I’ve written a few pieces now on where to put tumble dryers in your home and there are plenty of places to avoid.
One other question that you might have though is whether you can place a tumble dryer on a carpeted surface.
If the classic kitchen position for your dryer is a no go and you live in an otherwise carpeted place, then this is definitely worth looking into.
While putting a tumble dryer onto a carpeted surface might not seem like a big deal, it is generally not recommended. The reasons for this are due to fire safety. Placing a dryer onto carpet can increase the risk of ignition to both the carpet and even the dryer itself.
In this piece we’ll look at what exactly the risks are and how bad it could be to use a tumble dryer on carpet, where you should put your tumble dryer and some other safety considerations.
Condenser Tumble Dryers and Carpet
This issue actually isn’t specific to condenser tumble dryers. All varieties of tumble dryers get hot in some way, and this is where the problems come from.
While in use, it’s not uncommon for the exhaust duct of a dryer to reach 85 oC.
If this exhaust duct is blocked in any way, this can cause a large build-up of heat which can pose a serious fire hazard if the heat has nowhere to go.
A very thick carpet, like shag carpet for example, can cause a blockage of this kind and start to become dangerous. This is particularly true when the vent is located at the bottom of the backside on the dryer, as a carpet will have an easier time blocking this.
Moreover, this problem can be really exacerbated if the carpet happens to be a particularly flammable variety (which again, shag carpet is).
Some of the less dangerous risks involve simply ruining your carpet.
If lint is allowed to accumulate, it can build up on the back of the dryer. This then becomes very hot and can drop off and land on the carpet, causing burns on the carpet.
One issue that is specific to condenser dryers is related to moisture build up.
Since these dryers work by accumulating the moisture as water in a tank located in the machine, there will pretty much always be a large amount of water present in the dryer.
If this is allowed to leak, this can become a problem if you have a carpet underneath. The moisture will cause mould and rot in the carpet which can ruin the carpet itself, but also create an unpleasant smell as well as potentially posing health risks.
Carpeted surfaces can cause problems with ventilation for tumble dryers. Both condenser and heat pump tumble dryers need proper ventilation to operate safely.
Without adequate ventilation, the dryer can start to retain heat and this can cause damage to components of the machine as well as cause it to shutdown in the middle of a cycle.
Carpet retains heat pretty well and so if a dryer is placed in a carpeted space, this will prevent the heat from dissipating properly, increasing the risk of heat build up in the dryer.
By now you’re probably convinced that installing a dryer onto carpet is definitely a bad idea!
So let’s look at where is best for a condenser dryer.
Best Position for Condenser Tumble Dryers
Condenser dryers have the luxury of being able to be placed almost anywhere (except carpeted places of course). This is because, unlike vented tumble dryers, they do not need to be placed near a window or opening in the wall to feed a hose through.
Because of this, you have pretty free reign of where to put your condenser dryer.
The kitchen or a utility room are generally the best places for this dryer. As long as the ambient temperature is warm enough to keep the water inside from condensing in different places, but also cold enough to condense at all, you’ll be fine.
The dryer also needs some kind of ambient ventilation, which essentially means that small confined spaces are not a good idea.
If there is space in your kitchen next to your washer, then this is the ideal position as the ventilation and temperature will be OK, but also it will be easy to transfer a load of laundry from your washer to the dryer.
Other Safety Tips for Tumble Dryers
There are a number of other tips regarding safety that you should know for installing and operating your tumble dryer.
Use fire and water resistant surfaces: If you can’t avoid carpet in your home, then it’s definitely worth investing in some kind of fire and water resistant material.
If you have some sheets of this kind, you can place it between the carpet and the dryer, which will protect your carpet against heat and moisture damage, as well as protecting the dryer from overheating.
Clear away the lint: This is really important for all kinds of tumble dryer. Keeping the lint filter in your machine clear helps the dryer to run efficiently as more lint causes the machine to work harder for longer.
Lint is also flammable, though, and if it is left to build up can pose a serious fire risk in the dryer.
It is best to clean the lint filter about once a week to keep your dryer in good condition.
Avoid drying certain items: In some very unlikely scenarios, your dryer can actually fully catch fire due to oil stains on clothing.
Oil stains from cooking that have splashed onto your clothes are fairly common. Oils in general are flammable and there is the risk of these stains igniting inside the dryer due to the high temperatures reached.
It is best to try and thoroughly remove oil stains before drying, which will usually be done during your wash cycle.
Avoiding overloading is good practice as well as if the dryer is too full, air flow will be restricted, which can cause overheating of the dryer.
So overall, definitely not a good idea to install a tumble dryer on a carpeted surface. Doing so only really brings problems.
If you have no other choice, though, then investing in some fire or water resistant sheets to put down is a must.
If in any doubt, the manufacturer’s instructions will have guidelines on installation, or if you have an engineer install it, they will be able to advise on the best place in your home.
As long as you follow the various safety guidelines here, then you’ll be all set!