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Dryer burning smell

Just recently I've noticed a smell almost electrical coming from my electric dryer. I've already made sure there was no lint anywhere on the terminals on the back of the machine and it is clean inside as far as I can tell b/c I
already cleaned the trap with a lint brush. The main plug is fine and no smell is coming from it. The machine operates normally w/out issue when it is on the air dry mode, but as soon as the machine is switched to low or high a bad burning odor starts. I almost smells electrical. any suggestions as to what might be causing the smell. a bad relay, switch, faulty thermostat.

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  • Anonymous Feb 18, 2008

    on high heat it smells like something is burning.

    also the top (at the back) is so hot you cannot put your hand on it for any time.

  • Anonymous Nov 28, 2008

    smells like something is burning and running real hot on top of dryer

  • Anonymous Apr 26, 2009

    its still running very hot on top and got this very strange burning smell form it

  • Dale Simmons Jul 31, 2012

    Not that Lint is not a cause of a burning smell, but when the nose detects too hot of a heat, that is a different smell. Pay attention to the ability to check all of the electrical components connected to the heat element chamber as well as the blower chamber. When elements overheat and will not cycle on an off, the most likely problem is the "Cycling Thermostat". You can check this with an Ohm Meter or a Digital Multimeter set on the lowest ohm setting available on your meter. The two outside terminals that have the larger wires generally red colored can be tested for continuity. The key to the two inner terminals with the smaller wires on them goes to the internal heater inside the cycling thermostat. There will be writing stamped into the outside of the flange on the Cycling Thermostat. Generally in the form of "150-25F". Mark all wires before removing the Cycling Thermostat so proper reconnecting placement will be correct. Then check for continuity between the two outmost terminals. If you have no continuity, replace it. If there is continuity, place the device on an electric skillet and set the temp about 25 degrees above the marked temp on the device. If it says 150-25F for example set the skillet temp to 175 degrees with the cycling thermostat on the skillet and observe if the continuity opens above the 150 degree limit. If it does not open, replace the Cycling Thermostat. The two inner terminals again is only for the internal heater inside the Cycling Thermostat. This is the device that controls when your dryer heating element shuts off and they cycles back on after the temp drops so the dryer element does not stay on on the heat setting you have selected on the front of the dryer, such as Low, Medium, High, etc. Any of the limit thermostats can be checked in the same way, but they only have 2 terminals and are located in the heating element duct. There will be a number stamped into the flange of the high limit thermostat such as the upper most device near the top of the heating element cavity that shuts off the heating element if the temp rises above the number on the flange for the temperature rating of the upper limit thermostat (2 wire device). Again an electric skillet can be used and set 25 degrees above the rated temperature and the continuity should open above the rated temp on the ouside of the flange. The temp of the upper limit kick out is approximately 250 degrees F. Then there is the Thermal Fuse that once opens, it is toast and must be replaced if there is no continuity through the generally white colored device. The Thermal Fuse burns out about 300 degrees F to stop a fire from happening. If the fuse is good, at room temperature there will be continuity through the Thermal Fuse, a 2 wire device. I found nice videos and how to check the devices on the Not all videos are clearly accessible and require clicking around to find them. It does not get any clearer than the full descriptions on this site which always shows you how to use both an analog and a digital meter to check them. The first step is to thoroughly clean your dryer ducts first, then troubleshoot for defective components. This web site has the how-to videos to show you how to take apart and reassemble the ducting you need to clean. By ducting, I am not referring just to the outside vent pipe, but internal underneath the back cover of the dryer. A home vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment works real nice for cleaning the internal ducts after you remove them. Only a few screws holds them in place, so it is not that hard to do. My dryer I have overheat problems with is a Whirlpool model LEQ7030KQ1. Never attempt to check any of the dryer components with the dryer plugged into the wall outlet! The observation of the heating element can be done through a hole in the top of the heater element duct with the back off, but stay away from the electrical contacts! You can check for proper operation visually this way through that hole and changing from a low heat setting and stepping up through the upper heat settings. Then unplug the dryer from the wall before trying to replace the rear dryer cover!



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Have you painted or stained in your house or apartment recently? The smell gets everywhere, dryer, stove, heating unit. I recently primed with Kilz and the clothes from my dryer smelled burned. When I called for service, it was the first question the service person asked and said they made a lot of useless trips only to find nothing wrong with the appliance. That was my case. I had to rewash clothes and let the dryer run with towels for a while

Posted on Aug 05, 2012

  • Dale Simmons Aug 06, 2012

    No, I have not painted or stained in the house lately. But, those two girls certainly do spray lots of cleaners and perfume in the bathroom where the dryer is located. The mother seems to think she needs to use 5 dryer sheets instead of just one, and that is the sticky stuff I found coating the sensors. I also found half a bottle of Advil in the bottom of the lint trap chute. Probably before she got the dryer used about a year ago. Those were stuck on the metal and I cleaned them out.

  • Dale Simmons Aug 06, 2012

    The sticky substance all over the lint filter screen probably was a buildup of the dyer sheets she uses 5 of per load. It took some scrubbing with a brush and Dawn Dish Detergent and very hot water to get that off of the lint filter screen.



I have experienced a problem with my Miele T1515A dryer. I found the cartridge fuse for the red (hot) line was burned to a crisp. This is located in the power converter box and feeds the dryer power plug for one of the hot leads. The smell wasn't coming from the dryer at all. I have replaced all of my damaged (burned) parts in the power converter and now need to plug the dryer back into the power outlet and determine if this was the cause of the sympton of a problem within my dryer.

Sorry I can't provide more information, but this is as far as I have come with my troubleshooting to date for my particular burning smell problem.

Posted on Mar 04, 2008

  • Dale Simmons Aug 06, 2012

    Please make sure your Neutral wire is tight and all grounds are tight both in your main wiring both in the main electrical box and in the fuse box where the fuse burned up and around in the dryer where various grounds are attached to the metal framwork of your dryer. Those fuse boxes frequently get hot and burn up. I had a trailer in a trailer park that kept burning those fuses and fuse blocks up until they finally put in new breaker boxes.


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Is the fan running....with strong airflow out of the vent pipe? Is the smell coming from the vent pipe? If the vent pipe goes the smell coming from the control panel at the top??

If the fan is not running, or the air is somehow blocked, then the odor is probably caused by excessive heat around the heating element. A seriously overheating element should eventually cause a thermal overload protector to "trip" and shut off the power.

If the airflow is strong, the air intake may have drawn in paper, dust, lint, or something that is near or stuck on the heating element.

A relay, temperature control, timer module, or other part may be burning out. The defective part could possibly be found by "sniffing" the parts in the control panel to find the source of the smell...with the power unplugged!!...otherwise, this may require testing by someone familiar with appliance repairs.

Posted on Jan 22, 2008

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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SOURCE: odor around the lint trap, cleaned but persists

The lint trap is an opening into the dryer vent and vent pipe. The dryer needs to be pulled out from the wall, the vent pipe disconnected and then the back of the dryer and the entire pipe cleaned of lint and other debris. this is the only way to get rid of the odor.

Posted on May 20, 2009

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pls rate me.



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