Is it Safe to Use Tape on a Dryer Vent?

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Dryer vents exist to ventilate the air from your dryer outside your home and get rid of the lint inside the machine. Obviously, the ducts must handle a large amount of high-temperature air with a force that might compete with a leaf blower. If your duct has a leak, you might think you could seal it with duct tape. The ramifications of using duct tape to seal a dryer vent may surprise you.

When You Must Replace Your Vent

  • You’d do best in some cases by replacing the vent completely instead of trying to repair it. A bad repair may leak carbon monoxide into the room your dryer sits in, potentially poisoning you. Only repair your vents or call a specialist to do it if you see a few leaks. Do not bother repairing a vent that has sprung more than two leaks in 1 foot of tubing. If you find yourself in a situation where you need a vent repair quickly and don’t have time to replace all the ducts, call a specialist to repair the leak. Do not wrap duct tape or any other kind of tape, for that matter, around the vent.

Why Not Use Tape?

  • Tape has an adhesive that seals an area when used properly, but does not resist high temperatures. Eventually, even in duct tape, the adhesive dries off and the tape begins peeling from the vent. Have your vent inspected every year to ensure that no leaks have presence in your venting system, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). The inspector tells you if you have any potential or current leaks and informs you of what you need to do to solve this problem.

Shorter Vents for Safety

  • If you don't mind a big repair project, consider the benefits of installing a shorter ventilation system with a better air route than repairing your current vent. In newer homes, dryer ventilation systems tend to extend through a longer path from an inside wall rather than from an exterior wall, according to the CSIA. This kind of setup makes your dryer work harder than usual and just begs for an unwanted leak in the system. Aside from leaks, you also encounter problems with lint trapped in the ducts, posing a risk of fire.

Alternatives

  • One kind of tape actually exists to solve your problem, but it has a higher price tag than ordinary tapes. You may use either metal foil tape or “heating and cooling” duct tape. Never use ordinary duct tape or any other tape to seal your vent leaks. If you already have duct tape, put a label on it so you don’t confuse it with the tape you want to use to seal your ducts.

References

  • Photo Credit ventilation ducts image by Ragne Kabanova from Fotolia.com
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