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Venting a Clothes Dryer Indoors

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by pen, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Have an electric clothes dryer located in my basement (mostly unfinished basement, not for company if you know what I mean). Thinking about putting an indoor exhaust on it for the winter. What are your thoughts / experiences with this.

    Thanks,

    pen

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  2. Fifelaker

    Fifelaker Feeling the Heat

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    I did it in a trailer we had it was not a good thing. We didn't have wood heat then but the condensation was bad. Way to much moisture. Paint peeling, moist every thing, seemed cooler than it was. The wood stove may have helped I don't know because when I put that in the dryer was vented outside.
  3. 48rob

    48rob Feeling the Heat

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    Pen,

    It can be a helper to keep humidity levels where they should be for comfort during the winter, but the idea should be approached with caution and education, and it must be operated carefully, much like a wood stove.

    If you just install it and forget it, you may have major condensation/damage issues with your home.
    If humidity levels are carefully monitored and you use it as an aid to help add needed moisture, it will be a good choice.

    Rob
  4. WellSeasoned

    WellSeasoned Guest

    It would definitely increase the humidity levels, and there would be a bit of lint here and there, but when the stove is running it would maybe be a good balance. May opt to do the same myself.
  5. Agent

    Agent Member

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    Just dry your clothes on a rack in front of the stove. Same end effect, and a lot less "What if's"
  6. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    I have internally vented my dryer indoors with no problems. I had one of the lint traps they sell, and it helped keep the lint dust from getting bad. Around here, during the summer, outdoor dryer venting is a must!
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I too have vented indoors with no problems. However, it is now vented outdoors and the wife dries the laundry near the stove and finishes up with the drier so the clothes are softer.
  8. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I do it in the Winter. Laundry room that is open to the rest of the house, not a cellar. Vents into a water bucket to trap the lint dust.
    Dryer pretty much only gets used for white wash as we also have a clothes line and hanger rod out there to dry clothes inside in the Winter when the weather doesn't cooperate with outdoor line drying.
    Used a nylon stocking over the end of a pipe for a while but prefer the water bucket.

    You might want to watch the humidity level if the basement air doesn't exchange with upstairs well.
  9. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Whether or not it is "OK" to vent an electric clothes dryer indoors depends on whether or not the house in which the dryer rests is equipped to handle a lot of extra water vapor. Most are not. Every time a load is dried, a gallon of water or more would be released into the indoor environment. And, unlike the case with a furnace mounted humidifier, the water vapor wouldn't be distributed throughout the house. It would be concentrated in the area where the dryer sits - often a cold basement. That's a recipe for condensation problems, and mold and mildew growth.

    Another item: not all lint from a clothes dryer is caught by the internal lint trap or screen. If it were, we'd never have to clean our dryer vent pipes. Allowing the dryer to exhaust into the house would release a lot of tiny, airborne fibers. Flying lint would wind up everywhere - including inside your and your family's lungs.

    There seem to be two types of this type of device on the market; "indoor lint traps" and "indoor dryer vents." Lint traps, generally, appear to be plastic tubs that are filled partially with water. The dryer vent hose is inserted into the top of the tub; the water, presumably, is there to catch the lint. Online companies carrying what appear to be identical plastic lint trap tubs charge anywhere from about six bucks to twenty for the unit.

    Ads for water-filled lint traps say "Just fill the base with water; attach your clothes dryer exhaust pipe and use. It's that easy." What's missing is, "When excess humidity in the air causes condensation and mold problems, just call in a remediation company to clean up the potentially dangerous substance. It's that easy."

    Indoor dryer vents are square shaped plastic boxes with a diverter panel inside. They are made to be cut into an existing dryer vent hose. The diverter can be flipped inside the box to vent the dryer's exhaust either indoors or out. A removable lint trap panel on the front of the box is said to be "easy to clean." However, the mesh panel won't catch anything close to all the lint, and cleaning it would involve an extra step in addition to cleaning the lint screen inside the dryer. And, of course, there would also be the aforementioned problems with excess water vapor.

    It is tempting to think about tapping into the heat that is forced out of the house each time the dryer runs. Indeed, it's not just the heat generated by the dryer that is wasted. Air from inside the house - air that you paid to heat - is drawn into the dryer and then pushed outside through the vent. But in this case it is probably better, from an air quality standpoint, to realize that running a dryer is one of the prices we pay for a segment of civilization. Your time and money would perhaps be better spent doing other energy upgrades to your house.
  10. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Bad idea!

    Did on a friends dryer as a temp fix for a vent that wasn't working.

    Put a pantyhose on the output.

    In 2 weeks time the pantyhose was FULL of lint, wall behind the dryer and all over the laundry room in general full of lint not to mention laundry room had mold growing all over as well. 5 people in house, 1-2 loads of wash a day I would guess.


    AND kitchen which is 15-20 ft from laundry room had the windows and sliding doors sweating so bad I had to use a car ice scraper to chisel the ice INSIDE down enough that the door could still open!

    Maybe it would be ok if you have a large or drafty house and/or don't do much wash but for average house size and use it's way too much moisture pumped into the house.
  11. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    My neighbor vented his dryer into his basement and afterwards had major mold growing on his foam insulation which was blowin into the basement ceiling.
  12. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    dont do it! if you want humidity, buy a cheap humidifier and put in your living space. If you want heat, its not that much.
  13. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    another concern is fabric softener and anti-static dryer sheets.
    They are loaded with toxic chemicals and it's bad enough they are poisoning the air outside with the crap, but you really don't want to be loading your house with a concentrated toxic charge. Especially if you use your dryer a lot.
    You have to stop using those completely if you vent inside. Well, should anyway.


    My dryer vent hose pops off the bucket and onto the outside vent really easy and with a small house a third load of laundry in one day would be overwhelming and the hose would have to go back on the outside vent.
  14. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    As for the moisture, I don't think I'd have a problem with too much. I have a garage in my basement (not used for cars) and the washer and drier are in there. At the other end of the basement is the wood stove. Since the garage door is drafty the stove ends up pulling a lot of cold air in from there. With that exchange, I think they would probably maintain balance.

    I hadn't thought about the "smell" factor and that not being so great to breath in. That's an interesting perspective.

    I appreciate the advice guys.

    Think I'll probably just leave it going to the out of doors.

    pen
  15. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I have my electric dryer vented inside . . . it does add a fair amount of moisture . . . some lint dust (even with the commerically made attachment) . . . and some heat. The moisture doesn't stick around for long though . . . and the dust cleans up quick enough . . . honestly since there are only two of us we don't do a lot of laundry in a typical week.
  16. Grannyknot

    Grannyknot New Member

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    pen...i wouldn't do it if it were me.
    One slip up with the moisture control can wreak havoc on overhead floor joists.
    Damp floor joists and sill plates are like candy for termites.
  17. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I agree with granny--my house had a dryer dumped into a ~6000 cf two car garage. A few weeks after we moved in (2005), still had a ton of crp in the garage, I notice that it is getting really funky in there and all my boxes are growing mold. Yay. Just what you want--half your belongings getting a big funk/mold dose in your new house. Thank you crazy frugal former owner dude.

    Indoor air quality issue also works for me--I think that is the cutting edge of building science right now--figuring how much our houses are making us sick/allowing in allergens/etc. Venting the dryer is a step in the wrong direction.
  18. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    Pen, I haven't looked yet, but I know that somebody makes a and attachment to the dryer vent that allows you to put the dryer exhaust into the house, or pull a bypass and send it to the outside. Seems that might be the best of both worlds. I will look and see if I can find it. I was always going to do it and just never have.
  19. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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  20. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    I did it for several years. Built a 1x4 box and slapped a 16x20 HEPA furnace filter on it. Caught all the lint and put all the heat/humidity back in the house. I'd run a small 6" diameter personal fan to help spread the humidity out. Had a few foggy windows, but nothing else major. Guess I've kind of not messed with it in the past few years. Kind of a pain for the small amount of overall heat gained. We'd run the dryer maybe 1-2x per week for ~70 minutes each time, so 2 hours of 'heat' over the week still didn't do much for the basement. So figure that might be 1-2 extra logs for the stove - it's almost easier to chop a log vs hook all the filter/vent/fan stuff up.
  21. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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  22. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    I remember now, why I didn't do this. It really seemed like a good idea.....put some heat and moisture into the house when you really need it, send it back outside when you don't. My problem was, my dryer goes down, into the crawl space and out. So how do I install this thing without a whole bunch of 90's. Every 90 takes off 5 feet of the allowed (by code) 25 feet of total dryer vent length. I just couldn't make it work to the outside. Inside, of course, worked fine.
  23. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    You will want to avoid venting any dryer to the inside of any structure. Air quality issues aside you raise the dust level & with it the risk of fire. Think of all the points of ignition in your home where you wouldn't want dryer lint to get into. If you truly live in a house drafty enough for this to work, in other words the great outdoors is indoors anytime it wants to be.....well you have far more pressing issues to deal with first. Namely air barrier & insulation. In any newer/tighter home this indoor venting would result in a mold pit in short order. If you want to save some money just hang clothes to dry rather than making hot air, forcing that through wet clothes & storing the resulting byproduct, such as it is in your home. Truly one to avoid despite what the www. may tell you.
  24. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    Is the vacuum cleaner a fire hazard, too ?
    I'd really like to eliminate that dust maker from my Saturday chores.

    :)
  25. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    If I found myself having to run a humidifier all winter due to too-low interior humidity, I would do this, and get rid of the humidifier.

    If interior humidity is at good levels with no humidifier running & the dryer vented outside, I would keep it like that.

    Every situation is different - there are situations where you would definitely not want to vent a dryer inside, and others where it would make good sense as long as it was done right.

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