RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- You probably remember to change the batteries in your smoke alarm, but there's one potentially life-saving fire prevention step you might be skipping.
"Dryer fires can be just as dangerous as having a candle in your home and left unattended," said Truckee Meadows Fire Marshall Amy Ray.
Ray said they see dryer fires regularly.
"There's about 17 thousand fires a year that are caused by dryers," she said.
Ray said about one-third of those are caused by lint build-up.
Cleaning dryer systems is Dmitri Botcharov's specialty. He said raising awareness is the first step.
"People don't even know they should do it," he said.
Like other appliances your dryer needs maintenance.
"At least check it on an annual basis," Ray said.
When it comes to preventing dryer fires, just checking your lint filter isn't enough.
"The bulk of the lint is accumulated in the dryer vent itself," Botcharov said.
In addition to build-ups, kinked hoses are also a safety concern.
"This should never occur because it blocks the air passage," Botcharov said.
That means lint can't get out, and Botcharov's partner in Broadview Pro Marshall Brooker said that's dangerous.
"The heating coils in the back if they catch any lint it could start a fire instantly," he said. "[Lint is] actually very flammable. It lights quickly and it spreads very fast."
So Ray said you shouldn't put a load of laundry in and leave.
"You never leave the dryer running when you're not at home and you never leave it running when you're sleeping," Ray said.
Botcharov and Brooker's dryer system service costs about $50 and takes 30 to 45 minutes.
For more information about dryer safety, click here