More efficient house: heat with the clothes dryer exhaust

  • Thread starter dotancohen
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Hi all, I am looking for ways to make the house more efficient in winter. Are there any disadvantages to piping the clothes dryer exhaust into the house instead of outside? I do understand that there exists a small quantity of lint in the exhaust, could that be dangerous (breathing, flammable)? Any other dangers or disadvantages that I had not thought of?

Thanks!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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You'll make the inside of the house very damp, if you use a conventional dryer, instead buy a condensing tumble dryer, these condense the water out and exhaust warm air into the house.
 
  • #3
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‎Thanks, Jobrag, that is an excellent point. Actually, considering that we already run a cold evaporator, the dampness would be a welcome side effect!
 
  • #4
enigma
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I don't think the lint would be dangerous, but you will likely need to dust more often.
 
  • #5
russ_watters
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If the dryer is gas heated, it will dump combustion products into the house. That's not healthy and probably not legal. Not sure about the legality of dryer exhaust in general being dumped into the house, though.
 
  • #6
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I agree that the lint might be cause for increased brooming. It is an electric dryer, so that concern is negated. However, I did not even think about the legal implications, I will check that. Maybe an engineer at the authority in question could provide more insight. Thanks.
 
  • #7
russ_watters
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I work in the industry - I'll look it up.
 
  • #8
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I’ve vented my electric dryer into my basement for the last 13 years now and I'd never switch to venting it to outside.

It most definitely adds moisture to the air, but in the winter, it’s actually an excellent method for reducing static electrical shocks, prevalent in dry winter air. The little bit of moisture that it puts in the air won’t keep your basement damp for very long after the dryer shuts off (my dryer typically only runs for 40 to 50 minutes). My basement temperature typically increases 6 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit however, it only increases my living room/dining room temperature by 1 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit, but anything is a help (in the winter).

Another plus is the way it makes my house smell so good, as I use Downy fabric softener sheets in my dryer. I don’t even want to leave the house after that because it smells so good throughout my house!

In the summertime, I leave my basement door open with my upstairs air conditioner running (a 240 Volt window AC unit rated @23,700 BTU’s), which quickly removes the moisture from the air.

However, I don’t vent my dryer unscreened. A girlfriend was ditching a pair of panty hose, so I cut one of its legs off and placed it on my 4” dryer vent hose per use of a single thick rubber band to keep it secured. I empty the stocking every other dryer load for max air flow, but I could actually skip emptying the stocking for several dryer loads if I got lazy. I’m into efficiency, so I empty it every time I use my dryer.

Incidentally, that same rubber band has lasted for the last 13 years, which is somewhat surprising, as one would tend to think the heat, if not age, would have made the rubber band succumb by now.
 
  • #9
Q_Goest
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We have an electric dryer with a plastic T in the vent line that has a flapper to allow you to vent into the house or outside. Works well. I agree with Gnosis, it's great in the winter because you want a little extra moisture in the air. Also, the T is made to install a panty hose thing over it as Gnosis suggests.

When I lived in another house, it had a heat exchanger above the dryer so the air in the house could be warmed up by the exhaust from the dryer without actually venting the exhaust into the house. That would take care of any concerns you might have with a dryer that heated with natural gas.
 
  • #10
Averagesupernova
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A heat exchanger is an ok idea but will cause condensate to form. Curious to know if there was anything to take care of that.
 
  • #11
Q_Goest
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A heat exchanger is an ok idea but will cause condensate to form. Curious to know if there was anything to take care of that.
To be honest, it was an old unit that was in the house when we bought it. Unfortunately, the blower motor didn't work and we only lived in the house one year so I didn't dig into it. Seemed like a good idea at the time though.
 
  • #12
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I work in the industry - I'll look it up.
Thanks, Russ, the authorities here are not being helpful.
 
  • #13
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Thanks for the insight, Gnosis and Q_Goest! That is very good to know!
 

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