Dryer Vents: More Complicated Than You Might Expect

27 September 2022
 Categories: , Blog


Whether you're building a new home, adding a dryer to your home for the first time, or relocating an existing dryer, venting is a critical part of the process. The dryer vent allows hot air, moisture, and, in the case of gas dryers, combustion gases to safely exit your home. While all dryers include a filter to catch lint, some lint and debris will inevitably make it into the exhaust vent.

While dryers seem like mundane appliances, they rely on their exhaust vent to operate safely. Problems with the vent can allow for dangerous amounts of heat to accumulate, potentially leading to fires. Carbon monoxide is another concern since a clogged vent prevents it from escaping effectively. While maintenance can help prevent these problems, proper design is equally critical.

What Goes Into a Good Dryer Vent System? 

The primary goal of a dryer vent system is to allow moisture and gas to escape your home as quickly and easily as possible. To accomplish this, it's almost always best to create the shortest run possible with few or no sharp bends. Straight-line runs generally work best, and it's often ideal for the vent to run downwards so that gravity can help gases and lint escape.

However, it's also important that the system avoid sharp bends or the worst-case scenario, upward curves. Anywhere the vent curves upward may create a low point where lint can accumulate. Accumulated lint is unquestionably the most significant threat to your dryer vent system and the most likely cause of clogs and fires.

Material is another consideration. Cheap, flexible ductwork may include paper that can quickly catch fire. If there's a clog in your vent and the lint ignites, these cheap ducts will not contain the fire, allowing it to spread quickly. Ductwork designed specifically for dryers uses materials with much higher heat tolerances, helping to contain any ignition sources.

Why Should You Use a Professional Installer?

Most dryer vent systems are more complex than a few feet of ductwork directly through a wall. In many cases, a vent must drop down one or more levels or travel across a portion of your home before reaching an exterior wall. The situation can be even more complicated if you're relocating an existing dryer to a new location elsewhere in your house.

These complexities can make installing your dryer vent more challenging and lead to more potential design pitfalls. A professional installer will recognize these trouble points, allowing them to design a safe, durable, and long-lasting dryer system. By relying on an expert installation, you'll ensure your new dryer vent won't pose a potential safety hazard for your home.

Contact an HVAC contractor to learn more about dryer vent installation.