency and keeping your dryer operating efficiently.”

For more information about the Gardus LintEater or tips on dryer vent cleaning and maintenance, visit or call 1-888-985-0208.

Editors Note: Camera ready photographs of Tom Kraeutler are available for download here:


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