Do you leave your clothes dryer on while you are away from home?

@jillhill (37379)
United States
January 16, 2008 2:08pm CST
It's my day off and I have limited time so try to get as much done as possible. Before I left to run errands I put a load of clothes in the dryer so when I got home I could switch them again. I have a friend who won't leave the dryer running while she is away from home. She is scared that it will start on fire! I never think of it that way. Do you leave your dryer running while you are away from home?
8 people like this
25 responses
@luvstochat (6914)
• United States
16 Jan 08
Sure I run my dryer while I am gone I even run it while we are sleeping sometimes. I don't think dryers are that much of a fire hazard are they? I am more scared of are older furnace catching on fire than the dryer catching on fire.
1 person likes this
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
16 Jan 08
I never thought of it either.. she is parinoid about it! And you are right....I worry about a furnace more!
1 person likes this
@AmbiePam (51194)
• United States
17 Jan 08
Dryers can have shorts. When I lived at home, we smelled ours. We actually smelled burning, and we immediately turned the dryer off. Turned out it was a few minutes from causing a flame and we had to get a new one. I'm too young to remember if it was a short or something else.
• Canada
17 Jan 08
Its not likely but when i was sleeping the dryer was left on and the room was on fire. Luckily the whole house wasnt
@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
16 Jan 08
Hi, Jill. This is a really good question because I've wondered the same thing. We try not to leave our dryer one when we leave the house. Our laundry room is conveniently located right near the door that goes out to the garage, which is the door we always use to leave and get in the house. I'm paranoid about starting a fire, too, so figure it's worth putting a load in the washer and letting it sit soggy for a little while until I return to start the dryer. My suggestion would be if you're going to be gone and must leave the dryer running, make sure you take the filter out and clean it thoroughly first. The dryer could start a fire when you're at home, too, you know! We try to keep our filter cleaned out, otherwise it smells like burning when we use the dryer. If you're pretty good about keeping it cleaned out, you shouldn't have problems. I guess it's the dryer's way to "breathe." If it can't breathe, it might catch fire. I don't know all the mechanics that go into making a dryer, but I'm sure they're making them more and more safe all the time. Depending on how old your dryer is, you'll better be able to determine what works best for you and your family's needs. Good luck!
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
16 Jan 08
I have never been afraid to leave it and clean the filter out every load...otherwise it doesn't dry as good as when you leave the filter full of fluff!
1 person likes this
@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
24 Jan 08
Sounds like you take very good care of your dryer, which will not only keep it in excellent condition but will also make the chances of your dryer starting a fire while you're gone very slim. It's funny you would mention that actually because there are eight people in my family, which means my mom is constantly running the washer and dryer (although half of us also do our own laundry). So the appliances definitely get a work out! One time, my brother did like four or fives loads of laundry in a row since he was going on vacation to see his girlfriend. (LOL) The dryer filter was so full that the "fluff" and lint got added to my mom's next load of clothes! She wasn't too happy about that. My brother was gone, so she tried to blame me. I conveniently told her I hadn't used the dryer in months. That sounds bad, but I have so many clothes that I rarely have to do laundry. I hate going through the trouble. I'm one to wait until I have no clothes left before actually stooping to do laundry! (LOL) I'm a clean person - I promise! (I don't know where that came from, but I felt like I should share that with you.) Great discussion! I love ones about stuff I can relate to but would never think about otherwise. Thanks for your comment.
@JJ4Ever (4696)
• United States
7 May 08
Hi, Jill! Thanks so much for best response on this discussion. It was a pleasant surprise! The timing is actually quite ironic because last night I made sure I was going to be home so I could do a load of laundry. As we discussed earlier, I hate leaving even when just the washer is running. I made sure the dryer vent was cleaned out before putting my clothes in the dryer, of course. Excellent discussion and a great reminder that you can never be too careful. Thanks again!
@carolbee (16231)
• United States
16 Jan 08
I won't leave the dryer on while I'm gone from home. According to recent reports, it's a risky thing to do. Seems lint will ignite rather easily and start a fire. I do keep the dryer vent clean of lint but it seems lint can also get caught in the dryer hose and ignite. Our daughter is a firefighter and she also recommends not to leave a dryer running when the homeowner is not home.
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
17 Jan 08
Well then I'll take the word of a firefighter! I won't do it anymore!
@carolbee (16231)
• United States
17 Jan 08
I won't run the risk of leaving the dryer on but that's just my opinion. I'd rather be safe than sorry. I've gone so far as to turn it off in the middle of the cycle until I came back home if I had to leave for any reason.
@carolbee (16231)
• United States
18 Jan 08
Cleaning the lint filter after each use does help.
@patgalca (15438)
• Orangeville, Ontario
16 Jan 08
I most definitely leave my dryer on when I go out. I'm up half the night doing laundry as it is. If I turned my dryer off when I went out I would never get my laundry done. My mother-in-law, though, turns her dryer off when she goes out. She said, "You never know what could happen." I guess her machine is so old that it could cause a problem but it almost seems equivalent to leaving the furnace on when you go out. LOL!
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
17 Jan 08
Yes...and if you keep it clean then you downsize the risk right?
@patgalca (15438)
• Orangeville, Ontario
17 Jan 08
A repairman who recently came in to look at my dryer took the front off and said it was the cleanest dryer he has seen. I keep it clean!
• United States
16 Jan 08
I dont run my dryer at all, unless it has rained for days and days and I need to do laundry real bad. Is it a fire hazard? anything can be a fire hazard, even the lamp you leave on while you are gone. If it was a real old dryer i might not run it when I am gone, just because I am a little leary of fires.
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
17 Jan 08
Do you hang them to dry then? I do leave it going....maybe I shouldn't but I do!
• United States
18 Jan 08
We live in Florida, so most of the year we can hang them out, it saves a ton of money. I do hang them in the house but only if I have to.
• United States
13 Jun 09
I know this thread is over a year old, but just wanted to add my 2 cents. It's not the lint trap, but the exhaust hose where the lint catches fire if I'm not mistaken. That's alot harder to clean out every day. Also, it's not that it's more likely to catch fire just because you aren't home; it's that you would most likely catch it alot faster and be able to turn it off or get the fire department there alot quicker then if you were gone. I found this information on Consumer Reports from a link from another website, Vent Check International? The VCI website seems to conflict a little bit from Consumer Reports, so I'll quote from the Consumer Reports article since I know they seem pretty trustworthy. "More than 13,000 fires a year start in laundry rooms in the US, resulting in 10 deaths and $97 million in property damage. Nearly 4,000 of these fires arise from lint buildup that occurs when people fail to clean their dryer vents." If you go to consumerreports.org and search 'dryer fire' there are 2 articles that come up. They give some good information on how to better vent/exhaust your dryer to prevent lint buildup. I actually found your thread because I was looking for the general consensus on whether or not to dry while I'm away from home. I'd prefer to do that if I could, because I have a condo and the dryer vents into my home, raising the temperature quite a bit. I do know I have the flexible plastic vent hose, which the consumer reports website recommends against. My only problem is space, I don't know if there is room enough behind the dryer to use the hoses they recommend. I guess I'll have my dad or one of my brothers help me check it out to see what we can do to make it more fire friendly. I think for now I won't run the dryer while I'm gone. Better safe than sorry, and I'm not sure how it would affect my insurance if a huge fire started in my unit and spread to other units. They could even say the fire was indirectly my fault, so my insurance would have to cover the entire damage, not just mine? I'll start looking for a better way to vent my dryer soon :)
• United States
13 Jun 09
oops I didn't mean fire friendly, I meant safety friendly.
@joimarquez (1840)
• United States
7 May 08
i hate to admit this but im guilty. i have this bad habit of forgetting my clothes in the washer and dryer..i was used to doing laundry at a 24hours laundrymat and i do it on the evenings and leaving it and going to work then on my lunch time i put in the dryer and take it out when im off to work. so when i moved to an apartment complex with shared washer and dryer, i keep forgetting that i am doing laundry that sometimes i go out and go to the store. i feel embarrassed when the maintenance called and asked for my laundry so what i do now i put an alaram on my phone so i wont forget it...
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
7 May 08
That's a good idea..my sister sets her alarm so she can take her pills on time!
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
7 May 08
Yes, absolutely. I will use any timesaving tip or way to kill two birds with one stone - or three birds if possible. I'm not quite sure why some people are so scared to do things like leave a dryer on, xmas lights on at night (that is when they are supposed to be on thank you very much) and I also use a crockpot pretty often, again when I am not home. Until somebody finds a way to cram 26 hours into a day, I will continue to try and make the most of the time I have because I can't afford to waste it.
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
7 May 08
I am with you on that one~! A couple more hours a day would be beneficial!
@neelygal (1022)
• Bahamas
7 May 08
I am always busy andrushing around like a crazy person.I always leave both my washer and dryer running and dash out to run errands.I never even thought about them starting a fire.Is that common?Does it happen often?Maybe both of us should be more careful from now on.
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
7 May 08
I haven't heard about alot of fires starting...I guess if you keep the filter clean you're good to go.
@valerie37 (981)
• Christiansburg, Virginia
7 May 08
I try not to run it when I'm away from home, but if I'm really short on time, which most days I am then I do.
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
7 May 08
Me too!
2 May 08
I dont mind it running if im not there really,if i was to pop to town i wouldnt bother to turn it off at alll.As you say if you are limite as its your day off of work you need to be able to pack as much in as possible.
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
2 May 08
Yes....that is true. It just saves me some time!
• United States
30 Apr 08
Well n my household sometimes we do and sometimes we dont. The way the economy is now, i would nt leave it on at all that long, just enough time for my clothes to dry. But for instance if we are in a rush to get somewhere and lets just say our work clothes or my sisters school clothes have been washed and needed drying.....then that would be a situation where we would leave it running.
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
30 Apr 08
Yes...then you would need to!
• Singapore
27 Feb 08
Geez! I sure hope it won't catch fire! If need be, I always leave the dryer running when I step out of the house. Same reason as yours - save time!
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
27 Feb 08
Yes...well I hope neither one of us has to go throught that. I really haven't ever heard of too many fires that started from a dryer! But there is always that risk!
• United States
27 Jan 08
We try not too unless we have a lot to do. My mother is extremely worried that it will start a fire, my grandparents don't worry about that aspect as much, because there is usually someone home. So, we do try and use the dryer when we are home because we just want to keep an eye on things while we can.
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
27 Jan 08
That is probably best....but I sometimes leave it running as a time saver! THanks for posting!
@sedel1027 (17851)
• United States
18 Jan 08
I do have the habit of doing that. I won't leave the washing machine on. Growing up, I remember my Dad always telling my mom not to run the washer or dryer when she was not home. Of course they had a gas dryer right next to a gas water heater so that could be a HUGE explosion if something happened.
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
18 Jan 08
Oh Oh.....I do too! Thanks for sharing!
@Modestah (11192)
• United States
17 Jan 08
I have not had a clothes dryer in about 7 years, we just hang on the line or in the house - but, when I did use one at home I never liked to leave it on while away. for the same reason as your friend, plus the cost of electricity should the timer fail on it during my absence.
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
18 Jan 08
You are right if the timer should fail then you would be wasting alot of electricity or gas. I hang mine outside in the summer.
@moneyandgc (3430)
• United States
17 Jan 08
I have heard of people's dryers starting fires but it is usually due to poor ventilation. The tube gets clogged up with lint. Then of course there will be the faulty dryers that could start an electrical fire I suppose. I put my clothes in the dryer and leave all the time. I wouldn't have time to get everything finished if I didn't!
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
18 Jan 08
Yes...an other things could also start a fire while you are sleeping....I don't like doing laundry in the first place but having to sit around and wait for it would drive me buggers.
@bowtieguy (5924)
• United States
17 Jan 08
If I am making a quick trip to the market or picking/droping someone off i might but other wise no. I can't leave it alone in case it finishes and my clothes would wrinkle if i just left them sitting there.
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
17 Jan 08
They do get wrinkled if you don't get to them right away! And I really am never gone that long!
@palonghorn (5483)
• United States
17 Jan 08
I have when I knew I wasn't going to be gone long. If you keep the lint cleaned out of it and the cords are all good there should not be a fear of it starting a fire. But, by keeping the lint cleaned out, I don't mean just pulling the lint catcher out and cleaning it off, you'd be surprised at how much lint can build up in that area, that does not land on the lint screen.
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
17 Jan 08
Yes and I have heard that dryer sheets can cause build up on the lint screen and start a fire! So just removing the lint is not all you have to do!
@garnet80 (354)
• Australia
17 Jan 08
I never leave the dryer on when I'm not at home. I too have fears that it will catch on fire. You hear of it happening and I don't want to take the risk.
@jillhill (37379)
• United States
17 Jan 08
Good for you!