You never want to see smoke coming out of a household appliance. Several problems can cause the smoke coming out of your dryer vent or machine, including lint blockage, a worn-out belt or thermostat, or even residual chemicals. First, unplug the dryer right now. If the smoke doesn’t go away or if you see flames, call emergency services immediately. If the smoke dissipates, you can use our troubleshooting tips to determine the cause of your dryer smoking.
To diagnose most of the following potential problems, you’ll need to be ready to open the dryer housing and possibly remove some of the components. Most dryers can be opened with a screwdriver and a pair of pliers, but always follow the instructions in your dryer owner’s manual.
If you are not comfortable with diagnosing your smoking dryer or simply don’t have the time, schedule an appointment with your local Mr. Appliance online or call us today.
Dryer Smoking? Use These Troubleshooting Tips
- Clogged Lint Vent The most common cause of dryer smoking is excess lint contacting hot components of the unit, such as the heating element. Even if you always clean the lint screen after every dryer cycle, extra lint builds up on all the interior surfaces of the dryer housing and inside the vent hose. Consider replacing an accordion-style vent hose with the smoothest, shortest vent pipe possible. Mr. Appliance also recommends scheduling professional dryer vent cleaning service at least once a year.
- Blown Thermostat If your dryer’s thermostat is failing, it cannot sense how hot the heating element is. This can cause higher-than-normal temperatures inside the dryer and cause the dryer smoking—and, eventually, a fire. To diagnose a thermostat problem, you will need to open the dryer housing, remove the thermostat, and test it with an ohmmeter. An appliance professional can do this most accurately and recommend the next steps.
- Damaged Drive Belt Just as your car’s engine uses a drive belt to move the vehicle, your dryer uses a drive belt to spin the drum. Over time, a dryer’s drive belt can become dislodged, worn down, or even melted. Drive belts can cause a burning smell or smoke in the dryer. The only way to diagnose a drive belt issue is to open up the dryer and examine the belt.
- Flammable Chemicals If fabrics with residual chemicals are placed in the dryer, they can catch fire. If this happens, unplug the dryer, keep the dryer door closed (to minimize oxygen flow), and call emergency services. Next time you need to wash clothing contaminated with flammable chemicals such as gasoline, your best course of action is to wash the clothes more than once—ideally hand-wash the first time—and then hang to dry.
- Failing Dryer Motor A worn-out dryer motor can also cause dryer smoking, due to friction of grinding motor parts. In addition to smoky, a failing dryer motor is usually very noisy. Dryer motors should always be replaced by a qualified and experienced technician.
Is Smoke Coming Out of Your Dryer Vent or Dryer? Call Mr. Appliance
If you see smoke coming out of your dryer vent or dryer and you determine it isn’t a fire emergency, leave the unit unplugged and contact your local Mr. Appliance team. Our technicians have the training and experience required to properly diagnose and fix your smoking dryer, respecting you and your home throughout service.