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Old 04-01-2009, 10:09 AM   #21
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Dangermouse--I hope you are not leaving the house with either a washer or dryer running. Many home fires originate with these appliances. I personaaly know two families who were displaced to hotels for months because of fires. In dryers they start because people allow lint to build up in the exhaust. Never ever leave children alone in a house asleep while you run out to get the newspaper with one of those running.
I agree 100%.
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:25 PM   #22
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When we moved in 2002 we bought a new washer and dryer from Sears. The dryer died after 18 months and the cost of repair for a circuit board was going to be half the price of a new dryer. We bought a Maytag dryer. I guess major appliances are disposable now.

And we've had a whole-house surge protector from day one at this house.
From what I've read you need two layers of surge protection - one at the entrance box and one at the point of use (i.e. plug in). Ironically things with solenoids (think washing machines) generate their own voltage spikes as the magnetic field in the coil collapses.
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:36 PM   #23
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Dangermouse--I hope you are not leaving the house with either a washer or dryer running. Many home fires originate with these appliances. I personaaly know two families who were displaced to hotels for months because of fires. In dryers they start because people allow lint to build up in the exhaust. Never ever leave children alone in a house asleep while you run out to get the newspaper with one of those running.
My furnace and utility rooms are in the basement so I installed several of these sprinkler heads in the ceiling of each room.

Fire Sprinkler Heads

They are cheap and easy to install. I don't leave the dryer running when I'm away, but I've heard of fires started by lightning following a copper gas line to the dryer and poof!
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Old 04-01-2009, 05:31 PM   #24
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That's a great idea. My dryer, my furnace, and my water heater are also in the basement (and the small rooms they are in even have floor drains) and both have 3/4" copper water lines running through them. It would be an easy installation. If I recall correctly, some insurance companies offer a discount for sprinklers, but I don't know if a partial installation like this would merit a discount. It should--relatively high risk of fire area, realtively low risk of collarteral damage if the sprinklers go off accidentally (highly unlikely).

Goody, another project!
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Old 04-01-2009, 06:08 PM   #25
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That's a great idea. My dryer, my furnace, and my water heater are also in the basement (and the small rooms they are in even have floor drains) and both have 3/4" copper water lines running through them. It would be an easy installation. If I recall correctly, some insurance companies offer a discount for sprinklers, but I don't know if a partial installation like this would merit a discount. It should--relatively high risk of fire area, realtively low risk of collarteral damage if the sprinklers go off accidentally (highly unlikely).

Goody, another project!
My insurance company gave me a discount for partial sprinklers - not sure how much.
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Old 04-01-2009, 07:59 PM   #26
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Hmm, I never leave the dryer running if I'm not home since it's generating heat, but I didn't know about not leaving a washer running. How can a washing machine catch on fire?
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:07 PM   #27
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Hmm, I never leave the dryer running if I'm not home since it's generating heat, but I didn't know about not leaving a washer running. How can a washing machine catch on fire?
Motor could overheat. Also failure of pump or hoses can cause flooding. Hoses from faucet to washer should be changed every 5 years or so. They make braided metal ones that will last longer.

Older article, but probably still true

Most-Preventable Homeowners Claims from PEMCO Insurance; Burst Washing Machine Hoses Top List of Common and Costly Damages | Business Wire | Find Articles at BNET
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:16 PM   #28
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Hoses from faucet to washer should be changed every 5 years or so. They make braided metal ones that will last longer.

Older article, but probably still true

Most-Preventable Homeowners Claims from PEMCO Insurance; Burst Washing Machine Hoses Top List of Common and Costly Damages | Business Wire | Find Articles at BNET
Been there, done that.

DW started a load of wash and left for work at part-time job. Auto shut off for out-of-balance spin cycle malfunctioned. Machine "walked" away from the wall pulling both hoses to the breaking point. DW returned 4 hours later to water 3-4 inches deep throughout single story house. Shoes floating out of the closet. Thousands in damages.
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:51 PM   #29
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They do make electronic devices that sense water on the floor and turn off the hat and cold water to the washer. Like this. $139 isn't too bad, and folks should get a discount on their insurance for this kind of thing (they should be mandatory in multistory apartments).
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Old 04-02-2009, 07:18 AM   #30
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Not as good, but for the thrifty, you can get these water sensors for about ten bucks. Good for water heaters stuck away in a closet, basements prone to flooding, etc. Naturally you need to be home to hear the alarm.

Amazon.com: Zircon 64003 Water Detector with Leak Alert: Home Improvement
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Old 04-02-2009, 01:17 PM   #31
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Dex, as far as I am concerned life is too short to spend it at the laundromat. I have been doing that the past couple of weeks and I hate having to spend the time there. I much prefer to have machines at home so I can throw them in and take off and do what I want without having to think where the machine is in the cycle.
Hey, don't all millionaires go to the laundromat?

A few years ago when I still lived in my house my washer broke. I thought heck with it, I'll just go to the laundromat. First, no way could I go a month between washes. More likely weekly. So I come out into the rain or snow with my freshly folded laundry. What fun! Then occasionally drop some on the wet pavement. More fun!

Now I have the best of all worlds. No W/D, but a laundry room in my building that is rarely used in the morning except weekends.

ha
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:59 AM   #32
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I agree 100%.
I often leave the house whilst the dryer is running. You would have to be a real numb-nut not to clean the lint filter on a regular basis so I am not concerned about the dryer catching fire. Actually if the damn thing is going to catch on fire it's better that it happens whilst I am out - it's not as if I could do anything by being home. As to the question of the children catching alight, as we don't have any I would be very confused to come home and find our children had burnt.
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:44 AM   #33
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I often leave the house whilst the dryer is running. You would have to be a real numb-nut not to clean the lint filter on a regular basis so I am not concerned about the dryer catching fire.
It's not the lint filter, it's the dryer exhaust.

How clean is your dryer exhaust?

Another friend of mine had a sparkly-clean lint filter, but we pulled a basketball of lint out of a four-foot exhaust hose. Probably a 15-year collection.
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:39 PM   #34
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It's not the lint filter, it's the dryer exhaust.

How clean is your dryer exhaust?

Another friend of mine had a sparkly-clean lint filter, but we pulled a basketball of lint out of a four-foot exhaust hose. Probably a 15-year collection.
I'm sure Nords meant the lint filter AND exhaust. I've met numb nuts,
I know numb nuts, and Mr Nords, sir, is no numb nut.
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Old 04-03-2009, 01:19 PM   #35
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The Nords post made me curious about our own situation with the venting. I just went and checked and we have about a 5 ft length of that silver thing which is new as they installed it when they installed the machine this week. It vents directly outside the house so I am not overly concerned about it catching fire and I will make a point of cleaning it out every year as a precaution.

I am not sure why anyone would not regularly clean their lint filters as I have noticed the performance diminishes when it is clogged.

That said, I am not in the least bit concerned about my dryer catching fire so I am more than happy to leave it on when I am out the house.

BTW those of you who want leave the house when it is on, if it did catch fire what are you planning to do? If it started smouldering are you regularly within sniffing distance. Personally I would be more concerned about running the dryer when I went to bed.
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Old 04-03-2009, 03:22 PM   #36
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I bought a Roper washer/dryer pair at Lowe's in 2007. I think it cost around $550 with tax for both. They are very basic models made by Whirlpool. Work fine, but I wish the washer had an automatic off-balance shutoff.
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Old 04-03-2009, 04:15 PM   #37
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The Nords post made me curious about our own situation with the venting. I just went and checked and we have about a 5 ft length of that silver thing which is new as they installed it when they installed the machine this week.
If the "silver thing" is smooth metal, then you've got the best situation. If the "silver thing" has accordion folds and looks like a big slinky, then that is not as good. It is still much safer than a vinyl-type slinky hose that used to be common. The metal accordion-type hoses are more prone to catching lint (because of the roughness and because the greater surface area leads to greater cooling of the surface and more condensation inside).

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BTW those of you who want leave the house when it is on, if it did catch fire what are you planning to do? If it started smouldering are you regularly within sniffing distance.
Smoke detectors and smell would be the primary warning. And, yes, I'd investigate and if the fire was confined to the dryer cabinet I'd probably have a go at puting it out after everyone was out of the house. I'd guess the 10 lb dry chemical extinguisher blasted into the dryer exhaust port outside the house would knock things down quite a bit, and I might have a go with a garden hose after shutting off all power to the house. At least it would keep me busy until the fire department arrived. Best of all. I'd have a story to tell later.
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:07 PM   #38
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BTW those of you who want leave the house when it is on, if it did catch fire what are you planning to do? If it started smouldering are you regularly within sniffing distance. Personally I would be more concerned about running the dryer when I went to bed.
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Smoke detectors and smell would be the primary warning. And, yes, I'd investigate and if the fire was confined to the dryer cabinet I'd probably have a go at puting it out after everyone was out of the house. I'd guess the 10 lb dry chemical extinguisher blasted into the dryer exhaust port outside the house would knock things down quite a bit, and I might have a go with a garden hose after shutting off all power to the house. At least it would keep me busy until the fire department arrived. Best of all. I'd have a story to tell later.
The most frequent (but not most serious) fires onboard my submarines came from the ship's laundry dryers-- lint in the heater coils. The stench is unbelievable (the burning lint, not the laundry) so "sniffing distance" is probably measured within tens of feet. Usually the combustion is occurring near the dryer's electric heating coils, not in the (plugged) exhaust hose, so popping the breaker and clearing the scene is all that's necessary.

The "approved" extinguishing agent would be CO2, but one of those home multi-purpose powder extinguishers would work just fine if no one else needed to dry their wet laundry anytime soon. I wouldn't be very enthused about attacking an electrical fire with a water hose unless I was sure that I'd removed all the power. Even then, knowing my luck, I'd ground out a capacitor. But a water hose is better than nothing and I've never known anyone killed by the shock.

My last military job was at a training command that included a fire trainer. It was fueled by propane and filled with sensors. For max realism, the trainer's performance was based on Naval Research Lab test data from an instrumented (decommissioned) submarine hull. To put out a fire in the trainer, you had to apply the proper extinguishing agents at the correct locations for at least a minimum amount of time or the computer would keep the fires burning. It really drove home the submarine firefighting concept of "stand and fight".

One of our instructors lived in the end unit of a base-housing quad. One evening his neighbor at the other end of the quad set his kitchen on fire (dinnertime) and the smoke detectors alerted everyone. Jake's instinct was to see if anyone needed help, and when he arrived the fire was really just getting going. He grabbed a garden hose and started fighting the kitchen flames from the yard, having things all to himself during the 10 minutes it took for the fire crew to arrive. It cost him his eyebrows and his forearm hair, "as usual", but he saved the rest of the structure.

No one was hurt. It turned out that the dinner chef had a pan fire that he tried to put out with an extinguisher, splattering the flaming oil all over the kitchen. If he'd just had the presence of mind to shut off the burner and put a lid on the pan it would've saved his family a couple weeks of hotel living.

And yes, my kid and I have practiced her extinguisher technique on our BBQ and her pan-lid technique in the kitchen...
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:46 PM   #39
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BTW those of you who want leave the house when it is on, if it did catch fire what are you planning to do? If it started smouldering are you regularly within sniffing distance. Personally I would be more concerned about running the dryer when I went to bed.
What Nords and samclem said, plus - we don't run the dryer when we are out OR after we go to bed. Last load goes in in time to dry. Dryer fires are very real, they happen.

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I often leave the house whilst the dryer is running.
Do you have neighbors? You are putting them at risk if a fire starts in your house while you are away, and it spreads to their house. And you are putting firefighters at risk, who are going to try to determine if anyone is at home. You know, dryer was on, maybe someone is in there?

Too bad some of us can't get lower insurance premiums and lower taxes to support the local fire departments for taking reasonable precautions that others do not.

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