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Dryer vents allow moisture, heat, and lint to be expelled outside. By creating a suction force that removes lint from clothes and optimizes air circulation, vents enhance the efficiency of a dryer. You may be wondering how to vent a dryer in the basement. We talked to the experts, and this is what we discovered.
Most dryers require a functional dryer vent system to keep the unit operating efficiently. It would be best if you vented gas dryers outside as they emit carbon monoxide. However, if structural challenges impede venting your electric dryer outside, you may opt for indoor venting.
Follow these simple steps to vent a dryer in the basement:
- Choose a suitable ventilation route.
- Bore the test hole.
- Drill an opening for the vent cap.
- Install the vent cap.
- Assemble the vent line
- Connect the dryer outlet to the vent.
Keep reading as we elaborate on the intricate details around venting a dryer in the basement. We also discuss various dryer venting options and whether you can vent a dryer indoors.
Do dryers need to be vented outside?
Dryers need proper ventilation for them to function efficiently. Although it is advisable to vent all dryers outside, you may opt for indoor venting of electric dryers if the residential codes in your area permit that. However, it is advisable to vent gas dryers outside since they emit carbon monoxide, which is very dangerous.
Venting a dryer outside reduces your exposure to a fire hazard by reducing lint build-up indoors and preserves your home's structural integrity since it does not raise the humidity levels in your home. Additionally, the air quality in your home is better since you don't release pollutants or promote the growth of molds by releasing warm, moist air into your home.
It is advisable to use straight and smooth metal ducts joined with foil-duct rather than screws to vent your dryer. Screws can promote lint accumulation.
A step-by-step guide to vent your dryer outside
Follow our simple step-by-step guide, below to vent your dryer outside successfully:
You will need:
- Tape measure
- Drill bit set
- Tin snip
- Vent cap
- Duct pipe
- Foil tape
- Acrylic caulk
1. Choose a suitable ventilation route
Measure the shortest distance from your dryer to the nearest location in your home structure where you can install the vent cap. This distance should not exceed 25 feet in length.
Further, if the route has a bend, the length reduces by 5 feet for every 90-degree turn. For every 45-degree angle, reduce this length by 2-1/2 feet.
2. Bore the test hole
Mark the center of the rim joist where you intend to install the vent and drill a pilot hole. Examine the surroundings of the exterior wall for any barriers that may obstruct the duct. Additionally, ensure that the top of the vent cap aligns to the top of the siding.
3. Drill the vent cap hole
Trace the outline of the vent pipe on the siding and use a hole saw to cut along the line. Keep drilling until you have a clear path to the outside. Occasionally stop and pry out siding and sheath as you drill.
4. Install the vent cap
Screw the vent cap on the exterior wall. Fill any gaps by applying acrylic caulk around the edge of the vent.
5. Assemble the vent line
Use tin snips to cut the straight sections of the duct pipe, then snap the seams firmly together. If you need a 90-degree elbow joint, insert it crimped end first, then use foil tape to secure the joint.
6. Connect the dryer outlet to the vent
Begin at the dryer, attach the duct to the dryer exhaust port, and place the dryer in its final position. Fix the other end of the duct pipe to the wall vent. Use foil tape to secure it.
If you are not venting the dryer straight out the wall, use a pipe strap to anchor the duct pipe to the wall every 6 or 8 feet.
Once everything is in place, run the dryer and check whether the vent cap is working correctly. Further, ensure that you frequently clean the duct to prevent lint build-up and ensure that airflow is not constricted.
The video below is a nice demonstration of how this installation works:
Is it OK to vent a dryer indoors?
Rather than discharge the excess heat generated by the dryer outside, indoor dryer vents release heat, moisture, and lint to a space in your house.
It is not advisable to vent a dryer indoors since this can result in:
- Increased humidity levels can cause molds to build up, thus resulting in allergic reactions.
- The compromised structural integrity of your home since the high moisture content may cause interior woodwork to rot.
- Elevated exposure to a fire risk since the lint the dryer ejects is highly flammable.
- Higher energy bills arise from clothes taking a long time to dry due to high humidity.
- Poor indoor air quality is amplified by the pollutants such as chemicals from detergents and lint released into the air.
- Increased moisture levels may also deteriorate the insulation in place, consequently inflating your energy bills.
If you must vent your dryer indoors, ensure that you comply will the guidelines stipulated in your local codes. We will discuss further details and measures you can take to mitigate your risk if you can't vent your dryer outside.
Ensure that you only vent an electric dryer indoors since, as we had discussed earlier, gas dryers emit carbon monoxide, which can have fatal effects if you inhale high quantities. This is particularly important since carbon monoxide has neither a smell nor taste.
What happens if you can't vent your dryer outside?
The International Residential Code recommends that dryer vents be terminated outside. Proper ventilation reduces potential overheating of the dryer and minimizes wear and tear, thus making the dryer energy efficient.
However, if outdoor ventilation is not installed, you may take the following measures to avoid accidents and ensure that your dryer serves you efficiently.
- Aerate the room where your dryer is stationed by opening all the windows and doors. The cold breeze that flows in will cool the dryer during operation and eliminate any harmful fumes produced.
- Set up a dryer lint trap to contain any lint released in the dry cycle. The trap will keep the fabric particles from increasing household allergens.
- Regularly clean your dryer's lint screen and lint trap to prevent build-up. Lint build-up not only reduces the effectiveness of the dryer but also increases the risk of your dryer catching fire.
- Install a temporary vent hose every time you operate the dryer. The vent hose may run from the dryer to a window or door that leads out. Ensure that the vent you buy is compatible with your dryer model for it to eliminate heat, lint, and fumes successfully.
This fire resistant dryer duct forms a tight seal to direct fumes and humidity away from living spaces safely. Check it out on Amazon.
Dryer venting options
Correctly venting your dryer is critical as this will keep your home safe and protect your health. You should invest in UL-approved high-temperature metal ducts as they can withstand the hot air released by your dryer during operation.
Spiral-wound aluminum flex ducts are more common even though they are not ideal since the uneven interior promotes lint build-up. In their place, you can opt for:
- Rigid aluminum - it has a smooth interior that offers excellent airflow and does not enable lint build-up.
- Semi-rigid aluminum - ideal for longer venting lengths.
- Sheet metal - although it is hard to install, it has a smooth interior, and its thickness makes it exceptionally durable.
It is advisable to vent your dryer outside to avert challenges that may arise by failure to do so. We hope that the guidelines provided here will aid you in the best approach to vent a dryer in the basement. However, if you cannot vent your dryer outside, we hope you will put measures that increase airflow in your laundry area and eliminate lint.
Regularly clean your dryer vent to remove lint. When lint accumulates, it chokes off the air supply and clogs the dryer hose, creating a potential fire hazard.
Check out our previous posts and learn more about how to unclog a basement drain and vent a water heater in a basement.