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Old 10-29-2012, 09:31 AM   #1
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Burning smell from dryer


I have an older Hotpoint electric clothes dryer. We noticed this morning that there is a burning smell coming from the dryer after it's turned on for a few minutes. The lint trap is cleaned out after every use and I don't see excessive lint in the vent. I'm wondering what could be causing this? We obviously can't use it until this is resolved. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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Old 10-29-2012, 09:38 AM   #2
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Burning smell from dryer


Slipping drive belt most likly.


Last edited by joecaption; 10-29-2012 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:38 AM   #3
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Burning smell from dryer


the only way to find out is to take it apart to find it. Was it and electrical burn smell or rubber burn smell or something else?
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Old 10-29-2012, 12:04 PM   #4
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Burning smell from dryer


I know you said you checked the vent, but pull out the unit and check the vent hose completely. If there is a sharp bend in the hose stuff can pile up there.
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Old 10-29-2012, 12:13 PM   #5
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Burning smell from dryer


Lint can also build up inside dryer cabinet, and a lot of it. Turn off power at breaker box, unplug it, pull away from wall and remove access panels on back. You might also need to remove top and/or front panel.
Hardware's " electrical burn smell or rubber burn smell or something else?" are important questions. The something else could smell like cloth, dust, or even hair...or...something else.
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:33 PM   #6
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Burning smell from dryer


I thought I would update. The inside of the dryer cabinet did, in fact, have a large build-up of lint, including on the motor. I cleaned it out the best I could reach with a shopvac. While in there I checked the belt and to my untrained eye it appeared to be snug and OK. I tried the dryer again and the smell persisted after being on for about five minutes. The top of the dryer becomes hot to the touch, especially in the back left portion, which is above where the motor is.

One thing I haven't tried yet is to clean out the dryer vent from the outside. When I had it on I went outside and didn't feel much in the way of airflow coming out of the vent. Several years ago a pest control company installed this special vent to keep out mice, etc. I'm going to have to remove it to clean out the whole vent. I have this kit I bought a few years ago (but haven't used yet) that attaches rods to a drill to clean out the vent. Unfortunately it's been raining here for the past week which has prevented me from trying this. Hopefully it will be dry tomorrow and I'll give it a shot.
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:23 AM   #7
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Burning smell from dryer


Well, they don't dry clothes from heat generated from the motor. I would disconnect the belt and make sure the drum and motor turn freely.
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:57 AM   #8
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Burning smell from dryer


I don't know what model you have, the back left is where some have a vertical inlet tube with heating coils in it. Others have circular coils behind drum. Where is your lint filter? Behind door or up on top of cabinet? Behind door, at bottom of opening, is usually with coils behind drum.Can be a hassle to get drum out to clean behind, I have that system, an inches thick felted layer of lint can build up in there, completly blocking air flow. Below filter is narrow "rectangular" chamber that makes right angle to round duct, lint really builds up there and can be hard to reach.
If top, slide in, filter, remove it, open small lid, compare airflow coming out there with what comes out of vent outlet with that lid closed.
Lint build up in inlets or outlets can cause heat build up.
Unless you have hard metal ducting I would be leery of using a drill to clean ducts, even if sheet metal. I would be carefull. I presume this kit is a ball shaped brush with non-metallic bristles? Anyway to push, pull, and turn it by hand? Run drill very slow.
And please describe odor. Burning, smoky smell of cloth, dust, hair, is usually air flow lint problem. Rubbery, perhaps a bit metallic is usually belt, pulley, tensioner,bearing, related. Ozony, electric smell is usually circuitry, motor or coil.
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:04 AM   #9
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Burning smell from dryer


Do you feel plenty of air coming out the vent while it's running? If there is no restriction, it should be a pretty good flow.

If you do have good air flow and there is no noise....you could have a motor trying to go bad.

How easy it is to turn the drum?

Just so you know, on most dryers, you can pull the front off and actually run it....you have to hold the safety swtich in manually...but you can run it for a short time.
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Old 11-02-2012, 03:34 PM   #10
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Burning smell from dryer


Good news. I used the Linteater rotary brush cleaning system I have and it appears to have solved the problem. I ran the dryer for about 15 minutes as a test and it didn't start smelling and the top didn't get hot. We'll keep an eye on it with the next few loads of laundry that go in it, but I am cautiously optimistic that this was the problem. I got a lot of lint out of the vent to the outside.

Thanks for all of the replies.

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