Is It Safe To Leave The Tumble Dryer On When You’re Not Home?

If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s safe to leave your tumble dryer running when you’re not at home, the short and straightforward answer is a resounding NO. 

Leaving your tumble dryer on when you’re out or sleeping should never be done as it can be the cause of a house fire. In this article, you’ll learn why it’s so dangerous and what steps you can take to protect your home from this potential hazard.

Why You Should Never Leave Your Tumble Dryer On When You’re Out

Leaving your dryer on when you’re not home or unable to attend to it immediately when something goes wrong is a very dangerous decision. 

One Thing In A Tumble Dryer

There have been countless cases of tumble dryers causing fires in the UK alone, and the last thing you want is to be away while it happens. 

After all, fires can quickly escalate, and when you’re not there to put it out or call the fire services immediately, the consequences can be devastating.

5 Easy Tips to Prevent Dryer Fires

Top Causes Of Tumble Dryer Fires

Tumble dryers undoubtedly make laundry sessions more convenient, but they can also pose a significant fire risk if not used and maintained correctly. 

Here are some of the top causes of tumble dryer fires that you should be aware of to keep your home safe:

Overloading The Plug Socket

One common cause of tumble dryer fires is overloading the plug socket. 

Your dryer demands a specific wattage to operate safely. When you plug it into an extension socket or use the incorrect wattage, you’re playing with fire—literally.

Always connect your high-power appliances like the tumble dryer to your main wall socket. Doing so minimises the risk of overheating and fire. 

Plug socket in UK

Also, refrain from plugging too many appliances into a single socket. For instance, running your washing machine and dryer simultaneously may pose a minimal fire risk, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Overheating Due To Insufficient Ventilation

Tumble dryers, in their quest to dry your clothes efficiently, generate a considerable amount of heat. This heat can become a problem if the dryer is not placed in a well-ventilated area.

Ensure that there’s enough space around your dryer, and avoid placing any flammable items near it. Lint, which can accumulate in your dryer’s vent, is highly flammable and poses a significant fire risk. Regularly check and clean your dryer’s vents to prevent lint buildup!

NOTE: Scheduling a yearly maintenance appointment with a professional technician to clean and inspect your dryer can help identify and address potential issues that might lead to fires.

Putting In Fabrics That Were Soaked In Flammable Liquid

Never put clothes or fabrics that have come into contact with flammable substances like petrol, paint thinner, or lighter fluid in your dryer. 

Handwashing and air drying these items are the safest options. Placing them in the dryer could be a catastrophic mistake, as even traces of flammable liquids in your clothing can ignite due to the high heat inside the dryer, leading to a fire.

Not Cleaning the Dirty Lint Filter

One of the most overlooked yet critical safety measures is regularly cleaning the lint filter in your tumble dryer. This is because as mentioned earlier, the tiny fibres and fuzz from your clothes called lint are highly flammable.

When a dryer’s filter is not cleaned regularly or the dryer vent becomes clogged with lint, it restricts airflow, causing the machine to overheat and potentially catch fire. 

To prevent this, make a habit of cleaning the lint trap after every laundry session to avoid a dangerous buildup.

SEE ALSO: Tumble Dryer Not Collecting Lint? (here’s why & how to fix)

Tips To Prevent Your Dryer From Catching Fire

What can you do to keep your tumble dryer safe and sound? Here are our best tips:

Invest In A New Tumble Dryer

Consider investing in a high-quality tumble dryer, especially if you’re in the market for a new one. Modern models often come equipped with advanced safety features that can help prevent fires. For example, many dryers have an automatic shutoff feature that activates if the appliance detects overheating.

Keep Your Dryer In Good Condition

Regularly check your dryer’s condition to ensure it’s well-maintained. Keep it clean, away from flammable liquids and materials, and in a well-ventilated room. 

Scheduling an annual maintenance and inspection with a professional technician can help identify and address potential issues before they become a fire hazard.

Don’t Overload The Drum

If you overload your tumble dryer, the heating element at the back can cause the laundry to overheat, which can lead to a fire.
Make sure to fill your tumble dryer only up to ¾ full to keep it running safely.

large load in drum illustration

SEE ALSO: How To Tell If Your Tumble Dryer Is Overloaded

Plan Your Laundry Sessions

While it’s tempting to let the dryer run while you’re out or sleeping, it’s a risk you should avoid.

Keep your laundry loads manageable and avoid overloading your dryer, as this can significantly reduce its lifespan. It’s better to do multiple loads than cram all your laundry into the machine, risking overheating and potential fires.

Install a Smoke Alarm

To enhance your home’s safety, consider installing a smoke alarm in your laundry room. This way, you and your family will be immediately alerted in case a fire starts. 

Additionally, having a fire extinguisher on hand is a wise precaution. It provides peace of mind that you and your family will be prepared in case of a fire emergency.

Do Your Laundry Worry-Free!

The safety of your home should be a top priority, and using your tumble dryer responsibly plays a significant role in achieving that goal. 

Avoid leaving your dryer unattended when you’re not home, and follow the safety measures above to reduce the risk of a tumble dryer fire. 

By doing so, you can enjoy the convenience of your tumble dryer while keeping your home and loved ones safe from potential disasters!

Do you have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment below!

SEE ALSO: Common Tumble Dryer Faults (and what to do about them)

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes tumble dryer fires?

Tumble dryer fires can be caused by factors like overloading the plug socket, insufficient ventilation, putting in fabrics soaked in flammable liquids, and not cleaning the lint filter regularly.

Is it safe to leave a tumble dryer on? 

No, it is not safe to leave a tumble dryer running when you’re not at home or unable to attend to it immediately, as it can pose a significant fire risk.

How do I stop my dryer from catching fire? 

To prevent your dryer from catching fire, you should invest in a high-quality dryer with safety features, keep it well-maintained, plan your laundry sessions carefully, and consider installing a smoke alarm in the laundry room.

What happens if you overload a tumble dryer? 

Overloading a tumble dryer can lead to overheating, reduced lifespan of the appliance, and potentially pose a fire risk.

How do I know if my dryer is overloaded?

You can tell your dryer is overloaded if you’ve used more than 3/4s of its weight capacity, making it difficult for the machine to dry them efficiently. It’s better to keep your laundry loads manageable to avoid overloading.

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