Indoor Dryer Vent vs Outdoor Dryer Vent

White dryer vent installed into an exterior brick wall

An indoor dryer vent is necessary for homes and other dwellings that cannot connect an outdoor dryer vent. In general, dryer vents work to remove heat exhaust from the dryer during its operation.

This is an important function because if the dryer is unable to vent the heat that is built up over the course of an operation, it may lead to a potential fire hazard. Indoor dryer vents work in the exact same manner as outdoor dryer vents so there is not much by way of discussion of one versus the other.

The discussion comes down to a question of whether your home facilitates the use of one type of vent over the other and if it can accommodate both, go with the type of dryer vent that makes sense.

Outdoor Dryer Vents

Outdoor dryer vents are installed from the back of the dryer where the vent hose attaches to the outside, typically run through a vent attachment that is built into a basement window or just the exterior wall. This allows the vent air from the dryer during operation to circulate outside where it is dispelled. This removes the materials that are captured during the drying cycle and takes them out of the house so that they do not stay inside the dryer and lead to a fire hazard.

Indoor Dryer Vents

silver dryer hose

Indoor dryer vents are designed the same way that outdoor dryer vents are with a few exceptions. One exception is that indoor dryer vents are not run outside of the home through a window or vent attachment.

Instead, the indoor dryer vent is placed near the dryer and has a filter attachment at the end which is used to recirculate heat and reduce it as well as capture the vent discharge that is discharged by the dryer. This process is necessary to remove flammable materials from the dryer in the same way in which the outdoor dryer vent works, and permit the dryer to work efficiently.

Reason for Indoor versus Outdoor Dryer Vents

dryer hose attaching to an outdoor vent

An indoor dryer vent is warranted in homes, apartments, and other residencies that do not have access to an outside window or are built in a way that makes venting outdoors impossible or impractical. When you have the ability to vent the dryer outdoors the choice comes down to a question of environmental responsibility, costs, and whether you derive any additional benefit from venting outside versus inside.

With respect to the process of environmental responsibility, venting inside limits the release of heat and other materials that may potentially be harmful to the environment and to the ozone layer in particular. You may have noticed that where a dryer vent is located outside, there is a discharge of lint and other residue on the ground. This material is captured inside the vent filter for an indoor dryer vent.

The cost of installing the indoor vent may be less than the installation of the outdoor vent. Over time, however, the cost of the replacement filters for the indoor dryer vent will make it more costly than an outdoor dryer vent.