Something I never realized I had to consider when it came to running my own home is clearances. Growing up, appliances would come into the house and would “magically” be installed just right.
Now I have to do the “magic”, which means understanding there’s more to location than what looks good. Gas dryers must be in an appropriate location where there is space for all the connections and it is out of reach of combustible items. To ensure this, you need to understand where and what the clearances are.
The IRC refers to the clearances from the manufacturer. Although these can differ, typically, there must be at least 1" for the sides and 6" for the back. A minimum of 18" is necessary from the top of the dryer and between the bottom and a garage floor.
Building Codes Direct You to Manufacturer
The International Residential Code (IRC), Section G2408.5, states that heat-producing appliances must be installed with clearances from combustible materials as specified by the manufacturer.
These clearances include space for doors, windows, and drawers that open, as well as shelves and other overhead items. Thus, you cannot say you never open that cupboard door, so it doesn’t count. Anything that compromises the clearances is not code-compliant.
So, let’s see what the manufacturer instructions say on the matter of gas dryer clearances since they are important to ensure there is proper space around the dryer for airflow, ventilation, and servicing.
I looked at different models from several manufacturers (Whirlpool, LG, Speed Queen, Samsung, and Kenmore) to establish the common clearances, or range of clearances, for dryers.
Back Clearance for Gas Dryers
Clearance from the back of the dryer is measured from the back panel of the casing to the wall or the back of the cabinet behind it.
|Range of Minimum Clearances from Rear/Back of Dryer||Typical Minimum Clearance from Rear/Back of Dryer|
When it comes to clearance at the back, there are dryers that require no space. However, the space is necessary for attaching the connections and ducting at the back. Since gas dryers must be vented, you will need closer to 6” (152 mm).
Side Clearance for Gas Dryers
The sides are similar; it is measured from the side of the casing to whatever is around the dryer.
|Range of Minimum Clearances for Sides of Dryer||Typical Minimum Clearance for Sides of Dryer|
Many manufacturers state that while 0” clearance is required, they recommend a minimum of 1” (25 mm).
The side clearances are primarily associated with how much noise your dryer will make, as well as helping to promote airflow around the appliance.
Manufacturers indicate that there is a noise-reduction benefit to adding even 1” onto the distance from the sides of cabinets and counters.
Dryers are not motionless in their operation and banging against the surfaces around them will make a noise.
So, keep in mind that the absolute minimum clearance is not always the best one; it only means the dryer has been tested and approved under such conditions.
Top Clearance for Gas Dryers
The top clearance is typically measured from the casing, but it might be from the control of a front-loading design if the manufacturer specifies.
|Range of Minimum Clearances from Top of Dryer||Typical Minimum Clearance from Top of Dryer|
The top clearance can be different if you are installing it in a cabinet or if you are planning to stack the dryer. However, the above numbers show what is normally required if you are installing your drying free-standing or in a closet/recessed area.
Something to take note of is where the lint filter is. If your lint filter is located at the top of your dryer, you might need more room to make it easier to monitor, clean, and replace the filter.
Bottom/Floor Clearance for Gas Dryers
When you are measuring for clearance and leveling the dryer’s feet, remember to account for any molding or raised section of the floor. A gentle slope (1” gradient) is generally fine to install the dryer on.
|Range of Minimum Clearance from Bottom of Dryer to Garage Floor*||Typical Minimum Clearance from Bottom of Dryer to Garage Floor|
If you are worried about using a pedestal, there is no need. The pedestal accessory won’t impact your bottom clearance code compliance as long as there is still 18” (457 mm) between the actual machine and the garage floor.
If you are wondering why a dryer needs to be elevated like this, it is because a gas dryer has an ignition source. The appliance and its heat must be kept away from any potential fuels and flammable substances that you can more commonly find on garage floors.
How to Find the Listed Clearances
You need the installation instruction manual from the manufacturer for your model dryer.
If you cannot locate the booklet that came with the dryer, most manuals are available online. You just need to look your model up on the brand website. There will be a section to download the one pertaining to installation instructions or the owner’s manual (often under “Manuals” or “Support”).
Note: this can differ; I found the installation instructions for some Kenmore dryers under the name “Product Data Sheet”.
You are looking for a section referring to the position or location of the dryer, so use the table of contents to find the correct page.
It is always best to confirm the clearances for your specific dryer model to ensure that there are no established exceptions or recommendations that you should follow, especially if you are following a specific installation method like stacking.
Although, if diagrams are exclusively used to show the clearances, it can be comforting to find out that your interpretations seem correct.