Cloths Driers was Muscle contraction. was: cats! -Repl
Mike Keitz email (remove spam text)
On Thu, 16 Sep 1999 08:10:20 +1200 Lance Allen <AUCKLAND.AC.NZ> l.allen
> On a consumer advice program last night on TV here there was a BIG
> serious warning about clothes driers burning houses down!!!
> Turns out they are responsible for hundreds of house fires in New
> Zealand alone. All makes and models. The problem doesn't appear to
> motors or electrical fires rather that the clothes get so hot that
> they easily burst into flames under certain circumstances.
I just obtained a surplus clothes drier and installed it at my house. As
with everything else, I had a good look inside before using it. I can
see several things that could go wrong and cause a fire. If I find
another drier and a suitably long length of cable I'll have to go out in
the yard and try some of them out.
One thing that seemed odd is the high-limit thermostat is self-resetting.
If the normal thermostat fails, the heater might start to cycle on the
high limit thermostat. A user may not notice that anything is wrong, but
the clothes would get a lot hotter than they are supposed to. Perhaps
this is what happened to the driers in NZ that are causing fires. If
this condition persists long enough for the high-limit thermostat to fail
too, things will get extremely hot. They should have used a thermostat
which must be manually reset. If the high-limit thermostat on anything
trips, there is almost certainly something wrong.
In this drier, air flows through the heater first, then into the rotating
drum, then out another opening in the drum to the lint filter, finally to
the fan and to the outlet. The normal thermostat measures the
temperature of the air as it leaves the fan, i.e. just before it leaves
the drier. This air may be much colder than the air inside if there is a
leak. A prime cause of such a leak would be failing to replace the lint
filter. Unlike most that I've seen, the fitler on this one slides into a
slot on the top of the machine rather than being inside the drum. If it
is left out the fan will pull most of its air in through the filter
holder rather than from the drum. Compounding this problem, the high
limit thermostat is at the bottom (inlet) end of the heater. If there is
any airflow at all it will probably not trip, and extermely hot air from
the top of the heater will continue to go into the drum. Under such
conditions the drying performance would be very poor but once the clothes
are dry, they could get very hot.
So overall the design of this unit doesn't seem very safe. Once again,
appliance manufacurers are "saving a few dollars at the cost of
children's lives." Fortunately, scary warnings about consumer products
are great for building TV news ratings.
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