What is a dryer vent?

I got so excited about writing about dryer vents that I jumped ahead in the class and forgot to answer the most basic question: what is a dryer vent?

Dryer vents are the tube that run from a clothes dryer to the exterior of the home or building. The dryer vent is the exhaust pipe for the clothes dryer. The clothes don’t dry unless the moisture has somewhere to escape. If you’re curious about why that is, check out my previous post here.

The dryer vent connects from the back of a clothes dryer to the exterior of a house. It needs to exhaust all the way out of the house because as previously mentioned, there’s moisture. The last thing you want is an extra dose of wet inside of your house. This is how mold grows. We’ve seen many homes that didn’t quite finish the vent. Rather than exhausting all the way to the outside, it stops inside of a wall or in an attic or someplace else. It’s gross and dangerous.

The dryer vent also exhausts carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide in a home can cause severe illness or even death. This is yet another reason to make sure that the dryer vent exhausts all the way out of the house.

There are building codes and specific manufacturer instructions that dictate how long the dryer vent can be. If the dryer vent is too long, the dryer has to work too hard to push the air away from the machine. When you hire a professional to clean your dryer vent, he or she will be able to tell you how long your dryer vent is.

Finally, a dryer vent should never be made of plastic or vinyl. Because there is heat involved, you never want to risk melting the tube.

In short, the dryer vent is the piece of the dryer that can keep the machine from working by doing nothing to the machinery at all. Simply by being dirty, it can make the dryer work way harder than it has to or make it so the clothes don’t dry at all. Keep the dryer vent clean and your clothes will thank you!

Emily Martinez