The household clothes dryer remains one of the most common causes of household fires, along with food left cooking on the stove. I was reminded of this due to an article I read on the News.com.au website.

With the dryer, the issue is that lint builds up eventually overheating and catching fire. To greatly reduce the likelihood of this happening it is important to clean out the lint after each and every time you dry a set of clothes. This is not just an issue in homes but also in commercial laundries and dry cleaners.

On the water side, this can be through two causes. The first is leaving the water intake hoses to the washing machine under constant pressure. The hoses do perish over time and if the tap is left on and the person is away from the home, then the home can be inundated by water at full mains pressure. My advice is to turn off the water to the machine at the tap or stop cock so that if the hose does fail while you are away the amount of water is limited to the amount in the hose only. The same applies to your dishwasher. With the metal braded hoses I recommend they be replaced with a quality product every 5 years as a minimum. On claim stats they are failing at a younger age in the past with the move to offshore manufacturing.

The other cause is where the user fails to clean out the filter on the discharge side of the washing machine. This is typically found on the bottom front of the machine under a little door. You lift the flapped door, unscrew the knob and slowly pull out the filter. I do recommend putting a baking tray or some other shallow dish under the machine to catch any water that may drip out.

You can then hose off to clean the filter and pop it back in following the instructions in reverse. Depending on the amount of laundry the machine is subjected to dictates how often this should be done but every six months seems to work fine. Taking these simply risk management steps will hopefully keep you and your home, flat or apartment safe and dry.

Article written by Prof Allan Manning

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