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Overheating Clothes Dryers: Hazards and Causes

Clothes Dryers

For your clothes dryer to work properly, it needs to have consistent, even heating. This is accomplished with a combination of a heating element to warm the air and a blower to circulate it inside the dryer's drum. The amount of heating should be relative to the setting you choose, but no setting should result in clothes being too hot to touch when dry.

If your clothes are burning hot when you take them out of the dryer, it could be a sign of a serious problem. Here are reasons why you shouldn't ignore an overheating clothes dryer, what the possible causes could be, and what possible remedies are available.

Reasons Why You Shouldn't Ignore an Overheating Dryer

An overheating dryer not only can damage your clothes, but it's also actually a fire risk. Under ideal conditions, the operating temperatures are high, but not high enough to cause anything to catch on fire. Raise those temperatures a little more and some material, such as accumulated dust and lint, may begin to burn. An overheating dryer may also not work properly and shut down before the drying cycle is done.

Causes of Overheating

Your clothes dryer may overheat for several reasons, some of which are mechanical while others could be due to neglected maintenance. The good news is that all of these issues are fixable, as long as you get to them before other components are seriously damaged.

Bad Heating Element

The heating element may shift or move over time and come into contact with metal parts and heat them up. Also, if its sensor is bad, the element may not receive signals from the thermostat telling it to turn off. This means that the heat will run continuously throughout the cycle and build up inside the drum.

Malfunctioning Thermostat

If the thermostat isn't working, it could fail to read the correct temperature inside the drum. When this happens, the heating element won't receive instructions to lower the temperature at the right times. This could result in uneven heating throughout the same cycle.

Excessive Dust Accumulation

Lint and dust commonly build up on the back of your dryer and on the walls immediately behind it as time goes on. Lint and dust can also accumulate around the heating element, which makes it particularly dangerous.

Blocked Vents or Ducts

Another issue related to excessive dust accumulation is that vents and ducts can get blocked with the substances. This restricts airflow and makes the interior part of the dryer run hotter. Another problem is if the vent or duct is blocked or kinked for another reason such as becoming loose or knocked out of place.

Things You Can Do to Prevent Overheating

One of the easiest things you can do to lessen the chance of your dryer overheating is to clean your lint trap each time you dry a load. You can also take a duster and clean off the back of your dryer regularly. If you notice that your dryer is getting warmer than usual, check to make sure the outside vents are blowing out the hot, moist air. You can also hire someone to perform regular checks and maintenance on these items if you are unable to do so yourself.

Your clothes should never be so hot that you can't touch them when you get them out of the dryer. High heat is not only a fire hazard, but your dryer could break down prematurely. If you are unable to remedy the problem yourself, or you've tried repairs and are still having problems, then you need a professional to check things out.

Our staff at Maple Appliance Service work with a wide range of styles and models and can help you determine the source of your overheating problems and prevent them in the future.

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