Question: Several years ago a co-worker told me that his dad would help heat their home with the clothes dryer. He disconnected the exhaust hose that sends the heat out of the house, put an old section of pantyhose over it to catch any lint, and let the heat from the dryer into the house. Is this safe? I have an electric dryer. Since the laundry room is upstairs across from the bedrooms, the heat would be great. Has anyone done this? It would really help with the heating bills this winter since I do a lot of laundry.
Ann-NC from Mint Hill
I've never done this personally, but there are people who claim this can be done safely and successfully. As tempting as this idea seems, especially given the current rise in home heating costs, if you decide to try this, please consider the following: First of all, rather than attempting to modify your dryer's ventilation system yourself, consider purchasing a kit. Many home stores now carry kits designed specifically for this purpose. In the same way that a dryer should not be left running while no one is home, you should never dry clothes while you are sleeping. Also keep in mind that extra moisture and lint dust that you'll be venting into your home could cause problems with mold and allergens, offsetting any gains from extra heat. Clothes dryers are not designed for the purpose of home heating and the possible negative consequences from using them for this purpose should not be taken lightly-especially when it comes to the possible risks to your health and the health of your family. If the winter air in your home is severely dry, the moisture added to the air might be a welcome relief providing, of course, it doesn't add too much moisture to the air. No vent, no matter how good, will prevent all fine particulates from getting into your air. There are certainly many other ways to make your home more energy efficient and reduce your winter heating bill without the added risks of mold or compromised air quality.
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You'd need to be careful about the amount of humidity you'd be putting into your home. I think my dryer has a warning about "Must be vented to the outside". You might want to check with an appliance store (11/22/2005)
For 15 years I had a dryer in my garage and I did this in the winter to heat it up because it was soooo cold when I was doing laundry. It really works, although, is does let a little dust into the room. Not sure I would do it in a house, unless you can find a way to catch all the dust/lint. You could possible put 2 of the nylon knee highs over the end of your hose. With gas bills going to be so much higher this year, maybe we should all start giving this some serious thought. (11/22/2005)
By Dede Payne
I have been doing this for years. Works great. However, be sure that you have really good ventilation. It should not be blowing into a corner or confined space. You can also buy ventilation boxes, which are made expressly for this indoor exhaust method. They attach right to the exhaust vent on your dryer. (11/22/2005)
I don't think I'd want to do it. It sounds too risky for me. Dryers cause too many fires. I would especially not want to do it while I was sleeping. I think the humidity would be good for your winter air. Perhaps you would want to purchase a humidifier instead. Dry air doesn't feel as warm as moist air. Otherwise, you may want to use an electric heater that you can plug into the wall. Something made for what you want to do. Years ago, we used to open the oven door to give heat to the kitchen, but you can't leave it that way indefinitely. Also, you need to watch it. Please keep safe. (11/23/2005)
Yes I have done this for years. You will have to change those pantyhose at least once a week though. My best friend is an appliance dealer and it is safe, just make sure to change the pantyhose weekly. (11/23/2005)
Please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the original poster wants to direct the heat inside when she is using the dryer to dry clothes ANYWAY, not planning to use it as the only heat source. Anyway, my downstairs neighbors didn't have a vent for their dryer, just some kind of a box that hooked to it. No problems as far as I know. (11/23/2005)
Supposedly, it's unsafe to vent your clothes dryer inside? My parents had their electric dryer vented into the basement because the location of the dryer was on an inside wall. They did not have any problems, physically or otherwise, from doing so. My father lived to be 87 and my mother was 93 when she died.
My dryer is vented into the basment and I haven't had any problems. I do think it helps to keep the house warmer.
Safety wise, it MIGHT make a difference if the dryer is gas or electric? You might want to check with your local fire department.
I vent mine inside with a stocking filter on the hose. Just make sure to clean out or replace the stocking filter to prevent it getting too clogged. (depends how much and how often you use your dryer) it works great for me. It also leaves one less hole out side to lose heat through. Note: my dryer is electric - don't know about gas dryers. (11/23/2005)
This isn't dangerous as far as fires are concerned if done properly. They sell kits at the hardware store. I bought one a few years back to do this. It is a box with a lint screen on the front. If too much lint builds up, you just slide the screen off and clean it. It worked great--added lots of heat and some humidity to the drier winter air in the house. The problem was, I have allergies. Even with the lint screen, I gradually developed bronchial problems. I finally made the connection, that when I did laundry, I coughed non-stop. Excess dust/lint came through the screen, even though I was a fanatic about keeping it clean. If you try this, being the dryer is in your living area, I'd buy and use some type of filter to make sure you/your family don't develop any bronchial irritations (Dr. bills and prescriptions are expensive). At the very least, use several layers to screen the lint/dust. I've been considering doing this again, but this time I'm thinking about buying an allergy filter for my furnace or air filter and cutting it to fit the screen on the box. Just keep on eye on your family's health, and remember to be vigilent about keeping the filter clean, because it can pose a fire risk if you don't clean it often. (11/23/2005)
Just be careful. I have done this, with our electric dryer in the cellar. It brings in a lot of moisture, which is not good for our cellar. As long as it is done cautiously, and done in a home that has dry heat, it might actually be helpful.
On the note of drying while one is sleeping. My appliance repair man didn't really like the idea of using the heat to heat the home, but he did appreciate knowing that we clean our filter after every load, vac the unit where the filter sits once a week, and we don't dry when someone is not home or sleeping. It is too dangerous. If a spark does start, there is no one to call 911 or to possibly stop a fire before it goes too far and, if nothing else, get people out in time. (11/23/2005)
Thanks for all the feedback. I haven't decided whether to try it or not. I was planning to do this just while drying laundry, not just as a way to heat the house. But thanks for all the good info/warnings! With the price of natural gas, I may try this before the winter is over. Thanks! (11/26/2005)
By Ann-NC from Mint Hill
Don't do it!! You will be putting so much moisture into the house that you will have condensation where you don't want it. (12/16/2005)
We thought this was a good idea, too. Smells really nice in the basement. Unfortunately we were violating some kind of safety code per our furnace maintenance co. We have a gas dryer. Be careful, you may have a problem on your hands should you ever have to make insurance claims under your homeowners policy, never mind if something went awry with the gas dryer. (01/01/2006)
Do not vent the exhaust air from a gas dryer into your home! The gas burning byproducts and the heat/moisture are all vented through the same duct which MUST BE DIRECTED OUTSIDE. If you don't vent it outside, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide will be pumped throughout your home in large quantities. This can easily and will kill you.
You can vent an electric dryer inside your house. A dryer is very similar to an indoor electric space heater, except it runs on 220v instead of 120v. The electric heating elements do not create any byproducts and all that is vented is heated air, humidity, and lint. The one thing you must keep in mind is that you do not want to over restrict the air venting from your dryer whether your venting outside or inside. Restricting the airflow will cause lint to build-up inside your dryer (even on the heating elements themselves!). At some point this can and will cause a fire. Someone mentioned using more filters. Be careful if you choose to do this. In my opinion, buy the kit from a name brand manufacturer and either live with the small amount of lint that sneaks through, or do not vent inside. A home-brew rig could cause a ton of dangerous problems.
And no mater what you choose to do, you should always inspect the lint filter after each load and clean the interior part of the dryer once every 3 years. Don't run while your not in the home. You can run it at night, but put a smoke/fire alarm in the laundry room (should already have one there). (02/20/2006)
We've done it for years with no health problems, excessive moisture or mold build up in our house
We did this a couple years ago. We have electric heat. We vented the dryer into a large room (our living room). The vent kit has a switch on it, so I can choose when to vent it in and when to vent it outside.
We have a nylon stocking over the vent to catch the lint, and there is a 3 flapped closing that covers everything up when not in use. I have allergies and have not had any problems with this method. It is heat that we were "wasting" and now has a better use. If you are concerned about too much humidity, use one of those humidity checkers you can get at most any hardware store.
We bought a kit at home depot for $13. We plan to try it out now that our home is getting drier with the heat starting to be on. We have an electric dryer, I would not do this with a gas one. Only thing you have to be careful of is that it is not kicked over, if so it makes a wet, dusty mess all over... We had one of these at the hairdressing school I went to and they were always checking in there for safety, so I think they are not against code if they are electric, and done with an approved box vent like the one we bought at home depot. (11/03/2007)
Thanks for the feedback. I don't need to heat the house with the dryer. I live in an apartment and need a dryer but do not have anywhere to vent it. I was thinking of buying an electric dryer and was just wondering if the air was harmful if vented on the inside. Your feedback was extremely helpful. Thanks. (01/09/2008)
We accidentally vented the dryer into our house for a month or more before we realized it. We were newlyweds in a new home, and bought the house. The handyman didn't connect the dryer to the outside, so it was venting inside. We loved the clean clothes smell, and the warmth and humidity it generated. We are in Colorado and it gets really dry. Once we fixed the dryer, we lamented the loss of the humidity and warmth. . .now we are heading to home depot to convert our dryer to vent inside. All the humidifiers we bought never could give us what our dryer did. Thanks for the info, everyone! (02/10/2008)
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