Requirements for Venting Clothes Dryers


Residential clothes dryers are available in models that operate by electricity or natural gas. Depending on your location, your options may be limited. Regardless of the operating source of your clothes dryer, ensure that your dryer is properly installed to avoid risk of fires, moisture accumulation inside the home and violation of local building codes. All clothes dryers require exhaust systems, metal vent material and should vent outdoors.

Dryers Require Exhaust Systems

  • Dryers must be attached to an installed exhaust system. The Building Energy Codes Resources website says that a conventional dryer drying a full load of clothes vents many pounds of water vapor throughout a normal dryer cycle. Without an exhaust system of hoses and/or shafts and vents, water vapor will accumulate on the walls and surfaces of the interior of a house, causing mold, mildew and waterborne health issues. All modern residential spaces in the U.S. are required to accommodate a clothes dryer exhaust system.

Dryers Require Metal Vents

  • In the past, clothes dryers had aluminum or plastic coiled hoses attached to the appliance leading to the household vent system. Lint accumulation plagues these types of vent hoses, often causing clothes dryers to run poorly, and, in extreme cases, causing house fires. Rigid metal or corrugated partially rigid metal vents are now recommended by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. These rigid, smooth metal vents eliminate the accumulation of lint and fabric debris that gathers in the creases and folds of traditional plastic or aluminum vent hoses. Metal vents reduce the likelihood of clothes dryer clogs and fire hazards.

Dryers Must Vent Outdoors

  • Many frugal living and thrifty organizations suggest a homeowner vent a clothes dryer indoors to repurpose the vented heat produced by the dryer. Many appliance owners come up with creative ways to rig the hoses and exhaust system for this purpose, but this practice is not recommended. Condensation accumulates on interior surfaces without proper clothes dryer ventilation, which leads to mildew, mold growth, health problems, and, according to Natural Resources Canada website, the potential for structural damage caused by water damage. Venting a gas dryer indoors exposes people within the home to byproducts of dryer combustion. Ask the Builder website says that the best method of clothes dryer venting is an exhaust system installed through the building’s roof, not into a home, garage or attic space. Today’s modern appliance market does have the rare exceptions: a few appliance brands are producing electric dryers that no longer require vents.

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