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  1. Repair
  2. GE

GE dryer burning smell

Common reasons your GE dryer has a burning smell

The most common reasons your GE dryer has a burning smell are an open heating element, broken idler assembly or a worn drum bearing.

  • 64%

    64% of the time it's the
    Heating Element

  • 15%

    15% of the time it's the
    Idler Assembly

  • 14%

    14% of the time it's the
    Drum Bearing

  • 7%

    7% of the time it's the
    Something else

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    Most common repairs needed to fix a GE dryer

    Heating Element Replacement

    An open heating element could cause a burning smell in your dryer if the element shorts against metal inside the cabinet. You may smell a metallic odor or wiring insulation burning when the broken element touches metal. When you smell a burning odor coming from the dryer, shut the dryer off and have a Sears Home Services Technician visit your home and examine the dryer. The technician will check the heating element and replace it if it’s broken.


    Idler Assembly Replacement

    When you smell a burning odor coming from your dryer, a worn or broken idler assembly could be causing the smell. A bad idler assembly won’t tension the drive belt on the drum properly so the belt will slip across the drum and get hot quickly. When you smell a rubbery burning odor coming from the dryer, you’ll need to have a Sears Home Services Technician visit your home and examine the dryer. The technician will replace the idler assembly if it’s broken.

    Drum Bearing Replacement

    A burning smell coming from your dryer could be caused by a worn drum bearing. The drum bearing normally prevents friction between the drum and the cabinet as the drum spins. When the drum bearing wears out, friction between the drum and the cabinet can cause remnants of the worn drum bearing to get hot and start smelling like burning metal or plastic. When you smell a burning odor coming from your dryer, have a Sears Home Services Technician visit your home and replace the drum bearing if it’s worn out.

    What to expect when you experience a GE dryer burning smell issue

    How is the burning smell problem fixed?

    Correcting most burning smell problems usually involves replacing the heating element, idler assembly or drum bearing. However, there are many potential causes, so a thorough diagnosis is key to fixing the problem. An accurate diagnosis is essential to understanding how much the repair will be.

    Sears Home Services recommendations for a dryer burning smell

    When the dryer has a burning smell it can be for many reasons. To avoid replacing unneeded parts we recommend having a Sears Home Services professional perform diagnostic tests to identify the root cause of the problem. Our technicians are experienced at diagnosing all types of dryer failures.

    What to look out for with a dryer burning smell diagnosis

    Diagnosing modern appliances without proper knowledge and training can be difficult. Without using proper diagnostic techniques, fixing your dryer problem will only be achieved through changing parts on a hunch. Appliances, especially in the last 10 years, have become extremely advanced, and many models have electronic parts that are difficult to test. DIY repairs on the latest appliance models are becoming increasingly difficult.

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    Excellent service from Daniel

    Daniel provided excellent service and was very quick to perform the repair. I have nothing good to say about the warranty program and the LACK of customer service and the inability to contact a human being to talk.


    Tammy M, Hilton, NY

    Satisfied customer

    Excellent technician Very thorough and detail oriented Would be happy to have him work on appliances again He managed to find our ranch headquarters in the middle of the desert


    Rose W, Las Cruces, NM

    Dryer service

    He was professional and polite. I didn't call back later that afternoon, although he replaced a thermostat the smart dry timer doesn't work as I was still having the same issue. The lady said she would email him and have him return. Never heard from anyone else.


    Terry F, Oklahoma City, OK

    Additional resources to help you fix your GE dryer

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    Dryer Repair or DIY? Common Dryer Problems

    Don’t get hung out to dry! Take a look at our helpful dryer repair advice for common problems. We’ll help you decide whether you can fix a dryer problem yourself and when you need to call in a professional to fix your clothes dryer.

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    Dryer Won’t Start? Here’s What to Do

    Check the basics first. Something as simple as the dryer door not being shut completely can keep your dryer from starting.

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    5 Most Common Dryer Problems and Solutions

    If your clothes come out of the dryer still wet, or your dryer just won’t run to begin with, one of these common dryer issues could be the culprit.

    Additional possible GE dryer symptoms you may experience

    • GE dryer drum roller replacement
    • GE dryer light not working
    • GE dryer makes noise when tumbling
    • GE dryer no heat
    • GE dryer no power
    • GE dryer noisy
    • GE dryer not drying
    • GE dryer not heating
    • GE dryer not spinning
    • GE dryer not starting
    • GE dryer not turning on
    • GE dryer not working
    • GE dryer stopped working
    • GE dryer won't heat up
    • GE dryer won't turn off