Having a dryer can be a lifesaver when it comes to laundry, but it is not without its own issues. For example, many believe one of the dangers of an overworked dryer is carbon monoxide emissions, but is that true? Let’s find out.

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Can an Overworked Dryer Really Produce Carbon Monoxide?

A dryer works to remove moisture from wet clothes. Modern models tend to run on electricity, and homeowners can rest easy knowing that it does not emit any carbon monoxide at all, even if you are running it constantly.

However, if you have a gas dryer, there will be carbon monoxide emissions to worry about. The good thing is that a properly installed dryer will remove the gas with a flue before it becomes a danger. However, if a dryer has been overworked and not well maintained, it could lead to a clogged or faulty vent, which will retain the dangerous carbon monoxide in the space where it can pose a significant danger.

How Is Carbon Monoxide Produced in Dryers?

Understanding why a gas dryer will produce carbon monoxide will help you see why you need to pay more attention. The gas is a byproduct when fossil fuels undergo combustion, and as a gas dryer utilizes a gas burner to function, the byproduct will always be present.

A commonly used fossil fuel in the drying process is propane, leading to carbon monoxide emissions. However, that is not all that contributes to a rise in emissions.

Plenty of clothing and other textiles are also under the umbrella of being carbon-based, which means any lint produced during the drying process will also be carbon-based. If there is the unfortunate occurrence of a clogged or faulty vent, the hot air produced during drying will not be able to escape, potentially causing the lint to catch fire. This then produces carbon monoxide as well. This danger is also present in electric dryers.

How Much Carbon Monoxide Can A Dryer Produce?

Under normal circumstances, this will not be a problem, as any carbon monoxide produced is directed out of the space through the ventilation system. However, if the dryer vent line is obstructed due to constant usage without proper maintenance, this becomes a serious problem. 

The gas produced can build up to dangerous levels, and as it is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, detection may come too late. As a result, carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal over an extended period of time.

People who find themselves in such an unfortunate circumstance can succumb to sickness and death. Those with asthma and other breathing difficulties can also find their conditions worsen over time. If such signs are common, it is vital to check out both your dryer and the vent system.

Precautions To Take

To prevent the possibility of carbon monoxide emissions, the first rule is not to overwork your dryer, as this will prevent most of the longer-term wear and tear. However, there are also other steps to take.

For gas burners, ensure that complete combustion is taking place by looking at the dryer’s flame. If it is blue, then you are safe. Another good way is to prevent lint from accumulating and clogging the vent system, so proper inspection and maintenance are vital precautions. Getting a carbon monoxide detector is also worth considering. 


A dryer is definitely a safe and useful appliance to have around the house in most situations. It is only dangerous if proper care is not taken to keep it in good condition. Such a risk is not worth taking when it can be prevented in the first place. Don’t forget to schedule a dryer vent cleaning with us soon to keep your dryer safe and well maintained.