This past Saturday evening my wife and I had settled down to watch TV while we cycled thru some laundry. About 8pm she mentioned to me that she smelled something burning so I got up to investigate. Opened the laundry room door and it was hot in there and reeked of smoke. I quickly shut off the dryer and looked around for any signs of fire. There was only a small amount of smoke that came out when I opened the dryer door and I couldn’t see any actual fire. I thought maybe a belt had gotten stuck or something. I monitored it for a while and the smell started to dissipate a bit. I was nervous about going to bed so I stayed up a while to keep an eye on it.
The next day I pulled the dryer away from the wall and took the rear panel off. I found that a layer of lint had settled on the exhaust tube inside the dryer and the heat from the exhaust had actually caught the lint on fire. Most of it was charred and there was even a spot of ashes. I think we caught it just in time. I got my shop-vac out and got busy cleaning out all the lint that had accumulated in there. I recently replaced the vent tube from the dryer to the wall so that section was new and clean.
Miraculously no damage was done to the dryer itself. Once it was all cleaned and put back together, it worked fine. (Actually dries the clothes in about ˝ the time it took before).
I’m sure we all know that we “need” to check on this, but it’s not exactly an easy or convenient thing to do. You have to pull the dryer from the wall and disassemble the back of it to clean it this way. So if you’re dryer hasn’t been cleaned internally in more than 2 yrs (mine was going on about 8 yrs!) please do it (or hire someone out to do it). I will be doing mine annually from now on.
I’d hate for any of you to go into the holiday period w/a house fire.