While you should always investigate strange smells coming from your gas dryer, kerosene odors are sometimes a normal part of running a gas dryer and aren't necessarily a cause for alarm, especially if they occur after you've completed some home improvements. There are occasions when a kerosene smell could indicate a more serious problem, such as a component malfunction. Knowing some basic practices on how to safely operate a gas dryer will help you pinpoint the smell's source so that you are better able to assess its potential danger.
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Products Used for Household Projects
Any time you do a household project with paints, stains, varnishes or chemical solvents, the vapors from the combustible products can ignite from the flame produced by your dryer and produce a kerosene smell. The smell will usually persist while you operate your dryer and then gradually fade after the dryer is turned off. Ventilate the area of your home where the chemical product was used to eliminate the vapors faster. If you need to run your dryer before all of the vapors have dissipated, ventilate the laundry room area while the dryer is running. If the kerosene smell transfers to your clean clothes, run your dryer on the "Air Fluff" setting for 10 minutes or so after the drying cycle finishes to get rid of the smell. Don't store flammable materials within 50 feet of your dryer.
Exhaust System Breach
It's possible that your gas dryer's exhaust system is leaking exhaust, which can have a kerosene-type smell. In addition, the dryer's intake vent that pulls air into the dryer to heat it might also be pulling in some of its own exhaust, so the kerosene smell is continually cycled in and out of your dryer when it runs. Verify that the dryer's duct is sealed at all joints. Replace duct tape with aluminum foil tape, which seals better, according to Don Vandervort's Home Tip's website. Add keyhole clamps to close gaps in the exhaust duct if needed.
You might smell kerosene coming from your gas dryer after its starts. The smell is sometimes apparent just before the igniter lights with the gas released from the valve to make a flame. The smell will usually go away once the flame is generated. If the igniter fails to light with gas, the smell might linger and the dryer won't heat. Verify that the igniter is lighting by observing the component after you start your dryer. If the igniter remains dark and doesn't produce a flame after about 20 to 30 seconds of your dryer running, replace it.
Broken Gas Valve Seal
The gas valve seal on your gas dryer ensures that no gas escapes the valve when it's shut and the dryer is off. If you detect a kerosene-like smell when your dryer is off, the valve's seal might be defective. Close the dryer's main gas supply valve. Contact a dryer repair specialist to inspect the valve and replace its seal if the specialist finds that it's no longer functional.