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What to Do if Your Dryer Smells like Burning?

Toronto | GTA | Barrie | Collingwood

When there’s a burning smell coming from your dryer you might be tempted to panic and that’s a pretty normal reaction. The best thing to do is to start by taking a big breath and think about what the issue might be. It’s important to always keep a level head. So let’s explore all of the potential causes for that burning smell and how they can be fixed.

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What Does it Mean When Your Dryer Smells Like It’s Burning

If your dryer smells like it’s burning and won’t start we recommend unplugging the appliance immediately and calling Fix Appliances CA. In most cases though, the dryer will still work fine when your dryer smells burnt. Usually, the issue can be simply resolved with some basic maintenance.

Lint Trap

One of the most common reasons for that dryer burning smell is a build-up of lint in your lint trap. We’re often surprised to discover how many homeowners aren’t aware that the lint trap on a dryer should be emptied after every use. It only takes a few seconds, but it will keep your machine operating well and you’re less likely to experience that burning smell.

Lint in The Ventilation Hose

Your lint trap isn’t the only possible cause of a burning smell coming from your dryer. Lint can also build up in the vent hose that leads from your dryer to the outside of your house. This usually happens over an extended period of time.

The best way to avoid this is to create a regular cleaning schedule for yourself. If you clean the pipe at least once a year you’ll likely avoid excess build-up that can cause that burning smell and a potential fire hazard. If you want to be on the safe side, consider cleaning the vent pipe every 6 months.

Vent Pipe Exterior

If you’ve ever sat outside on your patio on warm summer nights and been overwhelmed by the smell of freshly washed clothing, there’s a good chance you’re sitting close to a vent pipe cover on the exterior of your home. Lint also tends to build-up at this exit point as well. You can clean it out with a small brush in a few seconds — just be sure to watch for any insects, wasps, hornets, or other creatures that might be living in there. If you clear this exterior section of the vent pipe every couple of months you should be fine.


If There’s A Burning Smell From My Dryer Do I Need A New One?

How Old is Your Dryer?

If you’ve cleared away all of the lint from the vent pipe and lint trap and you can still smell smoke when you turn your dryer on you may have some more problems to worry about. First, consider the age of your dryer. All appliances have a shelf life. If you’ve been using the same dryer for 5 to 10 years it may just be nearing the end of its life cycle. When that happens its moving parts may begin to wear and it can become too expensive to fix.

Has Your Dryer Ever Been Serviced Professionally?

Before you do throw in the towel on your old dryer you may want to consider a service call first. A qualified professional can quickly identify the problem and it may not be as expensive as you expected. At worst, they can tell you if it really is time to purchase a new appliance after troubleshooting all potential reasons why your dryer smells like burning.

Are there External Issues that Might Be Causing the Dryer Burning Smell?

One more avenue you may want to investigate before giving up on your older dryer is to look at any potential external causes that could be the reason the dryer has a burning smell. Be cautious. If you see any sign of smoke anywhere unplug your appliance immediately and consult a professional. You may be dealing with a faulty electric outlet and that’s when it’s time to call in an electrician.

What Other Problems Could Be Causing My Dryer Burning Smell?

Dryer Smells Like Burnt Plastic

If your dryer smells like burnt plastic or burnt rubber take a close look at the power cord connecting your dryer to the electrical outlet. If the protective covering over the cord has worn through that smell may be the outer layer of the cord burning. This is both a fire hazard and a safety issue. Turn off the dryer, disconnect the power to the outlet, unplug the cord, and seek professional assistance.

The Clothes You’re Washing May Have Gas On Them

One thing that may be causing a burning smell that isn’t often considered are the clothes you have in the dryer. If you have gasoline or other flammable chemicals on that clothing, the heat from the dryer could be reacting with it to create the strong smell you’re being exposed to. It’s probably best to consider hand washing those clothes and air drying them outside.

The Belt Might Be Slipping

Inside every dryer is a motor that turns the dryer drum using a thick belt. Dryer belts don’t last forever. As they begin to wear over time they may start to slip. This is one of the most common causes of that burning smell you may be faced with. If the drum in your dryer stops spinning, there’s a good chance that a worn belt is a reason.

It Could Be the Motor

So just what causes a dryer to smell like smoke? If you’ve looked at all other options such as a build-up of lint, a potentially frayed power cord, or a faulty electrical outlet, it could be the dryer’s motor overheating. A professional technician may be able to replace it for you, but it could be cheaper and easier to just buy a new dryer at this point.

Have a Professional Check the Thermostat

Most of us are familiar with what a thermostat does. There’s one in every modern home that regulates the temperature inside. Your dryer also has a thermostat and it performs the same function — it regulates heat in your machine.

If the internal temperature of your dryer becomes too hot the thermostat sends a signal for the dryer to shut down. If there’s a burning smell and you can’t identify any other causes then it may be the thermostat. You should consult a professional before attempting to use your dryer again.

Contact FIX Appliances CA for Help With That Burning Smell From Your Dryer

If you’ve done all of your due diligence and checked every obvious reason for that burning smell from your dryer and you’re still scratching your head, call Fix Appliances CA.

We’re a trusted and reliable company with more than 15 years of experience. We’re always honest and fair and we’re available when you need us. Call today and we’ll send a factory-trained technician to your home for a reliable estimate before we begin any repairs. We offer both residential and commercial appliance repair services. Call us at 1-888-242-0777 or reach us via quote page for a free consultation.


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They were very professional and dig a great job. They even picked up the unit from the store for me.

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Angela, Kleinburg, ON
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