According to the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Data Center, clothes dryers are responsible for approximately 15,600 structure fires around the country each year. Eighty percent of these fires start with clogged dryer vents, and result in 15 deaths and 400 injuries on average annually. Thousands of other home occupants are treated for symptoms of poisonous gas fumes that back up into the home due to blocked dryer vents.
Cleaning the lint trap in your dryer is a good practice, but it’s not enough to prevent a fire from sparking in your dryer vent. To keep your dryer efficient and safe, have any vinyl or plastic flexible transition ducts between the dryer and the main vent replaced with a a semi-rigid metal transition duct, since plastic and vinyl transition ducts can catch fire, unlike the semi-rigid metal ducts.
You’ll also want to make sure the opening of the dryer vent pipe outside is free of any birds’ nests, bushes or other debris that accumulates over time.