The burning smell from your dryer may be lint buildup or another common problem—such as a failing thermostat, motor, or belt. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, clothes dryers start 2,900 house fires per year. About a third of those fires are caused by excess lint buildup inside the dryer, so it’s time to investigate.
A burning smell from a dryer is cause for alarm but not full-on panic. The first thing to do is unplug the dryer and remove the clothes from the drum. This is your best bet to prevent the dryer (and your clothes) from catching on fire. Then you can check the troubleshooting guide below to pinpoint the cause of the dryer smells.
If you’d like professional help right away, call Mr. Appliance® at (888) 998-2011 or schedule an appointment online with our dryer repair experts.
Troubleshooting a Burning Smell from Dryer
Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual to open the dryer. This usually involves unplugging the unit before removing the top control bar, the top panel, and then the front panel of the dryer housing. Now you should be able to see inside the dryer and diagnose the dryer smells.
- Lint Buildup
Do you see lint buildup inside the dryer? Use a vacuum hose attachment to clean out as much of the lint as you can. Be careful when vacuuming the motor and heating element. Also clean the inside walls of the housing and the floor underneath the unit. Now would also be a great time to detach the vent hose and shake the debris and lint out of it. Reassemble the dryer, and try running an empty cycle to see if the burning smell goes away. Don’t leave the unit unattended as you test.
To get the most thorough clean possible, schedule professional dryer vent cleaning with Mr. Appliance.
- Failing Thermostat
If lint is not an apparent problem inside the dryer, the thermostat may be failing. When a dryer’s thermostat goes bad, it can’t sense or control the temperature inside the dryer, so it may get far too hot and cause dryer smells. While the dryer is unplugged, use your owner’s manual to locate and remove the thermostat from the dryer. Use an ohmmeter to test the thermostat. If the ohmmeter reads anything besides zero, the thermostat needs to be replaced. Mr. Appliance can do this troubleshooting and repair job quickly and efficiently; all you need to do is schedule a time that’s convenient for you.
- Bad Drive Belt
Many dryers, especially old ones, use a rubber drive belt to turn the drum. If the belt is old or slips out of place, it can melt due to friction or coming into contact with the heating element. Look for a long rubber belt inside the dryer; if there is one, verify that it’s wrapped snugly (but not tightly) around the drum. Inspect it for signs of wear, drying, melting, or cracking. If it appears that the belt needs to be replaced, take the old one with you to the store to make sure you purchase the right replacement. Or ask your local Mr. Appliance to source the ideal appliance part and even install it for you.
- Damaged Dryer Motor
An aging dryer motor can burn out and cause dryer smells. If your motor is going bad, the burning smell from your dryer will be accompanied by a lot of noise. Dryer motors should always be replaced by a qualified technician.
Let Mr. Appliance Resolve Your Dryer Smells
Mr. Appliance repairs washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, and any other household appliance that’s giving you trouble. We offer flexible appointments that work with your busy schedule. Our flat-rate pricing means there will be no surprise add-on charges when our work is complete. Our technicians pass background checks and receive ongoing training to ensure that you will always receive the best service possible.
If your dryer smells like it’s burning, unplug it and call Mr. Appliance at (888) 998-2011 today, or schedule your dryer repair online with our appliance repair experts.