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Dryer Grate Looks Burnt: Cause for Concern?

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Brandon Kirk

Brandon Kirk is the owner of Planet Duct-Air Duct Cleaning. As a NADCA Certified Air-Duct Cleaning Specialist, he has extensive experience servicing air ducts in El Paso County and the Southern CO region since 2019.

While you’re doing chores like washing dishes, vacuuming, and laundry, you may have spotted a problem with your clothes dryer. If you look closely, you could see burn marks around one or two vents on the back of the dryer. Finding burn marks in your home is worrying, so it’s important to know why your dryer might have these marks and what they mean.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, almost 92% of household fires start because of dryers. That’s a lot of fires! You may be concerned whether your dryer grate showing signs of burning may be a cause for concern (the last thing you want is to become part of this devastating statistic!). Fear not, we’re going to get to the bottom of this issue once and for all.

Let’s dive in.

Picture depicts a space background with the words Dryer Grate Looks Burnt.

What Is the Vent in the Back of the Dryer For? 

First of all, what is the grate at the back of your dryer even for? 

Most clothes dryers have two vents inside, at the back. The vent on the left is called the “Heat Inlet Grille.” This component distributes heat evenly, prevents overheating, and allows heat into the “Drum” or main compartment. 

The vent on the right is known as the “Outlet Grille.” Its primary function is to exhaust air out, remove moisture and lint, and maintain airflow. Together, each vent helps dry your clothes, safely and effectively.

So, Why Is My Dryer Vent Burnt?

The process of pushing hot air through the heat inlet grille makes it similar to an exhaust system. It allows the heat to both enter the machine through the inlet grille and exit through the outlet all while drying your clothes. Thus, the burn-like residue leftover from this process are caused by a number of things:

  • Color run-off from clothes
  • Normal wear and tear
  • Heat traveling through the vent
  • Finish Removed by heat
  • Melted foreign objects

All of these factors or a combination of all of these factors can make the vent inside your dryer appear burnt. If you see this dark residue in the back of your dryer, does it mean your dryer is at risk of combusting?

Is Dark Residue on My Dryer Grate a Sign of Danger?

Fortunately, these are all minor issues and are common in most dryers. The burnt residue is not a fire hazard itself because it is a product of the dryer being in use. The heat, color from your clothes, and normal use all discolor the grille making it look burnt. 

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent this from happening. 

In order to improve the aesthetics of the machine, it is possible to replace the metal grille. It is helpful to note that the residue will likely impact the new grille as well. The majority of the grills found in the back of dryers are made of metal with chrome or an aesthetically pleasing finish. If a new grille is replaced over time that finish will also be melted away, making it look burnt.

Protect Your Home and Family with Dryer Vent Cleaning Services

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Professional Dryer Vent Cleaning |  Planet Duct 

Although the discoloration or burnt residue on the vent inside your dryer isn’t necessarily a fire hazard, there are scenarios where it can be a cause for concern: if your dryer is clogged. Dryer vent clogging is the #1 cause of household fires in America according to National Fire Protection Agency. If you want a second pair of eyes to look at your dryer, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Here at Planet Duct, we are passionate about ensuring our neighbors throughout Colorado Springs are safe and comfortable in their homes. Give our team a call today to schedule your professional dryer vent cleaning. We’d love to be able to serve you.