Venting Your Clothes Dryer: A Fast but Vital Job

All of your stuff has been moved into the new house, so you’re sitting in the middle of the living-room floor trying to find the toilet paper. After that, it’ll be time to vent the clothes dryer: something that needs to be done before you dry your first load of laundry in the new home.

People don’t think of clothes dryers as dangerous appliances, but the truth is that improper ventilation can start house fires. Some are big, some are small, but all are dangerous - not to mention inconvenient - to new homeowners who just wanted dry towels for the first trip to the new hot tub.

Another, more common problem is improperly-installed vents. If this simple aluminum tube isn’t installed the right way, your dryer’s performance suffers. You’ll waste money on the increased energy usage as well as create unnecessary fire hazards.

Fortunately, installing the vent shouldn’t take more than a couple of moments. If done properly, you won’t have to worry about this thing for several months. And then, you’re only checking to make sure that there’s no built-up lint in the vent.

These tips and suggestions will make your job even easier than it already is. You’ll be able to enjoy a long, peaceful life of drying clothes in your new home, instead of worrying about fire hazards and frequently-clogged dryer vents.

Don’t use a plastic vent. Invest in the aluminum version, as this type is less likely to contribute to fires. You’ll pay a few extra dollars, but the added peace in your life is worth the investment.

Find the dryer’s appropriate place in the house. Many homes are built with exterior venting hoods for dryers. This is a big deal: you’re much safer if you route the hot air from the dryer out of an appropriate vent. The hot air has to go outside, but not through the attic or other flammable places.

If your home doesn’t have a vent, call a professional to install one. If you can’t afford to pay someone to do the work, you should at the very least consult with your local home-improvement warehouse for detailed instructions on doing the job yourself. Either way, you need to have a proper venting system.

When you run the vent hose, make sure it takes the straightest path possible. The more twists and turns, the more places dryer lint can accumulate.
The vent’s package should give instructions for a proper installation job. Read these carefully and make sure that you follow them. If you don’t securely attach the dryer vent to the back of your appliance, for example, the thing could come off. Pumping air directly behind your dryer isn’t a very good idea, so take a little time to make sure that everything fits tightly.

One last thing: make sure that the dryer isn’t shoved against the wall. The manufacturer gives guidelines for proper spacing, which can be found in the instruction manual or, in many cases, on the dryer.