The dryer vent question....

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 15, 2010 4:20 AM GMT
    I work in an "environmental office" full of archaeologists, historians, biologists, haz-mat specialists, our newest addition the "GREEN CZAR" and every other type of tree hugging, dirt munching, bug chasing, "save the world" environmentalist.....and I love it! Great people!
    My question comes from a conversation with our "GREEN CZAR". He sent out a sheet of suggestions to our office on ways to conserve energy and to get more uses from the energy used for everyday actions.
    One of his items listed was directed ONLY FOR USERS OF ELECTRIC CLOTHES DRYERS.
    He suggested not venting it outside, but letting it vent directly into the house in the heating season of the year......I asked him about it and was told that electric clothes dryers do not produce any gaseous byproducts other than the fragrance of the detergent and dryer sheets used. Since they are strictly a heating coil heating only air, there is no CO or CO2, nor any other gas byproducts produced. The exhaust is strictly hot, humid, fragrant air. He said at his home, he has a gas furnace and an all electric dryer, which he has vented in the house all winter. He said that he has done this for the past 3 winters and has noticed an approximate 1-2% savings on his gas heating bill....and the electric bill has not changed since he would be drying clothes anyway....he has a wife and 4 kids.....

    I guess I am a product of "traditions" and would like to get some other "facts" and opinions before I buy-in on this idea. I have an electric clothes dryer and 2 boys and my sister and I doing laundry at least daily..... every little bit of savings is a good thing for me and the environment.....
    Comments ....Anyone?
  • Menergy_1

    Posts: 737

    Mar 15, 2010 4:34 AM GMT
    There is a "box" for sale in hardware stores for about $20 (?) with which you can vent the electric dryer exhaust outdoors per usual or shut it off and direct the hot air into the house. The exhaust air is also humid....good for places like dry high desert northern New Mexico. I noticed one of my humidifiers shut off at some point because the humidity level inside part of my house had risen.

    I did it without the box because I was temporarily avoiding having mice come in through the little flap door when it's open to the outside while drying clothes....they had made a nest in the flexible ducting, and also ate through and were entering my house (finally figured out where the little bastards were coming from!). So, I've blocked it until I can arrange some screening device for the opening through the outer house wall.

    I think maybe the commercially available box thing might filter out remaining lint in the exhaust air and that escaped past the internal lint filter in the dryer....but I notice some lint/dust from the clothes does accumulate on the dryer/washer in the laundry area, lint coming from the exhaust directly going into the laundry space. I think the commercial box/indoor-outdoor switched vent would not have this problem --


    I can't think of anything wrong with directing the otherwise clean exhaust heat from your electric dryer into the house other than having to dust more often perhaps (!). But mine is not a professionally informed opinion, either.
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    Mar 15, 2010 4:57 AM GMT
    At one of my previous apartments, the dryers in the laundry room didn't vent outside. It was really unpleasant to do laundry in the summer. icon_neutral.gif
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    Mar 15, 2010 5:51 AM GMT
    What about the effect of the microscopic lint you might be breathing into your lungs? Is there any?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 15, 2010 5:57 AM GMT
    It seems like it would add a lot of moisture to your house, which could lead to mold and ehew.. Personally I don't like the feeling of laundromats and don't want my house to feel like one. Seems like there are a lot of other ways of saving the environment.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Mar 15, 2010 7:06 AM GMT
    I can see the news report, now.
    Family of 5 dies because gas dryer was vented into the house, just like at their relatives' house (which happens to have an electric dryer).

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    Mar 15, 2010 7:26 AM GMT
    He's correct, electric driers don't produce any noxious by products, they are exactly the same as an electric element heater except the head is directed into the drier.

    On the humidity, the average drier produces small amounts of moister air over the course of an hour (more or least depending on your drier and it's performance) and is quickly picked up by the air currants in a home, unlike say a bathroom with a shower which produces massive quantities of steam over the course of 10 minutes or less which then condenses onto the colder surfaces, which a drier can do if kept in a closed environment (ie, laundry without any air movement, water has to go somewhere) and can only very long periods cause problems.

    On the lint, there can be some microscopic lint produced, however I'd bet most of it is caught by the filter, also, personally, I only wear natural cottons, wools, so forth and I don't really see that causing a problem.. but I can't be sure.

    Personally, I keep the drier in the garage during summer (it gets up to 30 - 40c or more during the summer) and it means the driver works less and in winter I move it into the laundry.

    I don't use the outside washing line very much because i live next to a highway and a ton of shit settles down on the lines and leaves dark lines on clothes/towels which I hate so I use a clothes rack indoors for drying clothes but dry the towels in the drier cause they come out nice and fluffy I also don't use softeners or anything of that kind.
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    Mar 15, 2010 3:26 PM GMT
    I believe those dryer boxes you add onto your exhaust line to divert the air into the house also have a small filter in them. If not you could always fit a stocking over the part that directs the warm humid air into the room. The filter in the dryer isn't enough.



    And about those stinky dryer sheets those should be banned. Use a cup of white vinegar in the final rinse instead softens about as well.
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    Mar 15, 2010 3:38 PM GMT
    My parents did this years and years ago... And that was a good suggestion beneful, they did in fact stick a nylon stocking over the end of the exhaust to catch any lint that the lint-trap didn't.
  • MikePhilPerez

    Posts: 4357

    Mar 15, 2010 3:48 PM GMT
    You will have a condensation problem. The guys house must be a mess. All the water in your clothes will be blowing around your house. It's a silly idea.
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    Mar 15, 2010 3:49 PM GMT
    I'll consider that if I ever live somewhere the electricity isn't included in the rent.

    I think I'd still worry over particles in the air.
  • Menergy_1

    Posts: 737

    Mar 15, 2010 3:56 PM GMT
    joemeister saidIt seems like it would add a lot of moisture to your house, which could lead to mold and ehew.. Personally I don't like the feeling of laundromats and don't want my house to feel like one. Seems like there are a lot of other ways of saving the environment.



    No problem here in New Mexico -- average of 8-20% humidiy -- so VERY dry air in the house. Big house, too, so I don't see a problem with some brief increase in ambient humidity indoors -- as others said, air currents and open spaces will take care of that pretty well.

    As to lint - well -- that's what nose hairs are for - to filter out that suff, right? LOL
  • Muscmasmat

    Posts: 124

    Mar 15, 2010 3:56 PM GMT
    My dryer vents into my garage because the vent through the wall is clogged. As others have mentioned, you do need an additional lint filter. I don't have one and periodically have to sweep up the accumulated lent. This is not so bad in my garage, but I would not want the air blowing into my home without an additional filter.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Mar 15, 2010 4:02 PM GMT
    cdncuteboy saidMy parents did this years and years ago... And that was a good suggestion beneful, they did in fact stick a nylon stocking over the end of the exhaust to catch any lint that the lint-trap didn't.


    There are vent products like this with filters that you attach to the end of the dryer hose when your letting it vent inside.

    In my personal opinion, considering there are so many variables to consider, I would continue to vent outside since this is how the dryer was built, and how the vent was built, and how the house was built. My dad used to try to get away with not spending any more money on energy and with his half-crocked ideas we would probably spend hundreds more just to correct issues that arose by his schemes.

    There are far more logical ways of saving on gas or electricity in terms of washing and drying clothes. Putting a clothes line(or clothes net) down in the basement in the winter and drying your clothes the old fashioned way would be much more logical than messing with the mechanics of a dryer. The dry winter air dries the clothes overnight. The clothes are a little stiff afterwards, but I will run them in the dryer for a few minutes to soften them up.

    The best idea would be to get a newer washer that is incredibly eco-friendly, limiting water use and because of the speed of the tub will get the clothes nearly dry, therefore limiting dryer time by half or more.
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    Mar 15, 2010 4:08 PM GMT
    Caslon13000 saidWhat about the effect of the microscopic lint you might be breathing into your lungs? Is there any?

    The drier has a filter that traps most lint. An old woman's stocking over the end of the dryer hose or outlet traps everything else. I have used this method for several years venting into the house in the winter. I use less house heat an get the moisture you need in the winter. Great idea!!
  • FredMG

    Posts: 988

    Mar 15, 2010 4:10 PM GMT
    I vent the hot air from my Gas dryer into the basement, and it's been that way for 30 years, in a n old house built in 1928, no mold, and no toxic fumes (people even live in my basment).

    I think it be OK ;)
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Mar 15, 2010 4:21 PM GMT
    I'm thinking there is a way to vent the dryer right into a bucket of water to keep the dispersal of humid air to a minimum, but I can't quite remember how you do that. It would also solve any issues with lint or debris.
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    Mar 15, 2010 4:43 PM GMT
    Sporty_g saidComments ....Anyone?

    I did this when I lived in frigid North Dakota, to reduce heating costs. It has advantages and disadvantages.

    The advantage is obviously that you utilize a source of heat that would otherwise be wasted out a vent to the outdoors (plus the dryer creates a mild negative pressure indoors that draws in outside cold air). Indoor venting can reduce the need to run the house furnace as often. You can also introduce some humidity indoors by this method, which can drop very low during the winter in extremely cold climates.

    Disadvantages include having too much humidity, especially when running multiple loads. Enough to cause wallpaper to peel, mold to begin, and windows to fog-up, or even freeze over if it's cold enough outside. And even though dryers have lint filters, much finer lint escapes, and you have extra dust everywhere.

    Up in North Dakota you could buy a device for this purpose. It was a plastic tank, into which the dryer vented, that you kept filled with water. The idea was that the water would trap some of the lint before it exhausted into the room. I tried one, but since the water evaporated, I think it added to the humidity problem. Plus you had to empty the tank and refill it manually, as it soon became a heavy lint soup. And in a small laundry/utility room, the air just kept recirculating and the space became like a steamroom.

    BTW, it's only recommended you do this with electric dryers, not natural gas. If the burner gets out of adjustment, it will produce carbon monoxide that will kill you, and also lower oxygen levels dangerously even if operating properly. And indeed, such a practice is illegal in most jurisdictions.

    Another indoor venting solution is a dryer made for RV, boating and apartment applications. These use an internal dehumidifier that traps much of the moisture, which is then drained away. Needless to say, your dryer would need a special drain hook-up. They are much more expensive, and tend to run a lot slower than direct-vented dryers, but the heat does enter the residence. Here's a link to the most popular manufacturer of these machines:

    http://www.splendide.com/
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 15, 2010 4:48 PM GMT
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    Mar 15, 2010 4:57 PM GMT
    StudlyScrewRite said66610362000_20090821140024561?hei=248&wi
    ProFlex Indoor Dryer Vent Kit

    That is very similar to the device I used in my home in North Dakota. But as I wrote, you had to keep emptying the lint slurry that would form inside it, and refill with fresh water. Plus the other disadvantages I noted in my post above.
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    Mar 15, 2010 5:07 PM GMT
    Unless you run the dryer every day, the amount of energy gained or lost is likely to be trivial, and probably not worth the hassle of dealing with the lint and humidity. Maybe you do. I don't.
    My neighbor had a great idea and ran the dryer vent into the dog house. His dog never went into that dog house again until the day she died.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Mar 15, 2010 5:09 PM GMT
    Weighing the pros and cons, I really think it is a foolhardy idea. I think for health and health code purposes, you should use the machine as it is intended. Many have suggested no lint is in the exhaust and my opinion greatly differs. Anytime my hose is not properly attached to the outside vent I start getting a heavy buildup of lint on the floor right next to the hose. Outside of the house lint is just all over the place around air vent. One dryer I had was a cheap Roper. The current dryer is one of those expensive state-of-the art dryers, and it still spews lint all over the place.

    I admit I'm a bit of a wacko when it comes to trying to live in a healthy environment and have lived in what I believe was a "sick house" a couple of times. I would never jeopardize my health to save, literally, a couple of bucks a year. The only thing we have heard so far is heresy. Until I see tons of evidence in testing proving that microscopic fabric softener debris does not cause cancer and so on and so forth....there is no way in hell I would do something like this. Remember, people used to think asbestus was a good idea.

    As another alternative, here is a suggestion from a house builder/engineer that is also against venting indoors:

    "To extract heat from a simple clothes-dryer vent, try to install the metal vent pipe so it is near or at its maximum length indoors. If you have the luxury of an unfinished basement, you may be able to run the metal vent pipe at a slope from the dryer to a window that is perhaps 20 feet away. The hot pipe radiates the heat directly into your basement along its entire length."

    http://www.askthebuilder.com/714_Clothes_Dryer_Venting.shtml

    There are other much more logical ways of saving energy in regards to doing your laundry.
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    Mar 15, 2010 5:17 PM GMT
    Celticmusl saidMany have suggested no lint is in the exhaust and my opinion greatly differs.

    My personal experience confirms your belief. Even when I used that tub device with water, pictured above thanks to StudlyScrewRite, lint still escaped into the house. Ultimately I abandoned internal dryer venting, even in North Dakota, which, along with Minnesota, is the coldest of the Lower 48 States in which you can live.
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    Mar 15, 2010 5:21 PM GMT
    When my family used to live in Indiana, we did this. It was nice cause laundry room was in my bathroom so it was never cold at night.
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    Mar 15, 2010 7:08 PM GMT
    My childhood bedroom was in a basement right next to the laundry room. We would take the dryer exhaust off the vent during the winters and it did not turn me into a soggy mutant, or anything.

    Give it a try. If you don't like it you can always hook it back up in 30 seconds.