So, you want a dryer but the thought of laying the ductwork and cutting holes into your walls and roof is giving you nightmares. The good news is that there is a solution for you. The bad news is that this solution is not the much-advertised indoor dryer vent kit.
Whether or not these kits work depends on what you think their function is. But irrespective of whether they meet your needs, you have to know from the get-go that they do not meet the requirements of the International Building Code (IRC). Let’s look a little closer at these kits to see what I mean.
Indoor dryer vent kits don’t provide ventilation; they are a lint-filtering system. How well they achieve this function depends on the brand, the filtering system (water reservoirs work better), and the quality of the dryer’s in-built lint filter. These kits are against code and pose a health and safety risk.
What Do Indoor Dryer Vent Kits Do?
Indoor dryer vents were created to allow you to be able to vent your dryer exhaust into the laundry room, without the added drama of every surface being covered in dryer lint. The vent system will capture most, if not all, of the dryer lint in a filter or in a water reservoir.
This is all they do—collect lint. This is helpful because lint is not only frustrating when it gets stuck to all your furniture and clothing, but it also poses a fire risk due to its flammable nature.
So, if you are simply looking for a way to stop lint from building up all over the house without cutting holes in the walls, then the kit can meet this requirement. However, if you are looking for a way to stop all the hot and water-laden air from infiltrating your home, indoor dryer vent kits will not work for you.
Another “benefit” of these indoor dryer vent kits is that the air released into the room is warm, so it can save you from having to heat some parts of the house in winter. Of course, the flip side of this is that running your dryer in the summer will increase the cost of cooling your house.
How Well Do Indoor Dryer Vent Kits Work?
When considering the ultimate function of an indoor dryer vent kit (to prevent lint from scattering all over your laundry room, and thereby reducing the risk of fires), the effectiveness of one of these kits depends on:
- The brand.
- The lint-filtering system.
- How well your dryer’s in-built lint filtering system works.
More Reputable Brands
When considering purchasing and installing one of these kits, it is best to stick with reputable brands as they tend to be of superior quality and have a higher guarantee of working as they claim and as they should.
Buying a kit from a brand you haven’t heard of or can’t find reviews for online is a risky business as you could be putting yourself and your family at risk of fires breaking out if the kit does work properly.
Lint-Filtering System of the Kit
Another factor that affects how well the indoor dryer venting kit will perform its function is the kind of lint-filtering system the kit uses.
For instance, some kits will make use of a water reservoir system to filter lint from the dryer. The water system allows the air to be “washed”, so the lint will get trapped in the water and the air that is released back into the room will be lint-free.
This system requires you to empty and refill the water reservoir after a few uses of your dryer so that the water is constantly clean. Moreover, the hot air from the dryer will also cause the water in the reservoir to evaporate, so it will need to be constantly refilled.
A downside to this filtering system is that this additional evaporation can increase the humidity in the room even further.
On the other hand, other kits make use of a mesh filter system. This is when the air blows onto the filter, and the mesh traps the lint on it so it does not get blown out with the rest of the air.
These tend to cause you a bit more work and money as you will need to continuously clean and replace the filters in order to make sure the kit works at its best.
Dryer Lint-Filtering System
The effectiveness of lint collection with indoor dryer kits depends largely on how much is released from the dryer itself.
If you have a good-quality lint filter in your dryer, the amount of lint left for the vent kit to catch is much lower.
If the in-built filter is of poor quality, then more lint will break through and need to be filtered out by the vent kit. This increases the rate at which you have to empty and refill the reservoir or clean and change the filters.
Often, there are recommended filters for every kind of dryer, so it is best to stick to those guidelines for the best results.
Indoor Dryer Vent Kits Do Not Vent Dryers
The actual function of venting your dryer is to take the warm and moist air that is produced as a product of the drying process and remove it outdoors where it cannot cause health and safety issues.
This is so important that it has been recorded as a code requirement in the International Residential Code, which is applicable in most American states and other parts of the world. They are also prohibited by Ontario codes.
Yes, you may be minimizing the risk of a fire associated with lint build-up by filtering it out through this kit, but there is still the risk of mold and structural damage due to the heat and moisture that is released back into the room.
Moreover, there is still the risk of fire associated with outlets that are constantly exposed to moisture.
Ultimately, regardless of the few pros that characterize indoor vent kits, their cons are far more significant.
The Better Solution
If you do not want to install ductwork, you are better off buying a ventless dryer, which is legal and effective. They are not without their disadvantages (see my article on the pros and cons of ventless dryers), including the fact that they are more expensive to purchase.