Safety, venting, & questions answered. A follow-up to the dryer vent situation.

Wow. Yesterday’s post about cleaning out the dryer duct pipe and fixing a leaky vent on the roof sure sparked a whole lot of passion in you guys!

I was a little hesitant to even post about the leaky issue because there weren’t any pretty pictures to go along with it. I didn’t want to bore you guys. I was pleasantly surprised when I got such a positive reaction about the post. Thank you! Now I know you guys really do like the down-and-dirty nitty gritty posts.

In addition to all the positive feedback I received, I did get quite a few questions and comments – enough to warrant another follow-up post.

First and foremost, I want to address the children being on the roof and their safety.

Please know I am probably one of the most neurotic overprotective mothers on this planet. In fact, I’ve blogged about child safety on this blog before. I was 100% confident in the safety of the kids through the entire roofing experience. The house is 2-story, but this section is on the 1st story:

I would NEVER let my kids any higher than that. Ask Ben, he’ll vouch. 😉 Also, they are 10 and 8, and are responsible. I trusted that they could handle themselves. We went over roof safety before we got on the roof. They knew the dangers of being on the roof, and we are very strict about them following rules, some of which are:

No running on the roof before Home Inspection. No walking on the roof – they had to crawl on their feet and hands when going from the window to the vent area. Any sign of roughhousing at all would cause immediate banishment from the roof. We were very clear that this was a privilege, and without proper behavior they would go inside immediately.

::off my safety soap box::

The second thing I want to address is: Me wearing flip-flops on the roof.

Yes, probably pretty dumb. I didn’t want to get gross tar crud on my tennis shoes (or sneakers for all you East Coasters!). I pretty much do 99% of all DIYs in flip-flops. It’s dumb. I could slip or cut my toe off. I know the risks. I will continue to DIY in flip-flops. I don’t recommend it though. If I ever build a house or something, I’ll probably put on real shoes.

I REALLY really appreciate that you guys were so concerned about our safety. I hope my explanations made you feel better.

And you guys, wow, you are way too smart for me. Seriously. I can NOT pull one over on you ever. I should know that by now. What I’m referring to is the actual venting of the laundry room.

Yes, the venting is awful and stupid and I have no idea how the design of it even passed inspection. Moist hot vented dryer air should NEVER need to travel over 20 feet before it vents. And in my humble opinion and assumption, having a 90 degree turn through the ceiling that runs 6 feet before it turns 45 degrees towards the roof top is probably the dumbest design flaw I’ve seen.

Even after the full 20 feet of vent was totally clean and clear, the dryer was still taking over an hour to dry. Unacceptable. And you guys so called me out on this.

I actually decided last week that I was just going to vent the dryer through the window, which is right next to the dryer. I wasn’t planning a post for it, hence the lack of step-by-step tutorial.

I wasn’t going to do a post because honestly, I highly doubt this get-up is “to code”. And lets face it, it’s kind of a trashy solution. I was just going to quietly have my dryer venting out my window while you guys just blissfully assumed it was venting through the vent pipe in the wall. My bad.

So, yes, I have rerouted the venting of the dryer. My clothes dry so much faster now! It went from about an hour dry time, to now 15-20 minutes.

The window solution is not ideal, but I’m not quite ready to commit drilling a hole through the brick. I need to figure out what our code allows, and make sure I do it the right way. So, for now we have a semi-permanent solution that I am happy with and can live with for now.

There are probably a hundred ways you can set this up. Here’s the rigged setup we have going on for now:

The Dryer Vent runs from the dryer directly into a Back Draft Damper. The Back Draft Damper connects to a trimmed down Supurr-Vent Dryer Vent Hood, which runs through a hole cut into a piece of 3/4″ thick wood. The Supurr-Vent Dryer Vent Hood has been wrapped in Foil Tape to seal off any air leaks. The wood is cut to fit inside the window. The edges of the wood have been wrapped with Rubber Foam Weatherstrip to prevent a draft.

I don’t know if this is the best way to set up a dryer vent solution, but it’s how we did it. And so far it has worked great.

As for the fact that the window is unlocked and open now, we easily remedied this with my favorite window locks that I mentioned here.

For all the upstairs windows I used one lock per window, but for this window we opted to put one on either side. Not only does it keep the burglars and rif-raf out, we also put them on pretty tight to help put pressure on the wood contraption below to keep it in place.

I’ll be honest, it doesn’t look *awesome* from outside – especially since it’s on my front porch, but with a little white paint I think it will make a huge difference.

We plan on painting the wood white to match the trim on the window. I think once it’s all white it will be a lot less noticeable. Also, I’m going to get a big potted plant or something to position in front of the window to help obstruct the vent view.

I want to note also that even though the air that blows out is moist, I’m not worrying about damage to the window frame or house because the window is metal and the house is brick. If I had a wooden window I might be a little more concerned about moist air blowing on it.

Here you can see inside the Dryer Vent Hood to see the the Back Draft Damper.

You could probably do without the Back Draft Damper and just have the Dryer Vent Hood, but I opted for both as a double barrier against bugs and back-draft.

So there you have it. After spending so much time cleaning out the fire hazard that is the vent pipe in the wall, we ended up bypassing it completely anyway. But at least water isn’t pouring into the laundry room anymore. And honestly, I sleep a lot better at night knowing I don’t have a potential fire hazard packed inside my walls.

And now to answer a few more random questions from you guys:

* I have gone back and forth about stacking the washer and dryer. I had planned to, but recently changed my mind, but now I’m considering again.

* Please, at least once a year, disconnect your dryer vent and clean the pipe inside your wall completely out. You will be shocked how clogged it gets.

* The Splendidly Imperfect Miss M! gave the BEST advice I never thought of:
“Disconnecting the dryer from the vent once a year or so and shoving a leaf blower into the vent will blow it all out the roof vent, helping to keep it clear.” Such a great tip!

* No, I’m not going to make anything out of the dryer lint. I chucked all of it. Didn’t even save any for a camping trip as fire starter.

If my tips have helped even one of you to have a safer more efficient dryer, then I’ve done my job!

I hope I was able to answer all the questions you had, and clear the air about my family’s safety.

*Yes, I’m aware I misspelled “Supurr” on all my photos. Whoops.

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Comments

  1. I’m actually really impressed with your solution! I HATE having my dryer vent out high! Why do they think that’s a good idea? Clearly, architects and contractors are NOT the ones who have to live with their flawed designs or we’d have much more user-friendly houses. Also, I would always suggest keeping backdraft blocker. Not only is it a barrier against bugs, but other critters that may want to find their way into a warm spot. I’ve seen TONS of houses where birds and other wildlife have found their way in through dryer vents. You’ve done a good job of making sure that doesn’t happen! As far as kids on the roof, I grew up going up on my grandmother’s roof every year to help pick cherries and it was certainly a lot further drop than what you seem to have! Not to mention that the cherry trees were right next to the house so we had to lean over the scary edge! A roof safety “course” was a great solution, but I would’ve felt totally comfortable letting my kids go up there once they’re that age. Good luck with your dryer vent!

  2. I feel so much better knowing that you’re putting the dryer vent off the side of the house, horizontally and not shooting up against gravity. The change in drying time says it all! The temporary solution is fine until you have a permanent vent installed on the house.

  3. I had to replace a broken washer in October, and went w/ front loaders. Because my walk in laundry room is triangular and the water heater would have blocked the washer dooe from opening, I HAD to stack the washer and dryer. I thought I was settling/compromising. Boy, was I wrong! I think stacked is the most efficient use of space (its nice to have storage next to washer, rather than above it)(and i say that even though im a very tall girl). It is so easy to pull stuff out from washer and throw it up into dryer — easier than my mom’s setup where you unload the front load washer and then shut that door and move to the right. Even though I’m tall and I have long arms, my short mother with short arms could easily reach the dryer controls. Go for stacked! Then you can store things like vacuums and steam mops next to it! I love your roof post and would never accuse you of not looking out for your childrens’ best interests, Good luck with the laundry redo! 🙂

  4. My parents used to let us out on the roof. They wanted us to practice fire escape route. 😉 When I got older, I used to jump off it to sneak out late to go to Sonic. It was probably unnecessary, but it added to the suspense. hehe.

    I also think some people don’t understand that it’s freaking hot in Texas, and that we wear flip flops year round! I frequently operate my saws barefoot. 🙂 Safe? Probably not. Comfy? For sure. And way better than hot feet!

    • Thank you! Yes, it is freaking hot here! It was in the 80s today, and it’s only March!!! Argh. Flip-flops are my staple. I have a few pair of real shoes, but I get so hot in them!! PS, I grew up in a one story house. I use to climb out my window to go to Denny’s with my church friends. lol Finally I realized it was just so much easier to sneak out the front door. My parents never once woke up. Yes, I was a stupid teenager. I hope my kids never sneak out!

  5. Loved your yesterday post!
    And I used to have sleepovers with my friend on her roof that’s set up like yours…what’s the big deal? We never fell off, followed every rule that was given to us….fun stuff! I applaud you for letting them. : )

    You are the go-to woman…love your post.

  6. Love the vent through the window solution! Very clever! And I do home improvement stuff in flips all the time. Once I cut my foot and tracked blood all over the house, but I still do it, its just too comfy 🙂

  7. I’m glad you liked my tip! I used to work for Sears troubleshooting over the phone for washers/dryers/dishwashers and that was a frequent call. 🙂

    Also, I didn’t even raise an eyebrow about your kids on the roof. I was actually taken aback a little when you mentioned it because usually I’m one of the people who is all over stuff like that. We used to get on the roof all the time when I was a kid, and younger than your kids too! It never occurred to me that they shouldn’t be up there.

    PS – I hear ya on the flip flops. I live in AZ and we wear them year round!

  8. Nice work on this, and you’re dead on about the cleaning once per year. The pipes can get very clogged, even though you wouldn’t think.

  9. Gave a brief thought about your kids on the roof but figured out from photos it was 1st floor. Assumed you gave them some sort of safety lecture.

    Totally agree about cleaning out dryer vent. We’ve moved into a 30year old house, formerly owned by an elderly lady. I doubt the vent was ever cleaned. But I can’t take that on right now…too many other things going on.

    My solution: outdoor clothesline. Works as fast as the dryer, especially on sunny days. Way cheaper too–only cost is the initial investment (which she had made) and a few minutes extra per load for the hanging and removing.

  10. Your post made me put cleaning the dryer vent on our to-do list!

    As far as the safety comments with your flip flops, we had a professional roofer climb our 6/12 pitch roof in a pair of slip on fuzzy bedroom slippers. Climb the roof in whatever you feel comfortable in girl!

    Keep up the good work!

  11. Love your solution! What a great idea! And you have definitely inspired me to clean out our dryer vent! I doubt its ever been done!

  12. Allison, seriously…you are one of my most FAVORITEST bloggers! You address EVERYTHING! You’re honest, real, factual, funny, open, down to earth, handy, creative, inspiring, talented, clever….should I go on? I mean SERIOUSLY I just love you. I think you totally friken rock! And I really need to do this DIY…and….girl you so ROCKED the ROOF TOP FLIP FLOPS!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU!!!

  13. This post made me chuckle because when I read the first post I thought “Why would anyone run a dryer vent to the roof” and “Her kids must love being on that roof” LOL I love your solution to the dryer vent and I love the flip flops – Shoot I wore them in snow this winter because I love them so much!

  14. I haven’t commented here before, (fairly new reader… love it, by the way!), but I just wanted to support your decision to have the kids on the roof with you. They are old enough that they can understand the risks and follow instructions, and you are setting an absolutely wonderful example for them! I know so many people who, if you ask them to do something like hang a shelf, they would say, “Oh, I don’t know how to do that. I’ll just pay a handyman.” You don’t have to KNOW how to do something; just think it through, do some research, and then try! Quite often, it will turn out better than you expect! You are teaching your kids that if they are smart and responsible, they can take care of their own problems. If you don’t trust your kids to do something when they’re young, then they won’t trust themselves to do it when they’re older. You are teaching them to be independent and capable human beings, and I say bravo! (They looked like they were having fun up there, too, and there’s nothing wrong with that!)

  15. Two things: one, I always wear flip flops as well & have had many an injured toe & foot due to it… but alas, I continue in my flops 😉 and two, I was always allowed on the roof, even from a young age. I always was my dad’s helper for Christmas lights & I’d go up when he was working on anything. I probably started around 6 or 7 years old. We now live in the Midwest w/ a tri-level & I’m scared spitless of it! LOL I won’t go up! It’s HIGH! Love your honesty. One tip – beware of the plant you choose to put in front of your dryer vent. I had one like that (carport) & it killed all the plants I put in front. Finally a palm is what lived.

  16. Totally just ripped this idea off of you…thanks so much. It was the perfect solution to venting my new washer and dryer from the window of my 4th floor walk-up apartment in Brooklyn, NY. Will try to send you pics after it is complete. Thanks & Happy Holidays!!

    • So awesome! I’m glad it worked for you. I can’t wait to see pics. I’m envious that you live NYC. So lucky!!!! I can’t wait to send pics. Since you are on the 4th floor, make sure you use window locks and stay safe so no one falls out. xo

  17. Allison…. I am fixing to buy the Supurr-Vent but it does not come with the additional circular ‘back draft’ vent that you show. Where did it come from? Thanks

  18. Just curious since I can see mounting holes on the damper frame. Why the huge gap between the wood and the draft damper? Shouldn’t the damper connect directly to the vent on the other side of the wood so that only wood is between the two (no air)? This would eliminate the need for the tape and look neater from the inside.

    If the damper is too long the vent end can be trimmed to the required length to achieve a tight fit to the mounting surface.

Trackbacks

  1. […] laundry room and I go way back. We’ve been through so much together: floods, venting issues, stacking and unstacking the washer and […]

  2. […] I was certain I was going to stack the unit, I considered leaving it side-by-side, so when I installed the dryer vent through the window I cut the vent so it wasn’t so bulky behind the dryer. Well, now it’s too short, so I […]

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