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I have a fairly standard Hotpoint vented electric tumble dryer, which normally works as you would expect, drying clothes, venting the humid air out the side wall, and with a lint trap I empty every load.

Over the past couple of months, though, I have seen a few shirts come out with tiny (1 to 2 mm) scorch marks and am a bit baffled as to the cause.

I can't find any marks inside the drum or door seal, and there doesn't appear to be anything that looks burnt in the lint trap.

I can't find this symptom described anywhere using a quick google, so does anyone know what could cause this or any area I should be looking at to try and diagnose the issue?

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Can you add some pics of the scorch marks? –  GdD Oct 22 '12 at 9:00
    
Have you cleaned out all the lint traps and checked that the exhaust vent isn't blocked? –  ChrisF Oct 22 '12 at 9:21
    
I will try and get a picture of one of the burns later today, and yes - the lint trap is cleared before every load and the exhaust vent is clear (well, I can't see through the full length of the pipe, but there is significant flow of air - will try and remove it for a check later) –  Rory Alsop Oct 22 '12 at 9:32
    
Not sure if it makes a difference, but you should probably specify whether it's electric or gas. –  BMitch Oct 22 '12 at 12:26
    
yup - electric. Updated. –  Rory Alsop Oct 22 '12 at 12:58
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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Pop open the front panel under the door and vacuum out the lint. It collects inside the housing and pieces get drawn into the air heating elements and blown into the drum. Having nothing to do with the lint trap, this stuff accumulates because it slowly migrates through the felt drum seal.

You may have a potentially dangerous situation here. Any other type of materials that get into the cabinet will also get vacuumed up and blown through the heating elements (glowing coils) which essentially turns them into glowing embers.

The air heater has a thermal limit switch that is supposed to break power to the elements if they're overheating. This kind of overheating will brown large areas, not pinpoints.

Make this cleaning task a six month or yearly scheduled event.

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This sounds exactly right. Having just had a peer in through a slightly lifted panel I can see a small amount of lint lying, so have vacuumed up what I can. I will probably pop the case front off to get at the awkward corners as well. –  Rory Alsop Oct 22 '12 at 17:08
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It could also be the front drum glides on your model. Over time they wear down and cause the drum to sit lower than it should, which then pinches your clothes between the drum and the housing. The "scorch" marks are actually/likely the result of the clothing rubbing on the felt pad surrounding the drum.

I just went through this exact thing last week and after replacing the drum glides for $30 bucks, I was back in business with no more scorch marks.

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