Why is My Dryer Overheating and Smelling Hot?

Jul 25, 2023, 15:56pm

A dryer that overheats and smells hot or burnt is a common problem. The first checks to be made concern the location of the appliance and its maintenance: lint from clothes often clogs the filters and the condenser of a dryer, which creates problems with odors or overheating.

To fix your hot smelling dryer problem:

  • First check that your dryer is placed in a ventilated and clear place, neither too hot nor too cold. If the front of the unit is not clear, there will be poor air circulation and the unit may feel hot during operation.
  • Clean the door and duct filter: Lack of maintenance and cleaning of the filters is one of the main causes of failure on a dryer.
  • Check the dryer condenser
  • Test the resistance of the dryer
  • Check the dryer drum drive.

If your dryer is overheating and emanating a hot smell, it’s not just a matter of poor performance or inconvenience, it could be a serious safety issue. Overheating can lead to a risk of fire, so it’s crucial to diagnose and address the problem promptly. This article aims to help you understand the possible reasons behind an overheating dryer and how to resolve them.

Why is My Dryer Overheating and Smelling Hot?

Lint Buildup

The leading cause of overheating dryers is lint buildup. Lint is highly flammable and, when it accumulates in the dryer’s lint trap, exhaust hose, or vent pipe, it can block the airflow, causing the dryer to overheat and produce a burning smell.

Tip: Regularly clean your lint trap after each load. Every few months, it’s a good idea to clean your exhaust hose and vent pipe as well to ensure there’s no hidden lint buildup. You can use a vacuum cleaner or a special dryer vent cleaning kit.

Thermostat Malfunction

A faulty thermostat can cause your dryer to overheat. The thermostat regulates the temperature inside the drum, and if it isn’t functioning correctly, it can cause the heating element to run continuously, leading to overheating and a hot smell.

Tip: If you suspect a faulty thermostat, it’s best to call a professional to diagnose and fix the problem. Replacing a thermostat involves dealing with the electrical components of the dryer, which can be hazardous if not handled properly.

Blocked Ventilation

If the dryer’s ventilation is blocked, hot and humid air won’t be able to escape, leading to overheating. This could be due to a blocked vent, a kinked exhaust hose, or even a poorly ventilated laundry room.

Tip: Ensure your dryer’s vent and exhaust hose are unobstructed and that the laundry room has good air circulation. If the vent or exhaust hose is blocked, clean it out. If the laundry room is poorly ventilated, consider using a fan or opening a window.

Why is My Dryer Overheating and Smelling Hot?


If you’re putting too many clothes in your dryer at once, it can lead to overheating. An overloaded dryer needs to work harder to dry the clothes, which can cause it to heat up more than usual.

Tip: Don’t overload your dryer. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for load size, and try to dry similar types of clothes together to ensure even drying.

Worn-out Motor

A motor that’s on its way out can cause your dryer to overheat. A worn-out motor has to work harder to turn the drum, causing it to get hotter than usual.

Tip: If you suspect a motor problem, it’s best to call a professional. Motor replacements can be complex and are usually not a DIY job.

In conclusion, an overheating dryer can be due to lint buildup, thermostat malfunction, blocked ventilation, overloading, or a worn-out motor. Most of these issues can be prevented with regular maintenance and correct usage. If you notice your dryer is getting excessively hot or has a burning smell, it’s essential to address the problem immediately to prevent a potential fire. When in doubt, it’s best to consult a professional to ensure the dryer is safe and functioning correctly.