About HVAC Contractor Services

« Back to Home

Why Shouldn't You Install Your Dryer Vents Yourself?

Posted on

All dryers require venting. It's a common misconception that electric dryers don't need to vent to the outside, but they still require this critical fixture to release hot and moist air. Venting is even more crucial for gas dryers, which must expel harmful combustion gases instead of allowing them to escape into your living space.

At a minimum, an improperly vented dryer will not function correctly or may not function at all. At worst, a poorly-designed or built dryer vent may create an extremely hazardous situation. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to mistake this project for a simple do-it-yourself job. If you're installing a new dryer, here are three reasons you should leave it to a professional.

1. Building Codes Are Complex

Dryer vents are more straightforward than other home HVAC plumbing, so it's easy to think that they don't fall under any complex building codes. In reality, there are often strict regulations for ensuring proper venting. These regulations keep combustion gases out of your home and help prevent moist air from causing damage or creating a mold hazard.

These building codes often specify requirements such as minimum venting distance from the ground, maximum length by duct diameter, ductwork angles, and more. If you're not intimately familiar with building codes for your area, you may create a system that seems to work fine but doesn't meet essential requirements.

2. Mistakes Aren't Immediately Obvious

Aside from the risk of venting combustion gases into the home, one of the most severe hazards from improper venting arises from lint. Lint presents a major fire hazard, with thousands of homes burning every year due to venting or other dryer problems. Unfortunately, it typically won't be immediately obvious if you've created this fire hazard in your home.

Lint tends to become trapped in low spots in the dryer ductwork, which is why building codes often have strict regulations for the diameter and angle of your piping. The material you use matters, as well. Unapproved venting materials can create areas that trap lint and create severe fire risks. You'll probably have no idea these problems exist until it's too late.

3. You May Need to Make Modifications

If you're installing a dryer in a new location or adding a dryer to your home for the first time, you'll likely need to make some modifications to your house. At a minimum, you'll need to cut a hole for the vent and install a vent cover on your siding. While this work isn't necessarily hard, it involves making visible modifications that can impact your home's appearance if done poorly.

Because of the potential risks and the need to create a polished and attractive installation, it's often smart to leave dryer vent installation to a professional. Hiring an expert is an easy and relatively low-cost way to ensure that your home's dryer is a useful appliance instead of a potential fire hazard.