There’s a lot of advice online regarding the pros and cons of venting into the crawlspace; however, it’s actually against construction regulations and poses a significant fire risk. Fortunately, there are viable alternatives that don’t cost much.
Venting a dryer into the crawlspace creates a risk of fire due to lint buildup, can cause mold, and can also result in structural damage. However, venting through the crawlspace and directing the exhaust to the exterior of the house is a fantastic option. It offers many advantages and eliminates the risks associated with venting into the crawl space.
In this article, I will explain why it is highly dangerous to vent into your crawl space. I’ll also provide the best viable alternative and guide you on how to effectively implement it.
I take information accuracy really seriously, especially when talking safety. This article has been expert reviewed by Andy Fulenchek, an appliance technician with over 10 years of experience and owner of Grace Appliance.
how to vent a dryer under the house
I’d encourage you to read the entire article if you are considering your dryer ventilation. Whilst venting into the crawl space isn’t recommended, there are some great alternatives that I’ll also go into later, but venting THROUGH the crawlspace is viable.
Note: To ensure safety and efficiency, it is crucial to follow proper venting techniques and guidelines. I have only given a brief summary here.
Key things to consider in venting a dryer through your crawlspace
- Use rigid metal ducting instead of cheaper flexible materials. This facilitates better airflow and minimizes lint accumulation.
- Follow manufacturer installation guidelines and local building codes (some of these can include limits on the length and the sorts of bends in the duct).
- Consider the placement of the vent carefully. Ensuring an adequate distance between the dryer vent and other vents, such as those connected to the HVAC system, is necessary to prevent any intake of moist, lint-filled air into these systems.
- If you choose to have professionals install your dryer vent, expect to pay around $200 dependent on the scope of work.
- The maximum distance between the vent outlet and the dryer is normally 25 feet. If you are planning on having bends in the pipe, remove 5 feet from the limits for every 90-degree turn, and 2.5 feet for every 45-degree turn. Also consider a vent boost fan (on Amazon).
How to vent your dryer through the crawl space, step-by-step
Step 1: plan your route and open the floorboard
The first step in installing your new dryer vent is to plan your route and this may involve opening some floorboards to assess the space underneath. If the space is large enough the job is far easier. If the space is too small you may need to dig into the ground to create a space large enough for the pipe work.
Plan where you want the vent to reach the outside air and pull up the floorboards needed to access the route.
Note: Not all boards need to be raised as sometimes the pipe can be slid underneath once the basic area has been mapped.
Step 2: Fit the vent and pipes
Next, you’ll find the vent at the point it touches the outside air. You’ll probably need to make a hole in the brickwork using a hammer drill or at the least a masonry drill bit. Insert the vent (here’s one on Amazon).
If securing the tube is needed, I’d highly recommend using metal/foil tape on the exterior of the joints. Do NOT use a screw through the pipe as it will catch lint, which is a fire hazard.
Step 3: Fit the remaining vent pipes to the dryer
Once that is completed, you will have to fit the pipes into the dryer. The last pipe you should install is an elbow joint, which will bend upwards towards the dryer. Fit another elbow joint to the back of the dryer, and then attach using the correct length of pipe. Tighten all the connections using your wrench.
Here’s a video I found showing what a dryer vent installation under the house looks like:
3 benefits to venting your dryer through the crawlspace
Whilst venting into the crawl space is dangerous, there are advantages to venting your dryer under the house, through the crawl space, and outside the building.
- Space-saving: Venting a dryer under the house eliminates the need for a long external venting duct, which can be beneficial if space is limited or the laundry area is located far away from exterior walls. This is particularly important if your laundry is located in a space where there is no easy access to an exterior wall.
- Aesthetics: With the dryer vent hidden under the house, the exterior appearance of your home remains unaffected. This can be particularly appealing if you prefer a clean, uncluttered look.
- Protection from weather elements: Placing the dryer vent under the house can shield it from extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow, or high winds. This protection may reduce the risk of damage to the venting system.
Should you vent a dryer into the crawlspace? 5 reasons not to
You should never vent your dryer into your crawl space. Venting your dryer into the crawl space creates a fire hazard, increases the risk of mold buildup, can cause structural damage, and may invite unwanted pests.
Here are the main reasons why I’d definitely not recommend venting your dryer into the crawl space:
1. fire hazard
Dryers produce lint which is a flammable fiber and can easily catch fire. Effective ventilation expels lint from your system. If you vent your dryer under the house, you’ll deposit flammable lint all over the ground. Fire and heat rise so if a fire starts under your house, it could result in a lot of damage to your home.
2. the risk of mold and mildew
Venting a dryer under the house can result in mold and mildew issues. When warm air gets trapped, it will condense and cause dampness. Having mold and mildew in the home can be dangerous for your health.
3. structural damage
Should mold and dampness accumulate under your house, it could lead to serious structural issues. The foundation of your home can quickly become brittle from dampness and your home’s structure could become damaged and unstable. I’ve seen houses where floors are sagging due to structural damage caused by rotting wood.
4. pest issues
Venting a dryer into the crawlspace can increase the temperature under your house leading to pest infestations. Mites and silverfish love humid and damp environments, so they might gather in your crawl space if the conditions change due to your dryer vent causing humidity. You might also create a nice environment for rats and mice…
5. local laws and regulations
Venting a dryer into the crawlspace is so dangerous that construction regulations prevent dryer ducts from terminating there (Section § 3280.708, A, 3). Following local laws and regulations helps you minimize risks and ensure you meet industry standards and prevent fires.
Making the initial bend from the dryer to the floor will automatically restrict the airflow vs having a straight shot out the back of the dryer. Routing the vent hose through the flooring will also likely restrict how far rearward you can push your dryer and require additional space behind the dryer to prevent crushing the vent hose. Plan accordingly to account for the hose, location, bend and length.Andy Fulenchek