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.
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 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 really quite simple. The exhaust from the 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.
Now, most people wouldn’t want this. In fact, I can’t imagine anyone wanting this in the summer. Not only will it add heat to the house, but it will also add a lot of humidity. So much, that you could end up with a mold problem if you aren’t careful.
But in some climates, like Colorado, it’s downright cold in the winter. And in most homes, people add a humidifier to their furnace so that it increases the inside humidity level. The reason being, when a furnace heats up cold air from outside, the humidity level drops considerably. It can get quite low such that everything you touch creates a nice little static discharge. Quite annoying.
Anyhow, now that I vent the clothes dryer into the home, I get extra heat and humidity that would have otherwise been wasted. When the dryer runs, the furnace will shut off because the temperature inside the house rises above 67 °F rather quickly.
It’s worked quite well so far. About the only problem I’ve had is on very cold nights, the humidity will condense on the windows and start to drip. When this happens, I have to re-vent the dryer outside. Not too big a deal. The one thing I was very concerned about hasn’t manifested itself. Lint! I haven’t had any lint buildup inside the house, whatsoever. None! This really surprised me.