Clothes dryer fires are real possibilities that may happen to you, as they are responsible for an average of 4,000 residential fires every year according to the National Fire Protection Association. Hence, it is no joke if there is a burning smell from your clothes dryer. Do something – understand your dryer’s anatomy and the potential causes of overheated clothes dryer to start protecting your home today.
Anatomy of clothes dryer
Both electric and gas clothes dryers have similar anatomy. Their burner or heating element should be in a protected chamber beneath the tumbler. The drive motor that runs the tumbler also runs the fan that generates air to enter through a grid on the front or back of the machine. The air circulates through the heating chamber and moves through the tumbler when it dries your clothes then exits through the vent. The dryer comes with one or two thermostats to turn off the heater on a periodic cycle so as to allow the dryer to cool before turning it on again. This periodic cycle is to help keep the temperature of your clothes dryer within a safe range.
One common malfunction of clothes dryer is overheating due to lack of ventilation caused by blocked vents that resulted in dryer or residential fires is. Since blocked vents is a frequent cause of dryer overheating, homeowners like yourself can easily correct by conducting frequent checks and avoid it from causing a dryer fire. First, check the link filter. Sometimes, the lint filter may not catch all the lint allowing some lint to find its way into the vents and get hung up on the corrugations. This is especially so if you are using flexible duct pipes for your dryer. The lint may also get collected in bends and/or in sagging lengths of your duct pipes.
When the vents are being blocked up by the lint, hot air cannot get out of the tumbler or heating chamber and your dryer can overheated. The solution or prevention maintenance is to clear and clean your dryer vents with a vent brush. If the vents are clean and clear, yet you do not feel any air circulation at the dryer vent outlet, then the circulation fan may be faulty. Remove the dryer cover to inspect the circulation fan and replace it if required to ensure proper air circulation within the dryer.
If your vents are clean and clear yet you still detect a burning smell from your overheated dryer, the next possible cause or culprit might be the cycling thermostat is faulty or defective. To verify if the thermostat is faulty and causing the dryer to overheat, unplug and turn off the dryer first before your remove the front cover. Next, you may need your dryer’s operating manual to locate the thermostat. After which, you should use a Volt-Ohm reader to conduct the test with settings according to the instructions of Volt-Ohm reader. If you do not get a reading of zero on your Volt-Ohm reader, the thermostat is probably faulty and you need to replace it. However, do note that dryer thermostats do not fail very often.
Prevention is better than cure
Using smooth metal pipes for your dryer vents is recommended to prevent dryer fires. If possible, do not use fiberglass or corrugated foil for your dryer vents. This is because vents made of these two materials tend to sag and lint can get caught in the corrugations easily to block the vents resulted in overheated dryers. In addition, if a fire do starts, metal vent pipes are more likely to prevent it from spreading. If your dryer vents has too many bends or too long, lint can still get collected in your dryer vents. Hence, you should not exceed the maximum length for the vent of your dryer model as specified by the dryer manufacturer. Last but not least, you should conduct check up for your dryer, clean your dryer vents as well as around and beneath your clothes dryer on a regular basis.
Understanding how your clothes dryer works, common causes of dryer fires and prevention of dryer fires may help you save your family and home. However, there are times that you should seek professional assistance to check the operations of your clothes dryer. At The Appliance Repair Doctor we are able to help you service your dryer to ensure that they are in good working condition for the safety of your family and home.
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