Fire Risks Associated with Tumble Dryers

There are just a few rules to follow when using a tumble dryer:

  • Never leave the house unattended when the tumble dryer is running – if you take the time to read your manufacturer’s handbook, you will see this phrase clearly stated.  It is there for a reason
  • Ensure you have a working smoke alarm fitted in your house – this is obviously the same recommendation you will receive from your Fire Service.  This is not just for tumble dryers, however, but is for the safety of your household.
  • Clean the filter of fluff after each tumble cycle


Are Tumble Dryers Dangerous?

The simple answer to this question is, thankfully, no.  

The reason tumble dryers can combust is purely down to the user.  Failing to regularly clean the filter causes the fluff to build up, this can then be forced through the air system.  When it reaches the heater, it may well ignite.  Hopefully before this happens you will have noticed a burning smell, and perhaps seen some smoke.  

What you need to do immediately is to turn the power off , allow the appliance to cool down and then set to work cleaning the filter.  If you cannot reach all the fluff yourself, as it has been pulled deeper in the air system, you may well need to call in professional assistance.  They won’t be too thrilled to see what you have done, but they will clean the area thoroughly and ensure the appliance will no longer be a fire hazard.  

If you tumble dryer does start to emit smoke, your some alarm (if you have one) will be triggered, allowing you to evacuate the house whilst you deal with turning off the power to your appliance.

Cleaning filtersIt is recommended that your clean the filter of the fluff that has built up after every tumble cycle.  Apart from avoiding a possible fire in the future, you are also ensuring that your tumble dryer continues to work as efficiently as possible, as you will stop it working overtime to cope with the fluff build up.  Also, by doing this you should have a tumble dryer that gives you trouble-free service for many years.

When you clean the filter, look out for any tears in the mesh.  The mesh can wear over time, and the filters are fairly easy to replace – just quote your make and model to ensure you get the correct part for your appliance.  If the mesh is damaged, then obviously the fluff can get forced through the air system, and you will be back in the same position as not cleaning the filter at all.

A clean filter should avoid any further trouble, and eradicate any fire danger.  Rest assured the industry does not produce dangerous appliances, and no flammable materials are used in tumble dryers.  

Rest assured, with proper use, your tumble dryer is a very safe appliance – just follow the basic guidance and you should have no problems.The same cleaning advice applies to all types of tumble dryers, including the condenser type.

Delayed Start Operation

Although manufacturers have provided this function, following requests from customers, but it really goes against all other advice on safely operating a tumble dryer.  You will still see the ‘never leave unattended during operation’ advice in their handbook.  Apart from anything else, there seems very little need for this function at all.  However, if you do use your appliance in this manner, please take as much care as you possibly can.







Disclaimer: The information provided has been prepared as a guide only and the steps taken are likely to vary for different appliance models. We strongly recommend using a qualified engineer to undertake major repairs and fault finding.


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