Your Dryer Smells Like Burning? Here’s What to Do

dryer repair man inspecting a dryer
If the dryer smells like burning, there could be a few commonplace reasons. However, just to be safe, we recommend shutting off the appliance and performing a DIY inspection to ensure there are no underlying problems at hand. A burning smell can sometimes go away on its own, but a lasting one is unpleasant and a cause for concern.
Most often, when the dryer smells like burning, the usual reason is a lack of regular maintenance in cleaning the lint trap or ducts. Homeowners rarely check these parts and a buildup of lint can catch fire due to heat from the appliance. Our guide will explain what to do and how to troubleshoot a dryer to ensure everything is safe and sound.

Let a New Dryer Work

A new dryer usually has a distinct smell when it first starts working. The parts can still display traces of residue from the manufacturing process, which usually needs to air out over time. It’s possible that a new dryer smells like burning from these oils or coats, but this shouldn’t last beyond the first dozen runs.

Checking the Lint Trap, Hose, or Duct

The fine lint that collects over the course of drying cycles can be highly flammable. The lint trap inside the appliance (if you have one) can only hold so much before it starts clogging up the rest of the device. Regular cleaning and inspection will usually suffice and prevent lint from getting where it shouldn’t.
If you have a dryer with a lint duct or ventilation hose, inspect it for any clogs or obstructions. While the dryer usually blows air strong enough to prevent major clogs, lint can snag on scratches or debris and build up over time. When the pipe is blocked, it can blow hot air back into the appliance and displace the lint into the electronics, which get incredibly hot when the device is turned on and ignite the lint.

Air Dry Work Clothes

Some chemical spills might not be dryer-safe. Gasoline, mineral spirits, and paint thinner are some of the most flammable substances and can easily get on clothes if you’re not careful during a DIY project. If you notice a burning smell with a particular set of working clothes, it’s better to remove them from the appliance and let them air dry.

Open the Appliance

If there is not enough lint to cause concern, you’ll usually need to open the appliance up and troubleshoot the moving parts. The parts that most commonly break and burnout over time are the belt drive, thermostat, and motor. Before you unscrew the lid, disconnect the appliance from the power.
When you open the lid, check all electronics and other moving parts for signs of damage or burning. Any black or charred spots are a solid indicator that something is overheating inside the dryer. A broken thermostat can also detect the wrong temperature. You can use your appliance’s manual to find where the thermostat is located and how to extract it. Use an ohmmeter or a multimeter to check the thermostat for faults. If the meter reads anything other than zero or infinity, you should replace the part.

Call the Pros

If you can’t figure out why the dryer smells like burning, we might be able to help. Ideal Fix offers a comprehensive dryer repair service. We keep a stock of replacement parts at the ready to make the repairs swift and hassle-free. Contact us with your dryer’s make and model to get expedited service. Our crew can carry the necessary parts at the first service call to speed up the process and repair the appliance immediately after inspection.

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