Thread Number: 80169  /  Tag: Modern Dryers
3 YO GE Dryer Catches Fire
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Post# 1041128   8/8/2019 at 21:24 (1,666 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        

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From a group home we service, extremely poor washing habits resulted in clogging the lint filter housing and causing the heating element to set fire to the lint in the shroud behind the drum, then clothing and plastic drum baffles.

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Post# 1041130 , Reply# 1   8/8/2019 at 21:35 (1,666 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
3 YO GE Dryer Fire

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I believe it caught fire as the belt broke and the over heated heater area [ from the clogged lint filter housing ] set fire to the lint in the rear of the drum and then the dry clothing.


GE uses the thinnest belt of any manufacturer I have seen, it is only 3 tiny ribs wide [ the only other dryer I ever saw with a thin belt like this were the 21" GE compact 120 Volt dryers from the 70s ] Even though when the belt broke and the belt switch shut off the motor and heater there was just too much heat and up in flames it went.

Picture of the thin belt We replaced this piece of plastic dryer junk with a 1993 Kenmore 29” dryer.


John L.

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Post# 1041131 , Reply# 2   8/8/2019 at 21:50 (1,666 days old) by whirlykenmore78 (Prior Lake MN (GMT-0500 CDT.))        
Extremely poor washing habits:

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Combined with a cheaply made and poorly designed machine could have killed many residents. Thank you for posting this as a warning John. I do believe that the shitty design and lack of build quality of this dryer was a contributing factor.


Post# 1041133 , Reply# 3   8/8/2019 at 22:07 (1,666 days old) by Repairguy (Danbury, Texas)        

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Did you call 800- GE CARES?

Post# 1041141 , Reply# 4   8/8/2019 at 23:00 (1,666 days old) by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

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Wow, that melted and disfigured lint screen is haunting. You can just make out the "[clean] before each cycle" text in the charred and slumping plastic... right above the completely clogged filter mesh that obviously hasn't been cleaned in quite some time.

If there ever was a photo of dryer operator karma, that's it right there.

Post# 1041148 , Reply# 5   8/8/2019 at 23:54 (1,666 days old) by qsd-dan (West)        

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Apparently GE should have used a 2 ribbed belt so it'd break sooner thus requiring a deep cleaning of lint before becoming a fire hazard.

About 15 years ago, I remember an appliance tech making a comment about GE filter flo era dryers being a fire hazard. If memory serves me right, I think it had something to do with the baffle in the door but I can't recall the details now.

Post# 1041151 , Reply# 6   8/9/2019 at 00:06 (1,666 days old) by Spinmon (st. charles mo )        

Completely unimpressed by this plastic POS. 'G E'. What a shame.

Post# 1041167 , Reply# 7   8/9/2019 at 06:56 (1,665 days old) by turbokinetic (Northport, Alabama USA)        
Happened to me.....

.... at a hotel in northern Alabama about 15 years ago.

Was on a work-related road trip. Placed my clothes in the dryer and walked to the restaurant next door. When I exited, there were fire trucks all around the hotel.

They treated me very poorly; assuming I was lying about my clothes being in the dryer as a ploy to gain access to "gawk" at the aftermath of the fire. I was able to go in eventually. The damage was too extensive and of course I didn't do any dismantling of the remains of the dryer. But in this case I expect it was extreme neglect / lint buildup / poor laundry habits.

Post# 1041191 , Reply# 8   8/9/2019 at 12:53 (1,665 days old) by GusHerb (Chicago/NWI)        

The heating elements are too close to the clothes in those GE dryers. I’ve taken them apart and it was remarkable how much lint was mere inches away from the heating element, not to mention the clothes.

The heating element on that particular one looks like the same cheap wire style ones you’d find in a space heater or hair dryer. They used to have coil style elements.

Post# 1041254 , Reply# 9   8/10/2019 at 05:23 (1,664 days old) by Vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
A group home

Is a heavy, and several user setting. I could see the line screens being neglected. Not the best dryer for that household.

Post# 1041309 , Reply# 10   8/10/2019 at 15:11 (1,664 days old) by lotsosudz (Sacramento, CA)        

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I realize that it was not a good, well built dryer. However neglect was the cause for the fire. People that are that stupid, should not operate any machine. I can only imagine what kind of care their cars get. I can only imagine what kind of drivers they are as well.

Post# 1041375 , Reply# 11   8/11/2019 at 00:34 (1,664 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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Teaches a lesson about cleaning your dryer's lint screen after each load, as well investing in those dryervent cleanout kits...

Let's also not forget the importance of rigid, solid metal dryer vent pipes, verses the hazardous, inferior plastic piping for your dryer's exhaust...

All that could have been much worse...

-- Dave

Post# 1041539 , Reply# 12   8/12/2019 at 17:58 (1,662 days old) by GusHerb (Chicago/NWI)        

Our Humane Society laundry room has two Speed Queen tumblers with the huge lint traps underneath and they’ve managed to have them catch on fire twice in 13 years. Not sure if they’re letting the lint traps go for weeks or if they’re putting things in them that they shouldn’t be.

Post# 1041751 , Reply# 13   8/14/2019 at 15:59 (1,660 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        

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The design on these dryers needs to change heating element wise. I've seen so many heating elements break and literally coil up inside around the rotating drum. The lint they produce is something else to.

Post# 1041872 , Reply# 14   8/15/2019 at 21:36 (1,659 days old) by iheartmaytag (Wichita, Kansas)        
Word choices

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Since we are discussing a group home setting. Presumably housing individuals with mental, developmental, or intellectually delayed; I take offense to the reference that they are "stupid" .

Post# 1042119 , Reply# 15   8/18/2019 at 15:25 (1,656 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        

Agreed I heart Maytag. Hopefully they are in a good place and only subjected to care and Love.

Post# 1042124 , Reply# 16   8/18/2019 at 16:21 (1,656 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
3 YO GE Dryer Fire

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Actually when I did the final autopsy I discovered the dryer was actually just 2 years old.


The group home is home to 5 very paid young people sharing a house in DCs expensive real estate market, how I will say that most or all of these young people are pretty clueless when it comes to using and maintaining appliances, we have had many appliance calls at this house, they simply can not load a DW or use a Disposer without constant problems.


On another note : Here is a MT dryer we had a call on this week where the motor was not starting, just growled.


The internal vent pipe came off the plastic blower housing and was run this way for years, the heavy lint acclamation in and around the motor shortened the motor life, we cleaned it up put in another motor and its running again.


John L. 

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Post# 1042135 , Reply# 17   8/18/2019 at 18:27 (1,656 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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Sounds like "group home" in this instance is a group of people (20s to 30s yo?) sharing a house.

"Group home" around here is a type of an assisted living care-facility for people (usually older, 50s to 60s+) with physical and mental challenges.  Several group homes, local in a couple nearby towns, bring residents to a movie every Wednesday.

Post# 1042151 , Reply# 18   8/18/2019 at 21:52 (1,656 days old) by Repairguy (Danbury, Texas)        

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Neglect! I guess it was outside so the exhaust inside the dryer went unnoticed.

Post# 1042320 , Reply# 19   8/20/2019 at 13:36 (1,654 days old) by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        

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With the way those GE dryers are designed, I wouldn’t be surprised if more of those dryers went up in flames compared to any other dryer design. The heating element is simply too close to the drum, and clothes can get scorched or burned if overloaded.

Post# 1042360 , Reply# 20   8/20/2019 at 21:53 (1,654 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

We had an electric Frigidaire (same design) that ran far too hot and did damage a few items- totally destroyed a cotton/poly elastic mattress cover that was wash/dry safe, spent about an hour scraping melted polyester/spandex. Another incident melted the poly filling in a comforter. Clumped and stuck together inside.I've been extremely cautious with any dryer since, but none seem to run nearly as hot.

I've personally seen two Whirlpool Cabrio dryers go up in flames so I can't believe those have a great track record either. I wouldn't personally own one. One was electric and less than a year old, one was gas and several years old. Entirely unsure how the electric one started, but the fire in the gas one seemed to have been started in the wiring near the burner.

Post# 1042362 , Reply# 21   8/20/2019 at 22:39 (1,654 days old) by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        
Reply #20

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Was your Whirlpool Cabrio dryer like those newer Maytag dryers that have a separate belt for the blower/fan or was it a WP top filter 29” dryer? If it was the style of Maytag Bravos with a separate belt for the blower I could only imagine how bad those dryers are.

Post# 1042380 , Reply# 22   8/21/2019 at 09:23 (1,653 days old) by paulg (My sweet home... Chicago)        
Importance of taking pictures

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Combo52, I am glad you are taking pictures of neglected appliances. Many of the saved pictures may never come to use, but sometimes they do...
In my case, I was called out to a large corporation that had recurrent failures with video products, primarily due to overheating. As I was in charge of quality at that time for the manufacturer, I had to show up to investigate. As the job was large, I went with a colleague.
The air filters on many units were so clogged you had to wipe the cabinet clean before you could actually see the filter, and of course it was clogged beyond belief.
We brought the staff in and showed them the trouble. To our face they denied neglect of maintenance. We advised them we are taking pictures, notes and putting it in a permanent file. They must change their maintenance practices or they will face big repair bills. Bear in mind, we were the manufacturer and were also advising that their warranty may be cancelled.
About a year later I get a call. Same corporation - different person. Complaint: Overheating and yellowing of the image. Of course the quality of the product was called into question.
I asked the person how long they worked for the company. Less than a year.
After evaluating one sample I had to give them an estimate for neglect repairs. I shared the pictures. I gave them a thumbnail estimate in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, we had a RECORDED history of neglect and we were not sued. The client went away and that was ok. Our attitude is that we did not want our brand in any facility where they did not perform perfectly - and that was not going to happen there due to neglect.
Although no safety issue existed in my case, dryer fires scream for picture taking in cases of neglect or installation / usage errors. The one time it saves your butt will pay for all the SD cards you've ever purchased... and more.

Post# 1043047 , Reply# 23   8/29/2019 at 12:17 (1,645 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Another GE Appliance Overheats

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A beautiful Monogram DW, customer started the DW and when they came home the house smelled of smoke.


John L.

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Post# 1043060 , Reply# 24   8/29/2019 at 14:58 (1,645 days old) by murando531 (Augusta, Georgia - US)        

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The disdain.. *ahem* I mean polite discerning opinion I've had towards GE since childhood aside, how in the absolute eff did that dishwasher completely melt without actually catching fire?!?!

I thought what I was seeing was the remains of the lower arm. That's the upper arm! The lower arm has completely disappeared into a puddle on the bottom.. Eesh.

Post# 1043142 , Reply# 25   8/30/2019 at 02:25 (1,645 days old) by speedqueen (Metro-Detroit)        
GE disdain...

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Yep, other than their stoves and refrigerators, everything else has had some major corner cut in the design since at least the late 1950s. Their electronics were absolute garbage(just try to find a 1960s GE color TV, they all broke 50 years ago, RCA and Zenith are still everywhere), the FilterFlo washers, had that ridiculous clutch instead of a two speed motor, and they never redesigned the machine after just dropping a perforated tub in a solid tub washer in the early 1960s. Their upright vacuums never were any great shakes, though their Swivel Top canisters were good.

Post# 1043202 , Reply# 26   8/30/2019 at 17:04 (1,644 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Richard Jolly (speedqueen),

GE televisions were made by RCA from at least 1975. Both had the "blue screen".
Design flaws? What about part supplier quality flaws? Runs the gamut from the auto industry to you name it. Of course, some are made to bean counter specifications of the end product makers.

Post# 1043222 , Reply# 27   8/30/2019 at 20:11 (1,644 days old) by speedqueen (Metro-Detroit)        

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GE made their own electronics until they reacquired RCA in 1986 and then sold both both their own consumer electronics division and that of RCA to Thomson SA(now Technicolor) of France.

The problems as of the 1960s(when GE's TVs were at their worst) were just poor build quality and cheap components. For example, while both RCA and GE sets used printed circuit boards, only GE had severe problems with theirs completely disintegrating. RCA's were of much higher quality and Zenith didn't even use them at all, preferring to hand wire their sets. RCAs and Zeniths of the era used very high quality components, eg. Sprague "orange-drop" capacitors, no cheap paper caps in their color sets.

Post# 1043233 , Reply# 28   8/30/2019 at 21:29 (1,644 days old) by murando531 (Augusta, Georgia - US)        

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As far as ranges/stoves/ovens, I agree. We had a plethora of GE appliances throughout the expanse of our families' homes. The freestanding electric smoothtop range was by far the one that was outstanding in my memory. It was probably a '94 model, give or take a year, because it was bought when we moved into the "Sheffield" house I grew up in until I moved out. It wasn't replaced until after I moved out, because my mom wanted an oven with convection. But during the time that range lived with us, I remember it being reliably steady as far as cooking on the stovetop, something I've only heard complaints about on smoothtops. Even the Maytag 8880 range I have now has a very sensitive and temperamental cooktop; low is what medium should be, medium is high, and high is..well, I've never cooked a single thing with any element turned to high, because there would be nothing but ash. But that GE I grew up with was so consistent and easy to use.

I still hear that GE makes the best major cooking appliances. At least I hope that's the case these days, considering the shape of the dryer and dishwasher in this thread.

Post# 1043725 , Reply# 29   9/3/2019 at 16:18 (1,640 days old) by GusHerb (Chicago/NWI)        

Our GE gas range w/double oven from 2015 is holding up well. No complaints whatsoever, had to get used to the oven though because it holds temperature so precisely it doesn't even overshoot the setpoint. 


I've never cared for any other appliances GE offers. 

Post# 1043768 , Reply# 30   9/4/2019 at 01:37 (1,640 days old) by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        

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I’ve never really liked GE dryers, and the heating element to me is way too close to the drum and again I can guarantee that a lot of GE dryers in electric have gone up in flames compared to any other dryer made. Yes, the Halo Of Heat dryers from Maytag have a heating element that was pretty close to the drum but Maytag used a sensitive high limit the on both gas and electric models, and sometimes the high limit safety thermostat would cycle the heating element below the operating thermostat but Maytag did that for a reason to help prevent the dryer from overheating or scorching clothes.

Post# 1043776 , Reply# 31   9/4/2019 at 06:36 (1,639 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Dryer Fires

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Hi Sean, The MT HOH dryers were a far greater fire risk than even these cheap new dryers from GE, back in the 70s our store replaced several electric HOH fryers back to MT after serious fires, two DE606s and one of the new DE407s.


On these new GE dryers they have a minimum of three thermostats on the heater assembly, there is a safety to cut off all power, there is a modulating thermostat that cuts out one heater to control overheating which has a bias heater that allows the user controls to cycle the heater at lower temps to make the dryers heat more gentle ant there is a thermal fuse that shuts the whole dryer down if serious overheating occurs.


MT [ and most other dryers back in the 70s and before ] had none of these safety devices and dryer fires were far more common with these order dryers.


John L.

Post# 1043799 , Reply# 32   9/4/2019 at 11:58 (1,639 days old) by lakewebsterkid (Dayton, Ohio)        
Dryer fire

The newer machines seem to be assembled to allow for less access to key areas that need cleaned. It is an absolute shame just as access to drain pumps are limited too. Our newer Duet dryer has been cleaned internally once as a result, but our old Kenmore was cleaned twice annually as they should be. Regardless of how thorough we are with lint trap cleaning, both the dryer and exhaust venting will still accumulate quite a bit of lint in 6 mos. I know numerous people that have never cleaned their vent, let alone their dryer or lint filter. People really don’t know how big of an issue it is until it happens to them.

Post# 1051366 , Reply# 33   11/17/2019 at 13:09 (1,565 days old) by MaytagNeptune (FireAlarmTechGuy4444 on YouTube. Interlochen MI)        
GE Dryer Fires

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UH OH! I hope my GE DBSR453GB2WW does not go up in flames. IT's a Gas dryer and I clean the lint trap before each load. I got a 7500AWW gas Dryer but it needs repairs.

Post# 1051369 , Reply# 34   11/17/2019 at 13:23 (1,565 days old) by bradfordwhite (central U.S.)        

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I think GE's , and other home appliance makers, have a disqualification statement as part of their warranty.  Something to the effect that the appliance is intended for home use and the warranty doesn't cover commercial or heavy useage.  


In that circumstance, that dryer is probably running for several hours a day.  And people, when it's not their own (sometimes even when it is), don't take care of things.  

Post# 1184150 , Reply# 35   7/4/2023 at 14:07 (240 days old) by GELaundry4ever (Nacogdoches, TX, USA)        
laundry habits

People that are stupid should be barred from doing any type of laundry, period! It just kills me how lazy they are. They don't clean the lint trap, sort their laundry accordingly, and use the wrong cycle. I've seen this in college at the dorms.

Post# 1184220 , Reply# 36   7/5/2023 at 13:55 (239 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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I have to agree!


With seemingly that much laundry to dry, a commercial or even industrial drying machine is unquestionably what that type of facility needs, as well as someone thoroughly qualified just in maintaining lint build-up in something as simple as cleaning the traps!




-- Dave

Post# 1184225 , Reply# 37   7/5/2023 at 15:10 (239 days old) by GELaundry4ever (Nacogdoches, TX, USA)        
matching washer

And they should've had a matching washer and a lesson on how to do laundry properly. I swear, most college students are just stupid to abuse their machines then have the audacity to say the machines are broken. Granted, there are crappy machines out there.

Post# 1184268 , Reply# 38   7/6/2023 at 08:48 (238 days old) by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        
Reply #35

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Here we go again by commenting on old threads..

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