Clothes Dryer Vents


COPYRIGHT 1998 G.G. ALONZY

Dear NH,
I am looking for some information about clothes dryer venting installation. I live in Vermont and currently vent my clothes dryer into the basement via flexible hose. The reason for this is my house is low to the ground and the dryer/washer (combination unit) is located close to a walkway outside, where an outside vent cover would be unattractive.

This causes a smell at times in the basement due to the moisture content. To run it to the other side of house would require a run over 25 feet. My house is single story and I was wondering if there is a type of vent that could go up to the roof and outside.
AL

Dear AL,
Adding any moisture at all to a basement is a bad plan. Nowadays, more and more homes place the laundry closet upstairs near the bedrooms... a very logical location. The fringe benefit is less moisture introduced into the basement.

Sure... you can go through the roof if you have a good location to run the pipe up, such as inside a closet. Pick the type of duct most suited to your job, but do not use flexible plastic duct... it is no longer code-approved for clothes dryers. There is rigid stainless steel ducting, and a few types of more flexible aluminum ducting. Always choose the ducting that is the smoothest for the vagaries of the particular installation. For example long straight runs should always use a rigid ducting, while unusual bends or tight installation conditions may require a flexible duct. There is a special roof cap designed for 4" dryer vent hose that is suitable for your job. You can get it at a home store, lumberyard, or some hardware stores.

A twenty-five foot run is considered too long by all the manufacturers, and I believe it will probably void your dryer warranty. If you find you have no alternative and must use this long run, you should 1) use a rigid ducting to reduce resistance in the duct to a minimum and 2) check the pipe for accumulations of lint at least a few times a year.

The problem with the long runs of duct is if the clothes dryer does not have enough reserve fan power to blow the air through the duct, your clothes will take longer to dry, shortening the life of the clothes dryer due to longer cycles and higher internal temperatures.

In closing (and being ever practical), have you considered that a 16 (?) foot vertical vent may not really be an advantage for you over a 25 foot horizontal run... it may even be worse! After all, air has weight, right? It will resist the dryer fan's efforts to blow out the hot air.
NH


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