Turning off a tumble dryer before the cycle has completed and leaving the door closed can spark a fire, warns Cleveland Fire Brigade.
It comes after a build-up of heat was enough to result in clothes going up in flames and burn out a dryer causing severe smoke damage to a kitchen.
Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection for Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “It can be tempting to save costs by turning off the machine before it has finished and walking away leaving the clothes or other items still inside.
“This is extremely dangerous. When you go back to it later there could be nothing left but charred remains and you may have a potentially serious fire where your property or lives are at risk.
“We are asking people to be sensible. Let the tumble dryer run for as long as you have set it and then open the door and empty it. There are no short cuts when safety is involved.”
The recent fire was at a house in Hartlepool where the cycle was stopped after about an hour. The blaze was not linked to the faulty machine alert issued by some tumble dryer manufacturers.
Other basic rules for tumble dryer safety are:
- Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before using.
- Never leave your appliance unattended or running overnight.
- Never overload your dryer or put items in that have been used to soak up flammable liquids.
- Keep your dryer well ventilated ensuring the vent pipe is kink free, not blocked or crushed in any way.
- Clean the filter in your dryer after every use.
- Have your dryer serviced regularly by a qualified engineer.
Does your tumble dryer smell of burning? Are your clothes taking longer to dry? Do the clothes feel hotter at the end of the cycle? Does the external vent flap stay shut when the dryer is on? If you notice any of the above, clean the filter and check the vent pipe immediately.