Dryer Vents

Home Inspector with Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area InterNACHI 10041206

I have seen some really creative ways to run a dryer vent. We all know the dryer vent must discharge outdoors... right? Not into the garage, another room, the attic, it must be outdoors! Why? 

One of the most important functions of a dryer is the elimination of moisture recovered during the heating of damp clothing. A typical 12-pound load of laundry can weigh as much as 20-pounds when first removed from a washer. The extra 8-pounds is water. Water weighs just over 8 lbs a gallon, so a gallon of water!

That recovered moisture is held as humidity and can also condense into pools of water inside the dryer venting, possibly leaking out. Heat is another important function of a dryer. Many current dryer models have 'one time', non-resettable, thermal fuse or safety. These safety devices will open should the dryer overheat due to improperly installed venting or it becomes restricted. Once this happens, the dryer will no longer heat at all and will require the failed part to be replaced to correct the condition. On some dryer designs (usually electric) failure of a thermal fuse will totally stop dryer operation altogether.

On older models without one of these thermal safeties, poor venting can cause the dryer to cycle on its safety thermostat instead of its temperature control thermostat. This can cause overheating, usually contributes to poor drying and possibly retarded timer movement on automatic cycles. Poor or obstructed venting can also cause the dryer's external cabinet or control area to get hotter than usual. Without proper air flow through the dryer the thermostats may not cycle the heater to maintain proper temperature. The heat created by the heater has to go somewhere, that is usually to the cabinet. This is a sign of a very dangerous condition! Operation of the appliance should be discontinued and possibly even unplugged until it can be corrected.

I ran into this one the other day. The owners decided they wanted to use the laundry room as a utility room and relocated the washer and dryer into the kitchen.... yes, the kitchen! So, they ran the dryer duct through the kitchen wall, through the utility room, which was the original laundry room to the vent on the exterior wall. They used one of those flexible foil type ducts.

Flexible ducts should not pass through walls, they are meant to be a connection from the dryer to the vent pipe, but not that long! In all cases the longest possible working vent should be made of rigid metal vent material with a large mouth or louvered outdoor hood. Flexible metal ducting although a bit easier to work with causes reduced air flow due to its corrugated design and will contribute to a lint buildup in the ducting over time. Flexible
 Nylon ducting is no longer approved in most areas for dryer venting due to the possibility of a fire hazard and has never been approved for use on gas dryers. In the US and Canada, all gas dryers must be vented directly to the outdoors by law!


Dryer duct/vent fires are the number one reason for home fires!

Over the last 15 years, we averaged over 14,500 dryer fires, per year!!

Your dryer duct and vent should be cleaned annually at the very least, if not semi-annually. And, the flexible duct that connects the dryer to the vent should be replaced as well.

This one needs to be repaired, I recommended the buyer put the washer/dryer back into the laundry room as intended.

Builders build laundry rooms to specifications and best building practices for a reason... don't play with fire!



Posted by

Fred Hernden 


 Superior Home Inspections





 Albuquerque, Rio Rancho New Mexico and surrounding areas...


“My mission is to provide superior quality home inspections to my clients to ensure peace of mind so they can confidently make the largest investment they may ever make!"


Please visit my website at: www.SuperiorHomeInsp.com for details!







Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Susan Jacobsen 02/13/2016 03:12 AM
Home Buying
New Mexico
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dryer vents
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Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Evelyn - Thank you!

Feb 13, 2016 12:06 AM #32
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

And that is exactly how to get a home fire started. I do not do a lot of laundry and for that reason I get my vents cleaned every two years and I do replace the duct from the dryer to the vent.

Feb 13, 2016 12:34 AM #33
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

They go outside, into attic. The moisture introtion into enclosed needs to be vented out.

For god sake, clean the vent once or two times a year. Will you?

Feb 13, 2016 12:38 AM #34
Susan Jacobsen
The Alliance Group Realty - Hilton Head Island, SC
20 Years Providing WOW Real Estate Service

Fred - this is a fabulous post! You have explained something that people just totally discount and gloss over - including some home inspectors since they rarely make any note of the vents that usually are twisted and curled or totally filled with lint! It's also really important to be careful for those of us who have gas dryers! 

By the way - I just REBLOGGED your post since I feel it is so terrific!

Feb 13, 2016 02:57 AM #35
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

Thank you for sharing one really does not think about the dryer vent much but we really should do so. Laundry oh my goodness a task at hand always and forever. But sure glad I have clothes to wash. Funny thing is I realized that I have approx 3 weeks of clothes before I have to wash them oops that is crazy but true. 

Feb 13, 2016 03:16 AM #36
Francine Viola
Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA - Olympia, WA
REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs

Great post.  New construction has this down with laundry rooms next to an exterior wall but some of these older homes have miles of flexible tubing that runs and exhausts into the crawl space, or worse up into the attic.  That photo you have of the clogged hose with lint is absolutely terrifying.  Thank you for the motivation to clean out my dryer vent!

Feb 13, 2016 04:02 AM #37
Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

     Hi, Paul.   I did a blog on this topic a few years ago.  A friend called me; her dryer was hot as a stove to the touch, it was rumbling (the belt was getting distorted from the heat)...  but the clothes were not getting dry!

  On the outside of the house, there was a cap over the vent.  It had a rodent screen that was clogged up with lint.  There was NO ventiliation!

               Clogged Dryer Vent Filter Screen

Feb 13, 2016 04:06 AM #38
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Kathleen - Way to go, keep it up! 

Sam - We don't want it to go anywhere but outside!

Susan - Thank you so much! And for the reblog 


Feb 13, 2016 06:16 AM #39
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Laura - I'm sure your laundry day is not that much fun...lol, thanks!

Francine - I hope not miles! New construction still puts them in the center of the house occasionally, but I don't see that too often here. Thank you!

Fred - I've been called a lot of things, but never Paul. My name should be easy for you...  Those rodent screens are ok, but you gotta check them! They are easy to pop that screen off and clean too! You probably saved her life, that sounds hot!! 

Feb 13, 2016 06:26 AM #40
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

I was shocked to see how much stuff accumulates in my vents in only 1 year. So now, I clear it out at least twice a year. 

Feb 13, 2016 07:10 AM #41
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint
Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Hello Fred/Paul ,  this is an excellent post.  Great safety tip that I for one tend to ignore the importance of at my own house hold.  Tomorrow will be an inspection of ducts.  Thank you.  Fred enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend.  Mark

Feb 13, 2016 04:32 PM #42
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Karen - Good that you're consious of it... whatever it takes. your familys safety is at stake. Good job!!

Mark/Don - Thanks for the comments now go check your ducts.... quack! LOL  


Feb 13, 2016 11:38 PM #43
Barbara Altieri
Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Thanks for the valuable info, Fred, and the heads up. My dryer has not been running too efficiently lately.... clothes taking longer and longer to dry. Might  have a lint clog. Will check it out.

Feb 14, 2016 10:27 AM #44
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Barbara - That is a very good possibility!

Feb 14, 2016 11:36 PM #45
Michael Thacker - Re/Max Real Estate Center - Louisville
Re/Max Real Estate Center - The Thacker Group - Louisville, KY
Your best friend who just happens to be a Realtor

Great post and I learned so much that I can use in my daily walks with clients. Thank you so much for sharing!

Feb 15, 2016 09:02 AM #46
Robert May
Robert W May - Lethbridge Real Estate - Lethbridge, AB
Real estate consulting

I have always had the worst luck with those crinkly hoses trying to run them from the dryer and up to the outlet vent.  I even tried using a full aluminum or tin pipe once and it didnt treat me any better.  I know that they they are notorious for building up lint, and it is worse when they are poorly run.

Feb 15, 2016 09:52 AM #47
Athina Boukas
Virginia Capital Realty - Richmond, VA
Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)

The house I have now vents directly outside through a short - about a foot long -  straight metal duct. Everything dries very fast.

No lint build up. No electricity waste. No wear/tear on the dryer.

If only all dryers had such a short path!

Feb 15, 2016 12:54 PM #48
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Michael - Thank you, tell em to keep it clean!

Robert - Yes they are...lol, it can be a pain!

Athina - Yep, that's the best possible scenario! You can still clean it though, especially around the flaps on the outside of the vent.


Feb 15, 2016 10:33 PM #49
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL

I enjoyed your informative post, glad I came across it in the archives.

Mar 11, 2016 12:51 PM #50
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Thank you Winston!

Mar 11, 2016 10:56 PM #51
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