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Venting the Washing Machine & Dryer in a Basement Laundry

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basement laundry room

Creating a laundry room in the basement requires special consideration for ventilation. The reason is that laundry generates a lot of heat and moisture. Moisture can wreak havoc in your basement by contributing to unpleasant odors and mold growth. Washer mishaps are among the leading causes of condensation and floods, and dryer mishaps and accidental fires.

But you can still run a dryer or washing machine without ventilation, right? Wrong. You wouldn’t want to run yours without venting it to the outside first. If you do, you risk damaging your appliance or even starting a fire. Most dryers perform efficiently when they are connected to venting systems. Lack of venting also increases carbon monoxide in the basement, which can poison your loved ones.

Basement Dryer Vent Installation

Installing a proper dryer vent is crucial to keeping the appliance operational and preventing the risk of water damage or fire to the home. Here’s how to go about it.

  • Determine the shortest route the duct will travel from the dryer to the exterior. The shorter the distance, the better. A straight line is better but not always practical.
  • Create a small 4¼-inch hole on the exterior wall. Place a hole in the wall if there’s no impediment. Alternatively, you can vent the dryer through the windows by removing a pane from the window.
  • Next, secure the driver vent cap against the side of your house. Ensure the pipe fits the wall opening you’ve created, then secure its cap with screws before caulking the edges.
  • Cut and join the duct tubing to length then connect the tubing to the exhaust outlet. If you’re joining multiple sections, reinforce the joints with foil tape and clamp them.

Venting the Washing Machine

Installing the venting for your washing machine is similar to that of the dryer. The vent has to be on the outside. The only difference is the washing machine vent won’t be moving hot, steaming air like the dryer. You can go for the standard vent that goes up to the attic or vent it right to the window.

As you do so, make sure the vent has a P-trap that captures dangerous fumes and prevents an overflow. The upper section has to be above the overflow level of the washing machine. Your local plumber can take care of standpipe installation if the laundry room has unfinished concrete walls.

Clogged Vents

Do your clothes feel damp after running the dryer? Is there a noticeable burnt odor when drying your linen? Your dryer might be clogged. It’s normal for the vent pipes or ducts to clog with lint after some years. When this happens, airflow will be obstructed, and your clothes will take time to dry. In some cases, the dryer may short cycle, then shut down. Outside air can also find its way into the basement.

The problem becomes apparent in winter when airflows raise the heating costs.

We encourage you to hook your dryer to the venting using a flexible aluminum pipe, which lets you get around corners. Keep the distance between pipes short while making turns to avoid trapping lint. Also, use a venting pipe with the recommended width and support the duct after every 12 feet. From time to time, clean the outside of the screen and ensure it’s free flowing.

Cleaning and Monitoring Vents

Keeping dryer vents is important for a number of reasons. Not only does it improve energy efficiency, but also safety. Your dryer works by pushing out hot, steaming air so clothes can dry. If the exterior vents get clogged by lint, the air won’t be able to eject moisture as it’s supposed to do. The result is moisture will accumulate and it takes a lot of heat to evaporate.

To monitor your dryer vent, install LintAlert. This device monitors and detects the slightest changes in air pressure. When the device detects a blockage or substantial change, it flashes red and beeps to alert you.

Don’t forget to check the pipes for leaks as well, as these can affect the conditions indoors. We encourage you to sign up for annual basement maintenance.

For fast and hassle-free basement inspections plus quotes, get in touch with the experts at Complete Basement Systems. We’re ready to help you create a dry, clean, odor-free basement.

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