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Majority of dryer fires are caused by lint

Friday, November 10, 2006

Dear Heloise: Your article on clothes-dryer safety was very helpful. However, you didn't mention what appears to be the most common cause of dryer fires -- lint in the burner-assembly compartment. Every dryer has a small door or a removable panel giving access to this area. At least once every year or two, this area should be checked, and any lint within should be removed. Otherwise, the lint accumulates and can be ignited when the burner lights. I used to transcribe reports for a man who investigated fires for insurance companies. Every dryer fire he investigated started in the burner-assembly area. Joy from California
Joy, you're right -- lint is a leading cause of dryer fires. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says there are more than 15,000 fires annually attributed to dryers.
After reading your column, one of my assistants noticed that her dryer (20-plus years old) wasn't drying like it should. She mentioned this to her husband, who checked the outside exhaust vent -- it was clogged with lint! This can cause the dryer to overheat, not work properly and become a possible fire hazard. So, she wanted to express her thanks -- you just might have saved them and who knows how many others from a house fire!
So, be sure to clean the lint trap after each load of laundry! Heloise
Dear Heloise: We travel often with two bags and usually find only one luggage rack in a motel or hotel room.
Last trip, I set up the ironing board, which I never use on a trip and always find in a room. It was a perfect luggage rack -- great height. Betty and Herbert Bool, Phoenix
How clever! Remember, it can also serve as an extra table. Heloise
Dear Heloise: We live in a two-story home. I recently had surgery and was unable to get up the stairs, so I slept on a sofa and had a bell to ring when I needed help from my husband during the night. He slept through the bell-ringing the first night when I really needed his assistance! I just had to wait it out. The next night, when I still could not get up the stairs, I gave him our portable telephone, and I used our cell phone to call him. That got his attention, and I received the help I needed very promptly! I have shared this idea with some friends, who said that it was a good idea and that I should share it with as many people as possible! Jan N. in Minnesota
Dear Heloise: Each month, use a different-colored pen for checks, letters, lists, etc. It helps keep things in order better.
My hands will not handle a heavy, decorative soup mug with food, but I have one on my desk for pens and pencils. It won't tip over, and it looks nice.
And always ask about a senior discount whenever you shop. Every little savings helps. Frani E. Williams, Kane, Pa.
Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to (210) HELOISE or e-mail it to
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