Proper Dryer Vent Material
For many years the choice of material for clothes dryer venting was flexible plastic or vinyl, which is also commonly used for bathroom exhaust fans. This type of material is a problem because heat causes it to become brittle and deteriorate. Imagine the problems this can cause if you have a very long dryer duct running across the attic, basement ceiling, or inside walls. As flammable lint builds up and reduces air flow, the vent tube will overheat and eventually cause a serious fire.
Most building codes prohibit the use of plastic dryer duct material today. Dryer ducts made of plastic or vinyl should be replaced with semi-rigid metal, flexible layered aluminum or expandable aluminum ducting. Dryer vent cleaning and repair experts also recommend the vent to be as short as possible with few, if any turns or bends.
Rigid metal is the best and first choice. Dryers are not designed to blow the hot air with great force; therefore, once the air has gone 5 - 10 feet, the dryer begins to work harder. The smooth inside of a rigid metal duct system allows the dryer to perform more easily than a plastic or vinyl duct.
Expandable aluminum is a second choice. Though rigid metal is the best choice, there are times when it would be difficult to work with. Expandable aluminum ducting is more flexible, allowing bends and turns. It is expandable so it can be stretched out; the further it is stretched, the less air-flow resistance it will offer. It is a good compromise when rigid metal cannot be used.
Flexible layered aluminum ducting material is the third option. This is a composite material of aluminum foil layered with plastic fibers for strength. It is also flexible and can be used as a direct connection from the dryer to the wall. It does have a higher resistance to air flow and should only be used in short runs of under ten feet or in locations where more flexibility is needed.
Using the proper dryer duct material will allow your dryer to work more efficiently, venting the hot air and moisture from your dryer to the vent outside. A smooth, rigid metal duct will allow air and lint to escape more easily with less chance of build-up to restrict air flow. When air flow is restricted, the dryer works harder to do its job, costing more in energy consumption and eventually leading to overheating which can cause a fire.
This article was written by Jon Perry, owner of Dryer Vent Wizard of Central California. http://www.dryerventwizard offers a host of tips, tools, news reports, and links to help you keep your family and home safe from dryer fires. Dryer Vent Wizards inspects, cleans, repairs, and replaces dryer vent systems for home and business owners in Fresno County, Kerman, Sanger, Madera County, Oakhurst, Madera, Merced County, Livingston, Atwater, Los Banos, Merced, Tulare County, Visalia, Tulare, Porterville, Monterey County, San Benito County and neighboring cities and communities.