What Cause Burning Smell From The Dryer?

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Why does my dryer smell like it’s burning?

When you notice a burning smell from dryer, there may be several different causes.

First and foremost, this isn’t a good sign as it is a fire hazard.

Therefore, stop using your dryer if you notice a burning smell from dryer.

These are some of the common reasons it might smell like it’s burning

  1. There’s lint built up in the lint tray. Built up lint not only causes your dryer to take longer to dry clothing, but over time, can also be a fire hazard.
  2. Clean out the tray after each use to prevent buildup
  3. Vent hose blockage can also cause the fire smell
  4. Check the hose for built up lint
  5. Check the hose for kinks as this can cause less air to flow through freely and block up the connection
  6. Worn belt
  7. Similar to your vacuum cleaner, if you’ve ever changed a belt, you know that piled up rubber/broken belt can cause a fire smell; if the belt is damaged or broken, replace it in the dryer
  8. Thermostat failure (this will likely require you to call a professional repair tech to replace/repair it)
  9. The motor’s burnt out/failed, in which case it has to be replaced

Sometimes, clothing can even cause this smell.

If a small piece gets caught between the outside drum and dryer wall, it can get scorched. Although infrequent, make sure to avoid piling in too much clothing when using your dryer.

Can dryers catch on fire?

Yes, it is possible for your clothes dryer to catch on fire. Some of the causes of this might be

  • Dryer vents aren’t properly cleaned/maintained (at least once annually)
  • Dryer vent fires are more common in winter months (sweaters, thicker clothing, wool, and heavier materials); so clean lint trays regularly
  • Too much lint buildup in the lint tray
  • Volatile chemicals on clothing
  • Pre-treat clothing that’s come into contact with gas, chemicals, toxic/toxins, oils, etc. When spinning at high heats, it can cause a fire
  • Heating element burning out

Each of these are possible reasons that a dryer fire can occur. Regular maintenance and routine cleaning, are simple steps you can take to prevent a dryer fire.

Can a dryer belt cause a fire?

A broken dryer belt doesn’t only result in burning smell from dryer, but can also lead to a dryer fire if it is not properly tended to.

Replacing a broken dryer belt should be done as soon as you find out this is what’s causing your dryer to malfunction (not spin).

The high heat which your dryer is producing while drying clothing, rubber (from the belt), and friction from the drum not spinning properly and high temperatures, are a not a great combination in an enclosed space.

Although it is not the most common cause of dryer fires, it is important to ensure your dryer drum belt is intact, functioning normally, and isn’t getting jammed while the dryer cycle is operating.

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If you hear a squeaking sound while you’re drying clothing, or if you notice the drum skips or doesn’t spin as easily as it should while drying clothing, these might be signs that the dryer drum belt is broken or is cracking.

If you don’t know how to replace it, you should contact a repair technician who can assess the dryer and drum belt, and if necessary, replace the broken drum belt with a new one.

It’s a quick fix, and it is a simple way to prevent dryer fires in the home.

What to do if your dryer smells like it’s burning?

The first thing you’ll want to do is stop the dryer. Burning smell from dryer is a possibility that there’s something broken, a part is malfunctioning, or that there’s something caught in the fans, belt, or vent system.

You don’t want to allow the dryer cycle to finish before trying to figure out what the problem may be.

So, the first thing you’ll do, is turn off the dryer. If you can stop the cycle directly on your machine, do so immediately.

Otherwise, unplug the dryer to stop it from continuing to rotate.

Once the parts have cooled down, you can check the lint tray for buildup.

You can also check the hoses to see if they’re kinked up behind the machine. A belt might have snapped.

There are several reasons that the burning smell from dryer is present, as highlighted above.

So, if you aren’t sure, or can’t pinpoint exactly what got caught/jammed and was causing the smell, your best option is to call a repair technician to assess the dryer/parts, to determine what’s malfunctioning or has broken.

Can dryers overheat?

Yes, your dryer can overheat. Some newer models/series, might have an auto shut off feature which will automatically stop the dryer if this is the case to prevent a fire.

However, most models will not shut it off automatically.

The most common cause of a dryer overheating is that the airflow is restricted somewhere.

When there’s a blockage in the internal ductwork, the air hose becomes trapped inside the drum.

This is not only going to cause your dryer to become too hot, but it is a major fire hazard if not dealt with properly.

Other common reasons the dryer tends to overheat includes a damaged/broken thermostat (which will have to be replaced by a licensed technician), or problems with the heating element.

Over time, heating elements warp/shutoff, this causes direct contact with the drum and other internal components. High levels of friction can lead to overheating.

Will aluminum foil catch fire in the dryer?

In most instances, no; in fact, many people use aluminum foil dryer balls to help prevent static in the dryer/clothing and to help speed up the drying cycle process.

It is a good idea, however, to make sure the aluminum foil dryer ball or dryer sheet you make is properly placed, surrounded by clothing, and is immediately removed with your clothing after your dry cycle is complete.

Reader Comments (2)

  1. Thank you for informing me that dryers can overheat, which can be a fire hazard and is bad for the dryer. Yesterday, I noticed that there was a really weird clanking sound and smell coming from the dryer. I thought it was just something I was drying but it is still happening. I have no idea what could be wrong. It sounds like I should look for dryer repair services that could help me.

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