Why Do Hair Dryers Spark? (Explained)

When a hair dryer is working perfectly, you shouldn’t ever see a spark while drying your hair. Unfortunately, either from a clogged filter or electrical defects, your hair dryer can start sparking while in use. 

Here’s Why Hair Dryers Spark:

Hair dryers can spark when they contain defective electrical components or when dust, hair, or other particles get sucked into the dryer and hit the heating element. If you see your hair dryer sparking, whether brand new or several years old, it’s important to stop using it immediately.

Are Hair Dryer Sparks Dangerous?

When working properly, hair dryers aren’t dangerous household appliances.

However, if your hair dryer sparks, it can pose a fire hazard to you and your surroundings. A spark can contact your hair, skin, clothing, or another nearby flammable item which could easily cause a burn.

Sparks can be a sign that there is something wrong with the electrical circuitry of your hair dryer. If this is the problem with your hair dryer, it poses other serious risks. A short-circuiting electronic device could cause an electric shock or another serious health risk for the user. 

If your hair dryer is sparking, stop using it immediately. Unplug it and either replace it with a new hair dryer or bring it to an experienced professional for repair. 

When do Hair Dryers Start to Spark?

If you check your hair dryer, you should be able to see a filter covering an opening that allows air in. Over time, this filter will collect dust and other debris.

As the filter collects more and more particles, it is more difficult for air to be drawn in and sent through the blow dryer.

When it becomes harder for the blow dryer to produce this airflow, it can use more energy to get the job done. You might feel your hair dryer running hotter than usual, emitting a burning smell or sparking. 

If you’re turning your hair dryer up to high speed and heat settings, it can accelerate this problem. Your hair dryer will emit more heat and attempt to draw more air in at faster speeds.

This is putting you at greater risk of sparks. 

The dust that has accumulated on your filter can be fodder for sparks. Too much dust or debris on the filter of your hair dryer can get sucked into the airflow when the dryer is turned on. As these particles hit the heating element, they can spark or burn. 

If you see sparks or smell your hair dryer burning, you want to stop drying your hair as soon as possible. These can be dangerous warning signs. If your hair dryer is seriously short-circuiting, it can seriously harm your health and wellbeing. 

If you have a sparking hair dryer on your hands, you might choose to replace it with a new model or bring it to a professional for repair. Avoid tinkering with it yourself, as electronics can be dangerous to try to repair if you’re not experienced in the field.  

How Do You Prevent Your Hair Dryer From Sparking?

Keeping your hair dryer clean is one way to help prevent it from sparking.

If you allow the filter to collect too many dust particles and debris, you are more at risk of experiencing sparks. 

Prevention is key if you’re looking to avoid sparks:

Check the Filters

Check the filter periodically and clean it when it begins to get clogged. 

Most filters are on the back of the hair dryer and are circular pieces that can be removed by turning the part counter-clockwise. When your hair dryer is unplugged, you can remove the filter and clean it thoroughly. 

When your filter is clean, there is less chance for dust, hair, or any flammable particle to get sucked into the hair dryer. If there are no flammable particles to make contact with the heating element, you are less likely to see sparks.

High Speed & Heat Settings

Avoiding high speed and high heat settings is also a good preventative measure. Lower heat and speed settings are less damaging to your hair over time. 

However, as soon as you see your hair dryer sparking, it’s no longer the time for DIY solutions. Sparks can be a sign of danger, and it is not a good idea to try to solve the problem on your own.

If it was an inexpensive hair dryer, replacing it is your best option. If it was a high-end hair dryer, you could try to have it repaired professionally or even contact the manufacturer. 

Occasionally, faulty hair dryers are released on the market. With faulty electric parts, these hair dryers are more prone to sparking. 

Manufacturers will recall these hair dryers once they realize the problem. If you have a new hair dryer that has started sparking unexpectedly, check with the manufacturer to see if it is a widespread problem. 

Can Hair Dryers Catch Fire?

Although rare, faulty hair dryers have been known to catch fire.

There have been cases where manufacturers have released products with problematic electrical cords and coils. When there are defective electrical parts in a hair dryer, it can catch fire while in use. 

A faulty hair dryer that catches fire is extremely dangerous to the user and the surroundings. A hair dryer on fire is like a blow torch and can easily start a fire in the house or severely burn the user. 

If you’re bringing home a brand new hair dryer, be careful for the first few times you use it. Some who have bought faulty hair dryers caught fire on the first use out of the package. 

Can Hair Dryers Explode?

Unfortunately, faulty hair dryers can explode. If faulty hair dryers are released on the market, they might explode when used.

This can be incredibly dangerous for the user.

Before you purchase a new hair dryer, do some research for a make and model with a good reputation. If there have been any recent recalls about sparking, catching fire, or exploding, you should steer clear of that brand and the recalled model to be on the safe side. 

When Should You Buy a New Hair Dryer?

A good hair dryer can last you several years, but it is important to discard it at any sign that it is no longer functioning properly.Sparks, burning smells, or other odd occurrences mean it’s time to shop for a new hair dryer immediately. 

Your hair dryer might have other ways of telling you it needs to be replaced. If it is making odd screeching noises or other sounds it didn’t use to make, that’s another clear sign to replace it. 

Sometimes the fan or its motor can break inside the hair dryer. If you hear or feel something rattling inside your hair dryer, it might mean a broken piece is trapped inside. This is another sign that you can start shopping for a replacement. 

Finally, if you’ve checked the filter of your hair dryer, you might decide it is too far gone to be cleaned. If your filter has been accumulating dust particles for a long time, you might be so caked with debris that it doesn’t seem possible to get it looking like new. 

Since a clogged filter can cause overheating, sparks, and danger to the user, it is a good reason to buy yourself a brand new hair dryer. 

Final Thoughts

Sparks can occur when particles get drawn into your hair dryer, make contact with the heating device and catch fire. They can also occur when your hair dryer has an electrical problem.

Either way, sparks indicate that your hair dryer is no longer a functioning appliance. To be safe, stop using your hair dryer as soon as you see sparks.

You can replace it with a new device or seek out professional help for a repair. 


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