For many people, having a laundry room in their home to wash and dry their clothes is high on their “must have” list. Having a washing machine and clothes dryer in a home provides convenience and increased property values, but they also can increase property damage risks if they are not installed and maintained properly.
One of the most common sources of water damage in a home is due to washing machines. Large volumes of water are used when the machine is in use. If something goes wrong, this water can leak and cause damage. Even worse, if the water supply line ruptures, hundreds of gallons of water per hour could be released. Not only can this water cause extensive damage to building materials and belongings, the moisture can allow for the growth of mold in less than 48 hours if materials remain wet creating indoor air quality concerns.
Clothes dryers cause thousands of fires each year that result in millions of dollars in property damage. Even a relatively minor fire that is caught early can cause extensive and costly smoke damage throughout an entire property.
Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to help prevent the risk of water damage, mold growth and fire hazards. They include the following:
• Have the washing machine and dryer installed by a qualified professional
• Ensure the units remain level and do not store combustible materials by either machine.
• Consider upgrading standard rubber hoses to the washing machine with braided steel hoses. Many experts also recommend shutting off the water lines to the unit when it is not in use and replacing hoses as they age.
• Check to make sure the drain hose is securely connected to the drain.
• A ceiling exhaust fan or open window in the laundry area can help reduce humidity levels.
• Clean the lint trap in the dryer before each use.
• Don’t place materials with combustible fluids on them into the dryer.
• Ensure the dryer exhaust connection is in good condition and secured properly. This exhaust air should be vented to the outdoors and not into the attic or other indoor location. Be sure the dryer vent to the outdoors is free of debris and obstructions. Finally, consider having the duct professionally cleaned on a regular basis to remove the buildup of lint and other combustible materials.
These are just a few things to know about preventing fires, water damage and mold in laundry areas. To learn more about this or other property issues, indoor air quality, environmental, occupational, health or safety issues, please visit the websites shown below.