Washing Machine repairs

What Causes A Dryer To Set On Fire?


Are you worried about your tumble dryer setting on fire??

Well if you haven’t had it serviced since you bought it then maybe you should be! The truth is, not much at all in terms of components.

What Can Set On Fire In A Tumble Dryer?

Believe it or not, Manufacturers don’t build tumble dryers with any sort of flammable material. There’s not really much inside a dryer to burn other than plastic vent ducts and other plastic parts but they would need something to set them alight and to fuel any subsequent fire.

Generally the fuel for any fire is poor maintainance, which we’ll cover shortly.

A tumble dryer should be fitted with a 13 amp fuse and protected by a suitable RCD unit. They should NEVER be plugged into an extension lead.

The dangers that a tumble dryer poses when used, installed and maintained correctly, is not a lot in terms of fire risk.

The statistics from Whitegoods UK, taking into consideration that there is an estimated 7-10 million tumble dryers in use in the UK, the number of fire instances are very low.

There are a number of components that will often be reported as a “tumble dryer went of fire” type fault but actually these will just give off a burning smell when electrical components burn inside them, these tend to be blown capacitors etc, whilst these faults can seem dramatic and are likely to give a fright, they are not really dangerous as such. They are just simple electrical failures.

tumble dryer fire
what causes a tumble dryer to set on fire

What Causes A Dryer To Set On Fire?

Coming back to the fuel of a Tumble Dryer fire is poor maintainance bit. By poor Maintainance we mainly focus on fluff build up in the dryer when filters are not emptied after every use.

The most common reason of a fire is this. First, lint (fluff) gets into the dryer cavity because the filter isn’t maintained (cleaned) correctly and then the fluff (lint) that comes off the clothes is forced to go elsewhere which is into the main cavity of the dryer cabinet.

Over time this builds up blocks the air supply and causes the dryer to overheat. This is the main fire risk as the fluff eventually makes it’s way onto the heating element and burns. With enough fluff build up, a fire can start and very quickly become out of control.

Fluff in the dryer burns on contact very quickly, it is highly flammable and will burn until it is all gone, destroying your dryer in the process and the fire will very likely spread to other areas of the kitchen as we have seen in some extreme cases where the fire spread outside the cabinet which can be catastophic.

We cannot emphasise strongly enough the importance good maintainance of your dryer which also includes annual servicing to keep it in a good, safe working order.

If you’re concerned about the risk of fire with your tumble dryer and you know you’ve not kept up with good maintainance then give us a call and we can come and give it the once over and if needs be we can service it for you on site.

Also check out our Tumble Dryer Repair page for more information on the services we offer.

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