If you have a clothes dryer please read, and share this post.
Yesterday was just another day filled with endless domestic activities, anything I could find to keep me away from my novel-in-process. Writers will even scrub toilets and sweep away cobwebs seeking inspiration in cleaning rather than strapping themselves to the keyboard.
Transferring the laundry from the washer to the dryer I checked the lint filter, as always.
I’d noticed that the filter wasn’t closing all the way, wasn’t as snug as it was when we purchased it seven years ago.
I figured I had somehow bent the plastic. Things aren’t as sturdy as in days of old. Grabbing a flashlight, I peeked inside the dryer, Perhaps one of my missing socks is in here, I thought. Instead I was shocked to discover a gigantic empty area in the front of the machine. Inside this area years of flammable lint had accumulated.
I never use the dryer without first checking the lint filter, yet somehow minute pieces of lint and strands of dog hair had passed through the filter and accumulated in the bottom of the dryer. Lint is a hazard, the cause of many home fires. According to FEMA an estimated 2,900 fires per year and $35 million in property loss, even deaths occur due to clothes dryers. When is the peak time for fires? January. Why? Well, that nemesis static electricity for one. We’ve got the heat on, the air is dry, the static crackles every time we touch something. It doesn’t take much to light a spark. If you own a dryer you must check it, today. Please.
Removing the lint was a problem. The duct was clear, but deep inside the dryer were several layers of compacted, highly-combustible lint. Unfortunately, the only way to get inside the dryer was either coat hanger, or in my case, by using the end of a flyswatter.
The swatter worked well because I could use the end to scrape and pull the lint toward the opening.
Years, and I do mean years, of lint was compacted inside. The more I removed the luckier I felt. Lint had compacted so tightly there was barely any air streaming outside the house.
Saying a prayer of thanks for guardian angels who were obviously watching over me, I feel it my duty to ask you to go now−today−and check inside your dryer. Grab a flashlight and have a look.
The following image makes me feel like a terrible housekeeper, but I must share so you will understand how much lint was compacted inside my dryer waiting to ignite. The machine is about seven years old. This is only a small portion of what was inside.
This is why I ask you to check your machine today. Regardless of your machine’s age please check it.
Here is what it looked like after and now the lint trap once again fits snug against the machine.
Please, for your safety, please check your dryer today. Let me know. Did you find lint hidden inside your drier also?
Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Mountain Memories; True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Please download her e-book short story collection today. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. If you liked this recipe stay tuned. In 2014, Mercer University Press will release her next book titled Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches. Email her through her website at www.reneawinchester.com