It is never a good sign when you see smoke coming from a dryer. I can tell you from personal experience, this can actually be frightening when you consider how flammable lint is and how quickly it can engulf the home in flames. However, that may not be the only cause of smoke, as sometimes this is “only” a sign of a basic repair that is needed. Regardless, if you see smoke, stop the cycle, unplug the dryer, and let’s see if we can figure out the problem.
Some Skill Needed
To be clear, investigating this problem will require some skill in terms of appliance repair. If you do not have that, you may want to consider taking one of our appliance technician training programs. Over the years, you would be surprised at how much money you can save in home repairs, as well as possibly picking up some odd jobs around the neighborhood. You never know, you just may wind up starting your own small business!
What Causes Dryer to Smoke?
Dryer Lint – this is the first thing that I would be looking at simply because of how dangerous it is. Lint is like kindling and as the saying goes, where this smoke, there’s fire. If a piece of link contacts a heating element, it could smolder and possibly catch on fire. We highly recommend cleaning out the lint trap after EVERY use as well as having your dryer vents professionally cleaned a few times a year.
Thermostat – if the thermostat is not working, it cannot tell how hot the dryer is, which means it could be operating at temperature far above the norm. Needless to say, this can be quite dangerous. For this, you will need to open the housing of the dryer to check the thermostat to test it.
Drive Belt – just like your car uses a belt to run the motor, so does the dryer. The drive belt can become dislodged or worn down. With excessive use and high heat, it can even melt, which you would surely smell, as well as see smoke. Again, the dryer has to be opened up in order to see if this is the problem.
Chemicals on Clothes – this is something a lot of people do not even consider when they toss their clothes into the washer. If you have been working with dangerous chemicals or flammable liquids and the clothes are not completely free of those liquids or chemicals, the heat from the drying cycle could create smoke or possibly even start a fire.
Motor – if the source of the problem is nothing listed above, it could be a failed motor. If the motor ports are worn or creating friction, you are going to see some smoke from the dryer.
Whatever you do, do not get in over your head on the repair and only investigate what you can reasonably do without damaging the dryer. This is not time to have that bravado kick. If you do not have the skills to investigate or make the repairs on your own, call your local appliance repair technician to check it out.