Dryer Smells Like Burning? How to Fix It

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A burning smell coming out of your dryer can be very worrying due to the risk dryers pose for igniting fires. But no need to stress out. In this guide, we will discuss all of the main reasons why this can occur and how you can fix the underlying problem so the burning smell stops.

Let’s dive in.

Is your lint filter clean?

The most common cause of a burning smell coming from your dryer is when the lint filter gets clogged. This not only causes a burning smell, but it’s also extremely dangerous, as it can start a fire. Most manufacturers recommend that you clean the filter out after every use to avoid this from happening.

This is how to clean the lint filter:

  1. Find the lint filter, and remove it from your dryer.
  2. Give it a good clean – you can use a vacuum cleaner if necessary.
  3. Vacuum or wipe up any lint around the filter assembly and the door of your dryer.
  4. Remove the exhaust hose, and then vacuum around the vent or wipe it up.
  5. Once the filter and all lint have been cleaned up, turn your dryer back on, and check if the smell has gone. If not, check the thermostat (see below).

Does the thermostat work?

Once you’ve cleaned the lint filter, we recommend that you check the thermostat. To do this, you will need a multimeter. The thermostat monitors the temperature in your dryer, and if it becomes defective, your dryer might overheat, and a burning smell might develop.

Here’s how to check the thermostat:

  1. Switch the power off to your dryer.
  2. Detach both the top and side panels off your dryer. This usually just involves unthreading the screws that hold them in place, and they will then unclip from the dryer. Sometimes you will need to remove wire harnesses as well.
  3. Locate the thermostat within your dryer, remove it, and then test it with your multimeter for continuity.
  4. If the thermostat is faulty, replace it. If working correctly, reattach it into your dryer, and move on to checking the drive belt (see below).
  5. Once the new thermostat is installed, turn your dryer back on, and check if the burning smell has stopped. If you can still smell burning, you will need to check the drive belt (see below).

Is the drive belt properly connected?

The drive belt can be found around the dryer drum. Its purpose is to help the drum rotate during a cycle. Sometimes the drive belt can come out of place and encounter the heating element, which can cause a burning smell.

To make sure the drive belt isn’t the cause of the burning smell, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Switch the power off to your dryer if you haven’t already.
  2. Remove the top and side panels off your dryer if you haven’t already.
  3. Find the drive belt, and make sure that it is properly connected around the dryer drum and both pulleys.
  4. If the drive belt is out of place or damaged, replace it. If the drive belt is fine, move on to checking for lint at the back of the dryer (see below).
  5. Once a new belt has been installed, check if the burning smell has stopped. If not, check for lint at the back of the dryer (see below).

Is there lint at the back of the dryer?

Lint can sometimes get into the back of your dryer and come into contact with the heating element. This is extremely dangerous, as it poses a fire risk and can cause a burning smell to develop when you turn your dryer on.

Checking for lint is simple; here’s what to do:

  1. Switch the power off to your dryer if you haven’t already.
  2. Remove the top and side panels off your dryer if you haven’t already.
  3. Look at the back of the internal side of your dryer unit for any signs of lint. If there is any lint, use a vacuum cleaner or damp cloth to wipe it up.
  4. Once you have removed any lint, check if the burning smell has stopped. If the burning smell is still occurring or if there wasn’t any lint at the back of the dryer, move on to checking the motor (see below).

Is the motor faulty?

Sometimes the main motor in your dryer that is responsible for powering your dryer can become defective, which can cause a burning smell to develop. When this happens, the motor will need to be replaced.

To check the dryer motor and, if necessary, replace it, here’s what to do:

  1. Switch the power off to your dryer if you haven’t already.
  2. Detach both the top and side panels off your dryer if you haven’t already.
  3. Locate the motor in your dryer, disconnect it, and then test it with your multimeter for continuity.
  4. If the dryer motor is faulty, replace it. If working correctly, it is not the cause of the burning smell.
  5. Once the new motor is installed, turn your dryer back on, and check if the burning smell has stopped. If the burning smell has stopped, your dryer is ready to be used again!
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