A dryer is a wonderful machine that helps us remove moisture from clothes, beddings, and fabric in just a couple of minutes. It is supposed to make our textiles smell good, but what should we do if there is a weird smell coming from our dryer, specifically a kerosene or gas-like odor?
Is it normal for my dryer to smell like gas?
Unfortunately, there are times when our dryers smell like rotting and mildew and that is because there may be an issue with the tumbling of your machine or there may be a dead animal inside your panels and vents. The smell of gas, however, can possibly be a sign of a more serious problem and you would probably need to act fast and call for professional help immediately.
How does a dryer work?
In order for us to determine the reason why there is a weird smell coming from our dryer, we need to understand how it works and the functions of the parts it has.
Dryers make use of heated air that absorbs and removes moisture from our clothes.
There are many types of dryers such as gas, electric, and stand-alone ones. However, their main function and parts are almost the same.
Possible causes of gas smell from dryer
1. Household products
There may be times that you used a combustible household product around the house such as a solvent or varnish and noticed that your dryer smells like gas after.
That is because the product may have emitted a vapor by being combined with the heat produced by your dryer, resulting in a gas-like smell.
How to avoid: Make sure to not place combustible products near your dryer. When using flammable materials, make sure the room is well-ventilated.
2. Defective Gas Lines and Valve Seals
Gas dryers have a gas valve seal which acts as a regulator to make sure that when the dryer is not used, no gas will be leaking. It is important for a gas line to be connected properly to the dryer. Leaks may cause gas buildup and when ignited, may cause explosions and fires.
How to avoid: Make sure the Gas Lines are securely connected to your dryer. If there is still a gas smell when your dryer is not functioning, turn off your main gas supply valve and call an expert for a proper inspection.
3. Misaligned Igniter
On occasion, the screws that are holding the bracket that secures the igniter of your dryer may become loose. This will result in a gas-like smell due to the disconnection of the igniter from the gas released by the valve. If you turn your dryer on and there is no flame, it is most likely due to the misaligned igniter.
How to avoid: Check the alignment of your igniter and tighten loose screws if there are any.
4. Faulty Igniter
Parts can be damaged and dysfunctional over time due to use. Do not worry, that does not mean that you will need to buy a new dryer because there are parts available for sale when replacement is necessary. To check your igniter, observe the burner. You may need to remove some parts to see it, such as a small door. Look at your dryer’s user manual for a guide on how to see the burner as builds are different and some brands may not have doors but have a peephole instead.
When you look at the burner, you will see that the igniter is functionally working if it glows red for 30 seconds up to a minute and eventually cut off to light the dryer’s flame. After it’s turned off, you should hear a loud click. If the igniter didn’t glow at all, this means that it is broken and you should have it replaced before you can use the machine again.
How to avoid: Check your igniter and replace the parts if needed.
5. Exhaust and Dryer Leaks
Exhaust can smell like kerosene, which is why it can be mistaken as a gas leak. If your dryer’s exhaust system is broken or leaking, it may need to be sealed properly.
Condensation may be a result of cold weather and may cause drips and water damage.
How to avoid: Regularly check your pipes and vents, seal holes, clamp your exhaust ducts, and insulate parts if you live in a cold area.
What to do if you suspect a gas leak
Gas leaks are very dangerous. If you think that there is a leak coming from your dryer or any other appliance in your home, you need to be vigilant. There is a reason why it is also called a “silent killer” because it is almost undetectable due to its odorless, colorless, and tasteless nature. For your safety, it is important to call for a professional immediately to check if there is indeed a gas leak. Carbon monoxide poisoning is real and has unfortunately taken a lot of lives.
Here are some symptoms you need to be aware of if you suspect a gas leak in your home:
- Dull headache.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you need to evacuate your family from the house and go outside for fresh air.
How to avoid hazards from using a dryer
Dryers may pose a lot of risks and hazards such as fires. To make sure your appliance is being used safely, make sure that you:
- Install the machine properly
Examine the parts and test them occasionally to ensure that they are working and don’t need replacement.
- Regularly clean the lint filter
Lint is highly combustible and is the leading cause of fire if the filter is not cleaned. This is because it reduces and blocks the airflow inside the machine. It is recommended to clean the filter after every use.
- Clean the vents
Blockage due to dirt and debris may also happen in the vents.
- Follow the user manual and security tips
Read the instruction manual and follow the dos and don’ts of your appliance. Refrain from overloading and don’t store items on top of it.