You’ve paid the builder big bucks to design your dream home so imagine your surprise when months later you discover a huge collection of lint in the attic because of an inferior clothes dryer vent installation.
First off let’s get something straight. Many builders will defend their practices claiming they are perfectly acceptable. But by law depending on where you live this is not generally not considered a legal install.
Code states that the dryer exhaust must vent outside and installing the vent near an attic vent does not meet code requirements. Using a proper exhaust vent and everything is fine but venting into the attic itself is unacceptable and yet it occurs far too often clean dryer vent.
The way a clothes dryer exhaust is installed can cause serious problems in your home. Mildew can grow and cause illness in just a short period of time. In fact the moist humid atmosphere is perfect for mildew conditions. But worse yet is the fire hazard. The lint is highly combustible and any heat source could be enough to start a fire.
Dryer venting isn’t quite as simple as many think it is. So let’s unravel the mystery. As the dryer runs the blower motor pushes the moist air out but the problem is it can only push the air a limited distance.
If the run is too long the vent pipe itself will become clogged with lint and pose a fire hazard. The type of exhaust hood, the type of pipe, and even the number of bends affect how long the run can be.
The smooth metal pipe is much better than the plastic corrugated pipe that is so popular these days. It has the least resistance to air flow. If you use an exhaust hood you can make a run that’s up to 64 feet. The openings should be at least 16 square inches.
Reducing the number of bends is also important. For example that 64 foot run reduces to 27 feet if there are four bends. If you use the flexible hose it reduces even more to 15 feet.
You can vent through the roof providing you use an adequate exhaust hood to draw out the hot air. A one piece hood that has a wide flange is the best choice especially on an asphalt roof. Do not vent through the soffits.
If you live in a cold climate you must make sure your builder properly insulates the venting pipe. If you do not the pipe will chill with the cold air and you’ll get condensation which will run down the pipe, leak onto the joints and perhaps even pool under the dryer.
While you are checking you should also check that the pipe pieces are correctly joined using the correct joiners and that all seams have been taped to ensure that lint cannot build along the lip causing a potential fire hazard.
You’ve built the most beautiful house. You’re proud of your accomplishment and you should be so don’t settle for an inferior clothes dryer vent installation.