How to Vent a Dryer
Proper dryer venting for safety and efficiencey!
Almost no other dryer maintenance is as important as the venting system. Poorly vented dryers run hot, and take a long time to dry.
Clogged or plugged vents and vent hoods account for drastically reduced efficiency in dryers and should be on a regular maintenence schedule. Click here for cleaning instructions.
Dryers also present a fire hazard. Lint is made up of cotton and polyester fibers that can ignite easily and burn rapidly. These fires are the cause of many house fires and can be avoided with proper installation of dryer vents.
Dryer vents should be inspected regularly to determine the correct installation and operation.
Older dryer venting that is brittle, crimped, bent, or otherwise compromised should be replaced. Dryer vent should be replaced on a regular schedule unless it is rigid aluminum. Flexible venting may fail over time due to collapse and bent sections.
Special venting is available for tight fits and low clearance. These products should be used to insure proper dryer operation and for safety.
Venting through indoor drying is recommended only if standard methods cannot be used and only in dryer climates. This venting creates moisture and should not be used in humid climates.
Outside Vent Solutions
Outside dryer Vent Solutions
There are a variety of vents available. There are some that increase the efficiency of the dryer. It is important to service the vent to make sure that it is operating properly. This includes a 2 or 3 times a year schedule to make sure that the vent is clear and the closer is working properly.
Some have a flapper that closes when the dryer is not operating. It is very important that this flapper is working properly because it closes the vent and does not allow outside air infiltrations which could be costly in a heated or cooled area.
Some have other devices that close the vent, the most common is a ball on the end of the pipe that floats when the dryer is operating and settles into the end of the pipe when the dryer is off. This is typically the most efficient as it closes the best.
Screens on vents need to be cleaned regularly to allow maximum air flow.
Inside Dryer Vent Connection Solutions
Inside Dryer Vent Solutions
A typical installation is a through the wall rigid vent pipe, connected to an outside vent hood. This application will work for all dryers with a through the wall application.
Sometimes the clearance is restricted. The good news is that there are several products the reduce the clearance by either telescoping or using the wall for the connections. For reduced clearance applications, install one of these options.
There are products that make the connections easier. Once installed, vent connectors make it very easy to check the connections and disassemble for cleaning.
Dryer Hose Clamps
Dryer Vent Clamp Selection
When installing new vent, be sure to use some decent clamps. This will make all the difference in the installation and will make it easier to connect the vent hose.
I do not like the plastic zip tie type of clamp, it is very difficult to get them tight enough. Releasing them is a chore as well.
Spring clamps are the easiest to use and do a good job. They are simple to use and adjust, sometimes the spring handles won't clear the dryer vent. Check to see if you have enough room for these.
Screw down clamps are the most effective but are harder to use. If you use these, try to have a nut driver that will turn the screw down mechanism, this makes it much easier to secure them. The screw down clamps get the tightest connection.
Dryer Vent Hose Flexible and Semi-Rigid
Selecting Dryer Vent Hose
Some care should be taken to select dryer vent hose. Too many times, vent used is the plastic vinyl type. This is not rated for dryers, but it is cheap and easy to work with. Try to select the aluminum type.
If you have turns and connections that are difficult to connect, the flexible vent is a good choice since it is easy to work with in some situations.
Semi-Rigid is the best choice for easy through the wall installations since it is less likely to collapse or be blocked, you must use screw down type clamps, the other clamps will not achieve a tight fit.
Kits and Accessories
Installation and Connection Kits
There are a variety of kits available to connect a dryer. These kits normally include everything that is necessary to make a connection.
Sometimes circumstances dictate the type of installation you will be using. There are a variety of installation methods to use. The venting inside the room kits are effective but add moisture to the room and should be used as a temporary solution to a problem installation.
The heat saver type of vent kit is great for capturing heat but remember it also adds moisture, this one actually has a bypass flapper built in. You can use it in dry cold weather to re capture heat, and it can be vented outside in warmer weather or humid conditions.
Dryer Options and Helpers
Amazing Spin Dryers
Save Money with Dryer Options
If you want to save money (who doesn't?), consider drying some things with a rack or retractable line.
Racks are great because they are portable and can be folded up for storage. Consider using one of these for at least some of your laundry, it will save big time on the dryer bill.
Plastic clothes pins are great because they don't have any rusting parts and are not affected by moisture. A big advantage of these are that they can be used as bag closers for potato chips and and cracker bags and they look a whole lot better than the wooden ones.
Save Money by Extracting Water
Spin dryers, both the mini and the larger versions extract water from clothes and dramatically shorten dry times.
The mini is very useful when you are hand washing items, especially those items that you do not want to wring out. These useful little machines make hand washing a breeze and the items can easily be dried by using the dryer or hanging the items.
The larger versions can shorten the dry time in the dryer by 2/3. This is an awesome way to save on the electric bill. If you have room for one of these things, it will pay for itself in no time.