Improper dryer vent design

A very large portion of my business is dryer vent repair.  Sure most calls start out as the result of poor airflow so a good cleaning is in order, but ultimately the poor airflow and lint buildup is the result of a poorly designed system.

Dryer venting has for the longest time been the mechanical step-child of the home building and remodeling industry.  Dryer venting falls under the mechanical systems of the home.  What I describe as one of the systems that when designed and installed correctly, should only ever need periodic maintenance.

But the dryer venting is often installed by HVAC professionals who know everything there’s is to know about HVAC ducting, but not so much when it comes to dryer ducting. They seem the same, but when it comes to codes, they are very different.

So when it comes to the homeowner looking to save some money by doing it themselves, I applaud your efforts and resourcesfullness, but always want to ensure that it is done correctly.  Shortcuts in design, materials and installations are likely the reason for the need for a replacement.  Don’t make the mistake of doing more shortcuts because you may find yourself doing it again real soon.

Design is as simple as going from point A to point B in as short and straight a path as you can.  Air does not like to make bends so every time you put in an elbow, you are slowing the airflow down.  And don’t always think you need to take the same path as before. Oftentimes, it is better to go a little further if it means removing bends from the system.

Materials are of utmost importance because your dryer ducting really should last the life of the home when installed correctly.  Steel ducting secured with steel strapping and held together with code compliant tape is the only thing that should be used.  Avoid the aluminum ducts at the big box stores and forget about finding code compliant tape there too.  Contact a local sheet metal shop for the materials you need.

Vent covers and transtion hoses are the items on each end of your new duct design and they really can make or break a system. The transition hose needs to be made of metal and UL listed for true safety.  And it needs to be installed with as few bends as possible to allow for great airflow.  Slowing the air down at the beginning of the duct only allows lint to collect in the ducting instead of blowing outside where we want it.  And vent covers are what protects the end of the vent from weather and woodland creatures.  It should be made of metal, and secured so as not to allow water into the home siding.

The good thing is all this can be done properly for just a few bucks more than the cheap stuff at the big box stores.  When looking to repair your dryer ducting, take care to ensure your home and family is also protected by utilizing a good design and materials.  And should you need any help with either, I am here for you.