Can You Vent a Dryer Into the Crawl Space?

by Charlie
Can You Vent a Dryer Into the Crawl Space

Crawl spaces are immensely useful things, with lots of room for storage, pipes, and household items that you want out of the way. A lot of people use them to keep their homes tidy and organized, and if you’re lucky enough to have a crawl space, you’ve probably already got lots of things stored away there.

You might be wondering whether you can vent your dryer into your crawlspace. This may seem like an ideal solution to the pipes, and if you’ve otherwise got to run it a long way, it may be very tempting. However, you might be worried about whether this will cause issues with dampness.

Can you vent a dryer into the crawl space? You must not vent a dryer into your crawlspace under any circumstances. This creates a fire hazard, because you will be pumping very hot air into a dusty, enclosed space. Furthermore, it is likely to cause issues with mold and mildew, because dryers output a lot of water, and this will build up in your crawlspace.

Why Can’t You Vent a Dryer Into Your Crawlspace?

The biggest reason to avoid venting a dryer into a crawlspace is that it creates a fire hazard. The dryer will blow lint into the crawlspace, which is flammable, and it will also blow hot air into the space. This creates a fire hazard, particularly because the space is enclosed and the heat cannot easily escape.

When lint builds up, it reduces the airflow, and this further increases the risk of fire. A huge number of household fires are caused by dryers and dryer lint. It’s therefore really important not to vent your dryer into the crawlspace, no matter how convenient it might be to do so.

There are further dangers associated with this as well. Dryers release a huge amount of moisture, because the moisture that they strip out of the clothes has to vent somewhere – and this will all go into your crawlspace. This can create a huge number of issues.

The first will be with any other items you have stored in the crawlspace. They will get damp and damaged, and may start to mold. Fabrics, pictures, paperwork, etc., will all be ruined by a dryer venting into your crawlspace.

This dampness will likely then continue to grow, and may start spreading mold spores into your home. Breathing mold can cause all kinds of health problems, and is considered very dangerous.

Furthermore, the dampness can do structural damage to your home. It will get into the walls and may compromise timbers and other materials. It will ruin wallpaper and paint, make it harder to heat your home, and cause a lot of other issues.

You should also be aware that if your dryer runs on gas, you may create a potential carbon monoxide poisoning risk. You do not want the fumes to go into an enclosed space that is attached to your home. Carbon monoxide is undetectable and deadly, and you must make sure that gas dryers – even more than the other kinds – are vented outside.

In short, dryers of any sort should never be vented into crawlspaces. You might be lucky and not encounter any issues if you do this, but it can be problematic. Even if you don’t encounter big issues, venting your dryer into your crawlspace can cause excessive dust and other minor problems.

How Should You Vent a Dryer?

A dryer should always be vented to an outdoor space so that the lint blows out of the house and the hot air can dissipate harmlessly. The vent will need to be run through the crawlspace if the crawlspace is in the way, but it should still come out on the other side, and not open into the crawlspace at all.

You want your dryer vent to take the shortest possible route to an external wall. That often does mean running it through a crawlspace, but don’t be tempted to utilize the crawlspace. Get the dryer vent outside so that the air can properly escape from it.

Your dryer vent should not be more than 25 feet (from dryer to vent outlet) and should involve as few bends as possible. Every bend will reduce the number of feet that you can run the vent by as much as 5 feet (for 90 degree angles).

A dryer must be positioned somewhere that it can be vented outdoors, so think about relocating your dryer if this is not possible. Don’t vent your dryer to any indoor space, including a basement, a garage, or other enclosed area because of the risks mentioned above.

Vents should ideally be made of rigid metal, as this increases airflow and minimizes the risks of dust getting trapped in the space. It’s more expensive, but it is the best option.

Setting your dryer vent up correctly is a matter of safety, so you must make sure you do this. If you don’t have any experience, get professionals to do this for you, because there is a high risk of a fire starting if the dryer is not properly vented.

Is it Legal to Vent a Dryer Into a Crawlspace?

Although you will need to check your local laws, you should be aware that in some parts of the world, it is illegal to vent a dryer into a crawlspace because of the hazards that this causes. Building codes often say that dryer vents must terminate outside the building, and cannot be linked up with other systems within the home.

That means you might be breaking the law if you try to vent your dryer into your crawlspace, and this could have all sorts of implications. It would make selling your home more difficult, and could get you into trouble with the authorities. Do not take these risks.

Final Thoughts

Dryers should never be vented into any enclosed space, including a crawlspace. They need to be vented to an outdoor space so that the hot air can escape, the lint can blow away, and there is no risk of fire, dampness, or carbon monoxide poisoning.

You may also like