Like most modern households, you rely primarily on your dryer to dry your laundry. Weather doesn’t always cooperate with hanging clothes outside to dry, and many neighborhoods don’t permit clotheslines. Dryers provide a more convenient option, as long as they work properly. But when they don’t, they can be a fire safety risk in your home. 

Have you noticed a burning smell coming from your dryer? If so, you should turn it off immediately. Once your dryer has stopped, give it a few minutes to cool down before troubleshooting the problem. Then try the following steps to determine the cause of the burning smell, or seek professional dryer repair

Clean Out the Lint Trap 

The number one cause of the burning smell in your dryer is most likely the lint trap. When the lint trap is full it can become clogged, preventing proper ventilation of the heat in your dryer. This can cause your dryer to overheat, which is the source of the burning smell. Most dryers have a safety feature that shuts off the dryer automatically if the temperature gets too high. But if not, it could continue to overheat and even catch on fire. 

Remove all of the lint you can see in the lint trap. Then use your vacuum cleaner with an attachment to suck lint out of the space behind the lint trap where it may be built up. Once you have thoroughly cleaned it out, resume the dry cycle and stay close by to make sure the burning smell is gone.  

Check the Vent Tube 

If the burning smell resumes after cleaning out the lint trap, there may be a lint blockage in the vent tube, the silver tube leading from the back of your dryer to the outside vent. In order to clean out the vent tube, first disconnect it from the back of your dryer. Using your vacuum cleaner, suck out any lint that may be stuck in the tube. Another option is to remove the tube from the wall vent as well, take it outside, and use a leaf blower to blow all of the lint out of the tube. 

Once you have thoroughly cleaned out the tube, reattach it to the back of your dryer and the wall vent and resume the dry cycle. Wait a few minutes to see if the burning smell is gone. If not, there may be a different issue causing the smell. 

Other Potential Dryer Problems

If trapped lint is not the problem, there may be a mechanical issue with your dryer, such as: 

  • Thermostat. The thermostat should regulate the temperature when it is working properly. However, if it is not, it could allow the dryer to overheat and not trip the safety switch to turn off the dryer. 
  • Heating element. The heating element itself could be malfunctioning, causing your dryer to overheat. 
  • Drive belt. The belt around the drum of your dryer, the drive belt, may have come loose and is coming in contact with the heating element, causing the burning smell. 
  • Motor. The motor itself could be malfunctioning and overheating. 

A professional appliance repair service can diagnose and possibly repair any of these problems. These are more complex than a lint clog and should be left to the professionals to ensure your dryer returns to safe operation. 

What Should I Do if My Dryer Smells Like it’s Burning?

If you’ve tried cleaning the lint out of your dryer and vent tube and you still smell burning, you need the help of an experienced appliance repair technician. America’s Appliance Repair provides diagnosis and repair for all makes and models of dryers. Malfunctioning dryers account for more than 15,000 house fires each year. Keep your home and family safe by having your dryer professionally inspected and repaired. 

Call 800-639-9340 or contact us today to learn more and schedule a service appointment.