Dryer Vents | Best Pick Reports

Clothes dryers operate by blowing hot air past clothes as they tumble in the dryer drum. This evaporates the water in the clothes, and the water vapor then leaves the dryer and the home through the dryer vent. According to building codes, the dryer vent system must exhaust at a point outside the home not to exceed 25 developed feet. The further away the dryer sits from the exterior vent, the higher risk there is for a fire.

There are a number of requirements for dryer vents to ensure the system operates safely and effectively, but the most important is that the vent must not be obstructed. Any airflow restriction can pose an increased fire hazard because the lint particles that are carried along with the water vapor are flammable when they accumulate. Unfortunately, dryer vents are often made from flexible foil or plastic material that can kink or sag. This produces bends in the system that collect lint, which a spark can then set ablaze.

A properly installed dryer should have a vent of rigid metal ductwork with a smooth interior surface to limit the buildup of lint. There should be a limited number of turns that the ductwork has to take in order to reach the outside exhaust.