First and foremost, this blog entry refers only to electric clothes dryers. Do not vent your gas clothes dryer inside your house. This is extremely dangerous and can be fatal! I cannot stress this enough. It is not possible to vent a gas dryer inside your house under any circumstances.
We live in Colorado where the humidity levels are very low. Especially in the winter when the furnace heats the already dry air, lowering the humidity even lower. Most people add a humidifier to their furnace, but they are messy and require regular cleaning. I wanted to see if there was an alternative.
As I was sitting on the couch one cold winter day, I could see a huge condensation cloud coming out the side of our house. I wasn’t alarmed because I knew it was the hot moist air from the clothes dryer being vented outside into the chilly 15°F air. But I got to wondering, how could I utilize this heat and humidity instead of having it go to waste?
I did some shopping and found a little contraption that lets you vent an electric clothes dryer inside. It’s called a dryer vent kit. It’s really quite simple. The exhaust from the electric dryer passes through a plastic box that holds about 5 cups of water. As the vented air hits the water in the container, the small amount of lint that doesn’t get trapped by the dryer’s built in lint filter gets absorbed by the water and sinks to the bottom. The warm humid air then passes out of the container holding water and enters the house. Keep in mind, you still want to use your built-in lint filter on the dryer.
So I made the plunge, bought the contraption and set it up. At first it seemed liked a it was working great. The humidity levels quickly increased. So much, that we started getting condensation on the windows. This actually turned into a problem as water started collecting on the window sill, then dripping down the wall. I was walking around with a towel mopping up the excess water. It left alone, this could ruin the drywall and quite possibly turn into a mold problem.
The container with water in it also requires regular maintenance. It gets nasty too. Lots of wet lint that cannot be poured down the sink. Finding a place to set the container while in use is also a problem, at least for us. Our laundry room is narrow and so it has to sit on the floor. It’s constantly getting kicked.
After a couple weeks of use, I disconnected the vent kit and re-vented outside. It was just creating problems and messy.
For someone that doesn’t have an outside vent, also owns an electric dryer, and can open a window, I suppose you could use this. But I really don’t know how well it will works in a cold climate like Colorado. Too much humidity and opening a window just isn’t an option. In the summertime, it’s way too hot to use a dryer vent kit.