Anything that threatens the safety of the family or risks damage to property is a top priority in many if not all homes.
Now smoke coming out of the clothes dryer falls into that category.
It can be a sign of a fire that’s about to happen and it should be of concern!
But what causes it, how can you avoid it and what can you do to stop it? Is it normal in some cases?
Well, this post highlights what can cause the smoke and what actions you can take should there be smoke from the dryer so that you’re in a better position to handle the situation when it happens.
Note: This is intended as a guide. Always contact the clothes dryer manufacturer or a qualified technician for your dryer make and model for support.
Smoke from your Dryer? Possible Causes
If you pick up the burning smell when you switch on the dryer, immediately switch it off from the wall outlet or circuit breaker then check the following:
1. Have you selected a higher temperature than is recommended for the fabric(s) in the dryer? You should set a low temperature (or avoid using the dryer – check the clothes label for guidance) for clothes that have rayon or a blend of it.
There’s a risk of burning (and shrinking too!) if you set a higher temperature than is recommended.
Check if this is the case.
2. Is there a build-up of lint from the clothes in the lint trap or vent that needs to be cleaned out? When was the last time you cleaned the lint filter?
A combination of the build-up of lint and the high temperature in the dryer can result in a burning smell.
Check the lint filter (refer to the owner manual for your dryer model for where this is and how to access it).
Use a brush with soft bristles or a vacuum to remove the lint in the trap.
3. (New dryers only) – there’s an oily coating on some parts in the dryer that gives off a smoky smell when the dryer is used the first time.
Running the dryer empty for about 15-20 min usually helps.
4. There’s an electrical fault in the dryer. Shorting wires in the dryer can give off a burning smell. The short can be within the dryer, along the power cord, or at the wall outlet.
Switch off the dryer and contact a qualified technician for support immediately.
What to Do
When you detect the burning smell, as a first step, switch off the dryer immediately as a precaution.
With the dryer switched off, locate the source of the smell. Possible causes are listed here.
Do not use the dryer until you’ve identified and resolved what’s causing the burning smell.
Do not hesitate to contact a qualified technician for support.
Smoke from the wall outlet
Should there be smoke at the outlet, switch off the outlet or circuit breaker to stop the electricity supply to the dryer.
There’re several possible explanations why there might be smoke – perhaps there’s a short in the power cord, plug, or wiring at the outlet.
Loosely fitted plug and wire connections in the wall receptacle are prone to sparking, and heating of the plug/outlet which gives off the burnt smell.
Confirm that you’re using the recommended wire gauge for the power cord, and plug type and that the electrical circuit to which it is connected can handle the dryer amp draw.
Do not hesitate to contact a qualified technician for assistance.
You may also be interested in this post: Electric dryer element keeps burning out – what to do
Is it Normal for a New Dryer to have the Smell of Smoke?
It is normal for the dryer to give off a burning smell the first time it’s used.
This should stop after about 20 minutes of use (run the dryer empty).
Do not hesitate to contact the supplier should you have any concerns though.
If the dryer has been in use for some time and there’s still a burning smell then you should be concerned.
Do not hesitate to contact the dryer manufacturer or qualified technician.
Tips to Remove the Smoky Smell from a Dryer
If the burning smell in the dryer persists, leave the dyer door open. Open windows and vents to improve the airflow so that it dies down faster.
It is normal for a new electric dryer to give off a burning smell during the first 15-20 minutes of use.
Once in operation, the smell is a bad sign and should be investigated and resolved before continuing to use the dryer.
Make sure you’re using the correct temperature setting for the clothes, and check for lint buildup and any electrical faults.
Hope this helps!