Usually, no. Carbon monoxide is not produced by electric dryers. In general, electric appliances cannot produce carbon monoxide unless they are on fire or some other kind of combustion is going on. If you have carbon monoxide in your home, the source is likely a gas appliance (and you should evacuate and call the authorities.) However, there is one circumstance where an electric dryer may produce carbon monoxide: if the vent or lint trap is clogged and on fire.

If you’re concerned about the risks of carbon dioxide in your home or whether your electric dryer is working properly, read on.

What Causes Carbon Monoxide?

Certain appliances will release small amounts of carbon monoxide. They all rely on fuel burning and, in the process of burning the fuel, will create and vent carbon monoxide. The fuel sources that can lead to carbon monoxide production include:

  • Gas
  • Propane
  • Oil

Any gas-burning appliance can then release carbon monoxide. While most dryers are electric, some do burn fuel and those could leak carbon monoxide. Other appliances which could be gas-powered include

  • Water heaters
  • Fridges
  • Washing machines
  • Ovens and stoves
  • Space heaters
  • Much more

Are Gas Appliances Safe?

These appliances are generally safe and will not cause carbon monoxide poisoning if they are working properly and used according to their design. That means two things:

  • Don’t run continuously: Appliances that are not meant to run continuously may produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide when you keep them on for too long. This is why you should not use gas appliances as sources of heat. Trying to run your gas stove for heat in a power outage can be a huge safety hazard. Even space heaters need to be well-ventilated, and you need to follow their safety instructions.
  • Keep it ventilated: When there are ventilation problems or the appliance is deprived of oxygen, it does not burn fuel all the way. Instead, it cannot complete combustion and begins to produce much larger amounts of carbon monoxide. Keeping your appliances in good condition and properly ventilated is essential to avoid this.

When it comes to gas dryers, the combination of lots of lint and other organic material and a fuel-burning design is not exactly ideal. Gas dryers can be perfectly safe when well-maintained, but almost all homes have electric dryers now for safety and convenience.

Risks of Fire in Electric Dryers

Burning can cause carbon monoxide. Your electric dryer could burn up if the lint dryer is overfull or the vent is clogged. In either circumstance, the material catches fire. This is a safety hazard itself and can also create carbon monoxide.

However, it is more likely that the fire is a more immediate concern than the amount of carbon monoxide the fire is producing. We suggest that you attempt to put out small fires with your fire extinguisher and call the emergency services department immediately as well.

The Need for Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Even if you do not have a gas appliance, we recommend you have a carbon monoxide detector anyway. If you suspect your home has unsafe levels, contact authorities immediately.