Homeowners are always looking for a way to cut the cost of homeownership and maintenance. And while it’s completely understandable there are some things that should never fall victim to cost cutting measures. Such as dryer vent cleaning and air duct cleaning in Denver. If they’re allowed to clog up with lint dryer vents represent a clear and present danger to a home. Some homeowners don’t have the time or inclination to clear the vent themselves, nor do they want to pay someone to conduct dryer vent cleaning for them. Their solution? Removing the vent altogether and allowing the dryer to vent into the house. This might seem like a common sense response to an unwanted expense but it should never be done. And below we’ll explain why.
Removing the Vent is not an Acceptable Alternative to Vent Cleaning
The clothes dryer is an incredible convenience. But like most modern conveniences it’s not without its downside. In this case the downside is that you have to keep an eye on the dryer vent and make sure it gets properly cleaned on a regular basis. Not doing so could cause overheating in the vent that results in a house fire. Some homeowners decide the best thing is to vent the dryer into the house. This is one of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make and here’s why.
- Because it will lead to roof damage - “Roof damage? But my dryer is in the basement.” The dryer may well be in the basement but there’s a physical law that overrides the location of the dryer. That physical law is this: heat rises. When you vent the warm moist air from the dryer into your home, regardless of where in the home you vent it, that warm air rises until it reaches the attic. There it condenses under the roof sheathing during the cold weather months. And we have lots of them here in Colorado. You may not notice anything at first. But after a few months black spots will start appearing on the underside of the roof. These are mold feasting on the warmth and condensation. In time those black spots will overtake the entire underside of the roof and then you’ve got real problems. Health problems and budding structural problems.
- Because it could wind up killing everyone in the house - If a homeowner has a gas dryer and removes the vent in order to try and save the cost of dryer vent cleaning they expose everyone in the house to danger. That’s because one of the byproducts of the gas dryer - and the most important reason for having a dryer vent in the first place - is carbon monoxide. This is the same invisible gas that is produced by your car. And the danger of having carbon monoxide from the dryer in the house is the same as having carbon monoxide from the car in the house. It kills. You wouldn’t leave the car running in the garage and you shouldn’t vent carbon monoxide from the dryer into the house for the exact same reason.
- Because it can and does undermine insulation - All the moisture that the dryer expels has to go somewhere. As we already discussed a lot of it winds up in the roof where it damages sheathing and undermines the integrity of the framing. But a lot of it also winds up seeping into the walls and collecting in the insulation. The increasingly damp insulation becomes increasingly ineffective at keeping warmth in and cold out. Before you know it you’re spending more on heating. Much more than what periodic vent cleaning would cost.
- Because it can and does damage your windows - Warm moist air rises and damages your roof. Lots of the moisture from venting the dryer into the house also winds up in the walls where it undermines the insulation. And some of it also winds up creating condensation on your windows and the window frames. As this moisture works its way into the tiny cracks around your windows it also slowly eats away at the framing. Over time this lessens the integrity of the window and undermines its ability to insulate. The window is also bound to start coming loose in its frame at some point, which will cause a host of cascading problems.
- Because it’s illegal - Virtually all building codes in the US state that the clothes dryer has to be ducted in such a way as to remove the moisture and gas the dryer generates from the house. Therefore, just because homeowner A, B and C are venting their gas - or even their electric - dryer into the house that doesn’t mean it’s legal to do so. And just because dryer boxes can be bought at the home improvement center that claim to be a viable alternative to outside venting that doesn’t mean they’re legal to install. It just means the retailer knows that enforcement related to such items is often lax.
The Bottom Line
No one wants to pay for dryer vent cleaning just like no one wants to pay to pay for air duct cleaning in Denver. But sometimes you need to spend a little to save a lot. The fact is that when homeowners try to save some money by venting their dryer into the house they create a situation where the very integrity of the house itself is threatened as well as the safety of everyone who lives there.