Every year, tens of thousands of homes are damaged by fire started by a clothes dryer. In most cases, it’s because the dryer has not been properly cleaned. If you own one of these appliances, here are a few safety tips to follow. Always clean the lint screen before or after each load of clothes. Replace plastic or foil accordion-style ducting with rigid metal duct work. Disconnect, clean and inspect the dryer duct and venting every other year. Keep the area around the dryer clean and free from clutter. Clean behind the dryer, where lint can build up. Install a smoke detector in or near your laundry room. And, finally, never let a dryer run when you are not at home or while you sleep.