Does An Electric Dryer Need A Vent?

There is nothing like taking out a batch of freshly dried laundry from your electric dryer. That warm pile of clothes is the result of your machine generating enough heat to dry a full load. When there is heat, however, that begs the question of whether or not your electric dryer needs a vent. We have done the research to help you out with the best answer.

Yes, an electric dryer needs a vent to work properly. This is also referred to as a vent-type dryer. Having a well-placed vent ensures that all the excess moisture, lint, and residual heat can leave the inside of the machine.

Knowing this, how do you ensure that your dryer is properly vented? As mentioned, without a vent, your electric dryer will not work properly. A poor vent setup will also lead to all sorts of problems that we will discuss in this post, so keep reading to learn more!

Dryer exhaust ventilation fan on side of house with plastic white trim with silicone. Does An Electric Dryer Need A Vent

Why Electric Dryers Need A Vent

It is easy to understand why a vent is important if you know how an electric dryer works. Essentially, as the dryer tumbles your clothes, the machine sucks up air from the outside and heats it inside. This heat evaporates the water, causing the clothes to dry. During this process, the excess water needs a place to go.

A vent is vital for the drying process since, without one, the clothes will end up as wet as they started. Without a vent, the moisture will remain trapped inside the electric dryer instead of releasing as steam.

Interior of home laundry room with modern washing machine, wooden wall panels, wicker basket

What happens if your electric dryer has no vent? Aside from the clothes being unable to dry, there are a few potential hazards involved. Moisture that gets trapped between spaces in your machine and along the side of your house will be prone to mold growth. You could even risk a fire starting from trapped lint and hot air that are unable to escape.

Installing a vent for your electric dryer may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Houses or apartments that have provisions for electric dryers will usually have a ready setup for you to build off on. Vents will lead to the outside of your house. You can safely install your electric dryer to these vent systems.

You can make it a DIY job, or you can hire someone to vent your electric dryer for you. It all depends on your budget and skill level.

Is Electric Dryer Exhaust Harmful?

During the drying process, your electric dryer releases steam, lint, and dust through the vent. What happens if this exhaust is not properly vented outside? As mentioned, this puts your house at risk for mold or even fire.

Mold forming from trapped moisture is harmful to your health. Indoor mold exposure can cause coughing and wheezing, and even asthma. Other symptoms from mold exposure include a stuffy nose, itchiness, or redness in the eyes and skin.

hand removing lint from fluff filter of the tumble dryer on blurred background of clothes dryer with washed clothing

As for the dryer exhaust being a fire hazard, this is due to the lint present, which is highly flammable. When combined with heat from the dryer, there is a likelihood of overheating which will, in turn, cause the lint build-up to combust. Aside from ensuring proper ventilation, you can avoid this problem by regularly cleaning your dryer filter.

In general, the chemicals and dust present from the lint in the dryer exhaust are a danger to human health. Poor filtration and ventilation of your electric dryer can lead to problems with both the maintenance of your house and your health.

An upside to an electric dryer is that since it runs on electricity, carbon monoxide poisoning is not a threat. Carbon monoxide only forms when gas is present, such as in gas dryers.

How To Vent A Dryer Without A Vent To Outside

Unlike gas dryers, electric dryers will not run you the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. However, this does not make the lack of a vent any safer for electric dryers. 

You might find yourself in a situation where there is no accessible vent hole, like in a rented space. One solution for this is to install a vent hole yourself, but this is not always an option. For rooms without an exhaust system, the easiest solution is to use an open window. Having an open window in your laundry room close to your electric dryer can make a good enough vent exit. You could even set up a venting hose pipe out your door.

If a window or door is not an option, you could opt to use an indoor dryer vent kit. This works by connecting a hose from your dryer to the kit bucket, which is filled with water. The water in the bucket then collects the lint and exhaust that your dryer releases while letting out the steam through holes on top. These kits come with their own sets of pros and cons, though. 

An indoor dryer vent kit is a straightforward way to vent your dryer indoors. Having one can also give off extra heat during the winter. Unfortunately, making sure the kit continues to work properly can be quite a hassle. You will have to constantly replace the water in the bucket as it fills with lint. Having to keep such a close eye on an indoor dryer vent could lead to this option being more expensive and less efficient in the long run.

There is another option. There are indoor dryer vents on the market that are screen-filter style and do not need to use water, unlike the bucket-type. These tend to have more built-in safety precautions. You will have to clean or replace the filter regularly as it collects the lint from your dryer. The only downside is that the screen type tends to be pricier than the bucket type.

Click here to see this indoor dryer vent on Amazon.

Click here to see this duct indoor dryer vent on Amazon.

A close up of open washing machine in bathroom

Electric Dryer Without A Vent

There may be instances where having a vent is simply not an option, and indoor ventilation will not do the trick either. If you are still in the process of purchasing a dryer, you might want to look into ventless electric dryers. 

Ventless dryers, or condensing dryers, work by recirculating the air through the drum during the drying process. The moisture from the clothes is then condensed through a built-in heat exchanger. Afterward, the condensed water is drained away. Condensing dryers are relatively new to the American market compared to Europe, where they are the more popularly used type of dryer.

Click here to see this compact ventless dryer on Amazon.

Another alternative to the vent-type electrical dryer is the spin dryer. As the name suggests, it eliminates the need for heat by using centrifugal force to remove water from clothes. Although using a spin dryer on its own may not completely dry out your clothes, it can significantly cut down on how much you will have to rely on a tumble dryer. Since it does not generate any heat, it consumes less energy and poses less of a fire hazard.

Click here to see this portable spin dryer on Amazon.

Dryer Vent Cleaning Brush Lint Remover

Electric Dryer Maintenance

It is important to properly maintain your electric dryer if you want it to serve you for a long time. Be sure to inspect your machine before and after each use. As mentioned, take the time to clean the lint filter or lint screen. It is also recommended to have your vent cleaned and inspected at least once a year.

Basic proper usage of your dryer is also a vital step in dryer maintenance. Follow the user manual of your unit to make sure you are using it properly. Also, make sure that your power source is adequate for your dryer. Your laundry room must be a secure place to set up your dryer.

Should you encounter an issue that you cannot solve on your own, it is a good idea to call up a professional to have your electric dryer checked. 

Dryer vent being cleaned with spinning brush. Does An Electric Dryer Need A Vent

In Closing

Most American households have vent-type electric dryers which always need a vent. Proper ventilation ensures your machine will continue to do its job while avoiding any accidents or health issues. The only time your dryer will not need a vent is if it is a spin dryer or a ventless dryer. Both types do not need to generate much heat to dry clothes. Otherwise, when using a typical electric dryer that dries with heat, a vent is a must-have.

You can check out these posts to learn more:

Can You Vent A Dryer Into The Attic?

Can You Use A Dryer Without A Vent Hose?

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