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Are Indoor Dryer Vents Safe?

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Brandon Kirk

Brandon Kirk

Brandon Kirk is the owner of Planet Duct-Air Duct Cleaning. As a NADCA Certified Air-Duct Cleaning Specialist, he has extensive experience servicing air ducts in El Paso County and the Southern CO region since 2019.

Most dryer vents carry heat and moisture from your clothes dryer outside your home. If you work outside while your dryer is running, you may have noticed the smell of dryer sheets and clean laundry. Older homes, however, may not have vented laundry rooms since clothes dryers didn’t become popular until the 1960s. Some owners may try to get around cutting an exterior hole and running ductwork by installing an indoor dryer vent, but are indoor dryer vents safe?

At Planet Duct, we are proud to be your Colorado Springs HVAC and air duct cleaning experts. Our highly-trained technicians use the best equipment available to inspect, clean, and sanitize your ductwork to improve air quality in your home or business. We also offer dryer vent cleaning services, which help prevent fires and improve appliance efficiency. We are here to serve you if you are ready to save money and breathe better.

What is an Indoor Dryer Vent?

An indoor dryer vent carries the heat and moisture from your dryer to a space inside your home. For example, indoor dryer vents often vent into an attic or laundry room. Because they are venting air back into a living space rather than outside, indoor dryers rely on a filtration system to pull lint out of the air. These filters must be cleaned and replaced frequently, which can add to operating costs. Though you should also regularly clean outdoor dryer vents, they typically only need this service once per year.

Are Indoor Dryer Vents Legal?

In most states, indoor dryer vents are not legal. Colorado’s residential code, for example, initially states that dryers must be vented according to manufacturer instructions, which could allow for indoor or outdoor venting. The next section, however, says that dryer exhaust vents shall convey moisture outdoors. Though most residential codes are only enforced on new buildings, indoor dryer vents could be an issue if you ever decide to sell your home and can also be a safety risk.

Indoor Dryer Vent Safety Issues

Indoor dryer vents do offer a few benefits, which can make them attractive to homeowners, like easy installation. Since indoor dryer vents keep the heat and moisture trapped inside the home, owners can also save on heating costs during colder months. If you can avoid indoor venting, however, you should. Here are a few potential safety issues with indoor dryer vents:

  • Excessive moisture can lead to mold growth and structural damage. Drywall, wood, and other building materials are not designed to withstand constant dampness.
  • Dryer exhaust introduces pollutants into your home’s air. A study by University of Washington Environmental Engineer Anne Steinemann analyzed air from a dryer vent and found seven hazardous air pollutants, including two known to cause cancer.
  • Venting a gas dryer indoors can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Therefore, you should only consider an indoor vent with an electric dryer.
  • Lint trapped in the dryer vent can be a fire hazard. Though this is true of any dryer vent, the filters in indoor dryer vents need to be cleaned more frequently to prevent house fires.

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Proper Dryer Venting

Proper dryer venting is essential to your safety and the efficiency of your appliance. Indoor dryer venting is not safe. Run your dryer vent outside if possible, even if it’s difficult to install. Consider using a clothesline or laundromat if you cannot vent your dryer outside. 

Though choosing an exterior vent is a great first step toward dryer safety, make sure that you also evaluate the dryer vent material. Plastic or vinyl ducts, for example, are flimsy and can cause additional lint build-up. Also, no matter what kind of dryer vent you have, schedule regular professional maintenance to keep your dryer working safely and efficiently.

White sheets hanging from a clothesline.

Schedule your Dryer Vent Inspection and Cleaning Today

Planet Duct understands the benefits of regular dryer vent cleaning, from increasing the lifespan of your dryer to improving air quality in your home. Planet Duct technicians are trained to inspect your dryer and ductwork for damage before cleaning and sanitizing the vent. We will inform you of any potential maintenance issues so you can have peace of mind while using your dryer. Contact us today to schedule your dryer vent cleaning service.