Saturday, July 16, 2011

How To Prevent Dryer Fires In Your Laundromat: Check For Lint

One of the biggest dangers to a total loss fire in a Laundromat is a fire that starts in a water heater, dryer vent, or dryer and rises up into the ceiling beams.  Once the fire gets to the roof, the years of heat – heat rises remember – may have dried the ceiling joists enough that they burn rapidly.

Once the ceiling - or roof really - is burning, there is almost no way for a fire department to prevent the burning away of the entire building roof and the eventual collapse of the burnt timber onto the Laundromat equipment.  Quite a mess in the ones I've seen.

In Laundromats, you normally see little fires – confined to a back room or a single dryer – or you get really big fires that result in the burning away of the roof structure and a total loss.
Shandra reads all the books and manuals     
My friend Tomas has a very smart girlfriend named Shandra.  She keeps their apartment spotless – believe me I’ve tried to find some dirt in her apartment – and Shandra tells Tomas to keep his Laundromat just as clean as she keeps the apartment.

Shandra loves to point out that the most common cause of major damage to Laundromat equipment is a fire that starts in a dryer.  She found a picture of lint burning in a dryer vent and showed it to Tomas.  Tomas brought it to me and thought it would be a good idea to put it on my blog and write about causes of dryer fires.
Every Laundromat owner needs to think clean, and should therefore check the inside of every dryer at least once a month to be sure there is no lint building up inside – usually just behind the drum.  At least once a year, an owner should also climb up on their roof and check to make sure the dryer vents are in place – wind can tip them over – and that no debris is clogging them.  Screens of any type, should never be put on your dryer vents.
During this annual inspection it’s a good idea to also pull a few vent pipes to see if any lint is building up in the exhaust vents.  The higher the ceiling – the longer the vent run – the more likely that lint will build up inside the vents.  Long screws holding the venting together can also catch lint, so the dryer manufacturers recommend using pop rivets when putting venting together.

I guess I should feel happy for Tomas to have such a smart girl like Shandra.  She reads all the service and installation manuals on the Laundromat equipment installed in Tomas’ store.   Smart, kind and intelligent and with any luck she’ll be married to a wonderful Laundromat owner one day.  What could be better?
                                The Latina Laundromat Advisor

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