So, you’re looking to get a new clothes dryer. Or perhaps, you already got one and now are looking to learn about the different options for venting a dryer.
A sound decision you’ve made there.
A lot of people skip out on educating themselves about the various options for venting a dryer. Pat yourself on the back because you’re not one of those.
Properly venting a dryer is crucial to ensure its smooth functioning. Nobody wants their dryer to give up too soon or cause other problems.
This article will take you through the different materials, tips for outdoor and indoor venting, and general guidelines. Read on.
General Rule: Go with metal over plastic.
Your dryer’s vent is going to carry hot air filled with moisture and lint. High temperature-tested metal is your only safe option as plastic has several drawbacks. Plastic not only bends but also accumulates more lint, making it susceptible to fires.
I know plastic ducting seems to save you a lot of money. It is a budget-friendly option. But look at its disadvantages too. It is not as durable as the other metal options, meaning you will have to change it often. So, are you saving money here? The answer is no, at least in the long term.
Your best options are:
- Semi-rigid Aluminum: It is flexible and lightweight enough for longer venting paths.
- Rigid Aluminum: Not as flexible but comes with a friction-less interior. It is the ideal choice.
- Sheet Metal: Harder and heavier to install. Sheet metal is highly durable, and its smooth inside makes it perfect for dryer exhaust.
Additional tip: Always go for UL-approved components as they are tested for fire safety. Remember, lint is highly flammable.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Venting
I had a friend once ask me about venting his dryer indoors. He thought it would be a good source of humidity and heat. He couldn’t have been more wrong. If you find yourself feeling the same, please read on. This is important.
Your dryer uses heat to dry your clothes. You know that. This heat generates hot air that’s filled with moisture and lint. If you allow this air to stay indoors, you’re inviting mold to grow.
It can also cause some structures to weaken over time. Not only that, but you could even be breathing tiny lint particles. I don’t think I have to tell you how bad that could be for you.
Add the additional fire safety hazard this can cause, and I think this becomes a complete no-no in any book. If your dryer operates on gas, it lets out carbon monoxide, which is again hazardous to your health.
Your vents should always run out and be covered with a dryer vent cap on the other side. Also, consider installing something that prevents pests. Vents are hotspots for all sorts of insects and mice. You don’t want to open an easy path for these intruders. When you eventually go to clean up that vent, you’ll thank yourself for ensuring no pests enter it.
No Outside Access?
A relatively common problem for those who reside in apartments is no outside access. In these cases, you have to go with indoor venting. I know I stress highly on venting outside entirely but don’t worry, I got some tips for inside dryer venting.
First and foremost, use an electric dryer and not a gas one. I already shared the reason in the previous section. Second, you must ensure that the indoor venting system is properly installed and maintained. Third, provide access to a sink or water reservoir.
When using an indoor venting system, you’ll have to ensure you refill the water reservoir regularly. You’ll find the exact details in the instructions manual provided by the manufacturer.
How To Plan Dryer Venting Path
Golden Rule: Straight and short wins.
When planning your dryer vent path, make sure you keep it as short as possible. It helps the air pass through as quickly as possible.
It also helps to keep it in a straight line. Why? Because that will help you keep it short. Elbows and turns in a venting path are hotspots for accumulating lint. I highly recommend that you don’t add any elbows at all unless you have no other option.
Keep your venting path less than 25 feet in case it is a straight path. If your venting path has a couple of turns in it, your safe distance will reduce. A good rule to follow in such cases is subtracting 5 feet for every 90-degree turn you add.
For example, if your venting path needs to have one 90-degree turn and one 45-degree turn. You will subtract 5 feet for the 90-degree turn and 2.5 feet for the 45-degree turn from the maximum safe distance of 25 feet. That will come to 25 feet – 7.5 feet = 17.5 feet.
As far as possible, you should run the vent through the nearest wall. I prefer the wall behind the dryer the most. It lets you keep the path super-short and easy to set everything up.
Never let the dryer vent open right to the sky like a chimney. It will inevitably clog up there and collect extra dust and, in some cases, even attract birds to build a nest.
If you’ve read till here, I congratulate you for taking the right step. Sometimes learning about a relatively simple subject can seem unnecessary, but trust me, it is fruitful in its own way.
As a summary for you to take away, I’ll say this-Keep your dryer vent short, straight, and let it run directly to the nearest wall and out. Use the best materials you can get in your budget. You can thank me in the comments later!