Venting your electric dryer into your home is a great way to cut heating costs in the chilly months out of the year, but is it actually right for you? After doing it for several years, here are my thoughts about what to expect, the good and the bad (pros and cons) so that you can decide if the savings is worth the effort.
Can you vent an electric dryer indoors?
Did you know that, during the cold winter and fall months, many people vent their electric dryers inside their home to save on heating costs? It’s truly brilliant if you think about it…I mean, we are heating air to dry our clothes and then sending it outside, so by redirecting that hot air into the home, it makes so much sense that it could save money on heating costs…I had just never heard of it before around 2017, so I decided that I wanted to give it a try to see if it could ease my financial burdens a bit. Guess, what? I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there are even more benefits than just the savings there are for just heating.
Can you vent a gas dryer indoors?
It is not safe to attempt to vent a gas dryer into your home to save on heating…DO NOT VENT A GAS DRYER INTO YOUR HOME, YOU MAY KILL YOUR FAMILY IF YOU DO as it uses GAS. This post is strictly talking about, and using (and indoor venting) an electric dryer only.
How much money will you save by venting your electric dryer inside your home to help with heating costs?
How much money, venting your electric dryer into your home, is going to save you of course, is going to depend on several factors…how big your house is, how energy efficient your home is, how many loads of laundry you do and how often…
So, I am going to break dryer venting into some categories for you so that if you only want to know the pro’s or con’s or whatever, you can skip ahead. I am basically just giving you the full scope of my experience with this method of money saving that I have been doing for the last several years. It should help you decide whether or not venting an electric dryer into your home is the right fit for you, your family, and your financial situation.
What are the pros for venting an electric dryer indoors?
I mentioned before, but obviously you can save money on heating…I haven’t lived in my current home long enough to give you guys a side by side price comparison from years past for how much money I have saved by venting the dryer into the house, but I will tell you this, my very old house has very old windows (from the 1940’s) and can be fairly drafty no matter how hard I try, but when I am regularly keeping up with the laundry and running my inside venting dryer, the heater rarely comes on during the day now that I am venting the dryer into the house.
The area of the house where my dryer is, which before was the coldest area in the house, stays toasty warm…to the point that I like to just hang out in there sometimes to warm up because it’s the closest enjoyable heat I have experienced that is not a camp fire or an old wood stove.
Venting the dryer indoors actually also works as an indoor humidifier so my skin is nice and soft. Normally by the end of the first chilly month, in the winter, my skin has already been splitting/cracking and bleeding even if I use lotion five to ten times per day because I live in a very cold and dry desert. My skin typically stays splitting or cracking all winter long until it’s time to turn the heater off in the spring.
But now, after venting the dryer into the house, my hands are just naturally more moisturized and the savings alone in lotion, and the headache to apply it, is at least ten bucks a month in the winter…that was a savings that I was utterly shocked, but pleasantly surprised to come across.
I really only apply lotion on my hands now if I am going to go somewhere in public and want my hands to look as nice as possible…but that’s it. So, since it acts as an indoor humidifier (whole home humidifiers are super expensive by the way, if you’re not familiar with them.) Guess what guys? Indoor humidifiers also extend the life of leather furniture because it doesn’t dry out and crack… so indoor venting your electric dryer should do the very same thing.
I have also noticed that my hair is less straw-like than it normally gets in winter. Which is great, because I want my hair to be as healthy as possible so indoor venting will also help me save money in less deep conditioning treatments, leave in conditioner, hair oil, and even help stretch the time between trims.
What are the cons to venting an electric dryer indoors?
*As with anything you read on the internet, there are risks, user error, and other issues you can run into or whatnot… yes, if you vent your dryer indoors you need to be careful about lint build up so it doesn’t cause a house fire… but guess what?…we should also be regularly cleaning our outdoor venting dryer stuff as well for the same reason, so just use caution if you choose to go this route. As far as air quality in the home goes… I personally feel like this is a safe option for me and my family, and I really don’t worry too much about it, but if it makes you nervous, do your own research or just don’t do it…it’s just that simple. I’m just sharing my experience with having done it for a considerable amount of time. *
Even if you do live in the desert like me, you can actually overdo it with the “extra humidity” benefit. There is sometimes a little bit of mold build up in the shower that is connected to the laundry room if I’m not being careful, and just doing too many loads of laundry in the same day.
I have found that my home does not have too much moisture if I don’t do more than two or three loads of laundry in a day (obviously the size of the home and the outdoor humidity levels in your area will affect your results, so just be mindful)… I know it’s too much humidity, if I can see any type of condensation building up on my windows.
If that happens, I have found that running a fan or two, typically solves this problem, but if you’re super worried about it you could always purchase a humidity guage to keep in your home (and you may want to know that according to The National Asthma Counsil a healthy humidity level for a home is between 30 and 50%).
So, if you run into the problem of having too much humidity, I typically recommend to just run a fan to keep good air flow and you’ll be fine…you could always let in some fresh air and start over too.
This next con may only be particularly helpful to my female readers, but I have found that more moisture in the home means that it makes my naturally curly hair a little more wavy, so I typically have to just embrace the curl, or switch over to a product that is designed to handle a humid climate…which is just fine with me because I prefer beach waves anyway. Just thought I’d mention that in case any of you just have to have stick straight hair… maybe just don’t do laundry on those days…Also, if I do too many loads in a day the air is so moist that my mascara will clump together when trying to apply it, so keep that in mind.
If you are used to a dry climate, you will need to worry about humidity in your kitchen so that you don’t have things getting moldy. Luckily it is simple to use oxygen absorbers so that you are not trapping the moist air into things when you are cooking. Or..If you’re super cheap, like me, just plan around when you are running the dryer so that you aren’t opening a big bag of flour when there is the most moisture in the air.
I haven’t had anything get moldy in the kitchen because I have been being careful, but I knew that it could happen so am being mindful and just thought that I should mention that possibility to all of you.
Those are really the only con’s that I have noticed…which to me, aren’t enough of a pain to deter me from the other awesome benefits of indoor dryer venting to save money!
How to vent a dryer indoors?
If you thought that all you were going to need to do is just pull off the venting duct to the back of the dryer, I’m sorry to tell you that there is a little more to it to do it right or you’re going to have some very chunky, very linty air floating around your house… but really all you need to do is to attach something that filters the air.
There are a few products that you can buy to filter the lint going into your home, such as BetterVent (which has a 4.5 star amazon rating) or there is a cheaper option of one called Dundas Jafine Indoor Dryer Vent Kit. Both are simple to install and use, but I personally recommend going with one of the very cheapest routes…
What is the cheapest way to vent a dryer inside?
I often tie a nylon stocking on to cover the exhaust hose and after every couple of loads just move the hose to a clean section of the nylon (because lint builds up on it and could start a fire if you’re not being careful to make sure it’s lint-free) and then when the nylon is totally full of lint then you can just toss it in the wash and start over…just keep reusing the same nylon….or, (my favorite way to filter the lint inexpensively) I have recently discovered that if I use a very fine mesh laundry bag (or two, they can be doubled up), that has a zipper, I can just zip the mesh bag snugly onto the venting hose and when it starts to fill up with lint, I just pull it inside out and shake it into the trash can…then wash it and zip it right back onto the vent. It’s super handy! I even call it my “DIY indoor dryer vent”…lol.
Just remember that when you take the exhausting vent apart that you’ll have a gaping hole in your house (where it normally would vent to the outside) still so it’s smart to shove a towel or two, or plug it up somehow to make sure that you’re not just giving your house one more drafty issue.
So, to kinda recap and give you an estimate of what to expect for your own situation… doing two loads of laundry per day seems to keep my 1600 Square foot cottage nice and warm and humidified enough that I don’t need lotion, but also it’s not so humid that the windows are dripping with condensation. If I do three loads or more in the same day, that is when I feel like there is just too much moisture in the air and it’s uncomfortable/I worry about mold… I guess it just encourages me to keep up with my family of five’s laundry…and boy do I need that extra motivator.
Well, what do you guys think about venting a dryer indoors in order to save money on heating? I personally think that I am probably going to do this for the rest of the winters as long as I live so long as I have electricity.
It helps keep my entire house toasty warm, keeps my skin and hair hydrated, saves me lots of money, and only requires minimally more effort to do so (swapping out the nylon every several loads, or washing the mesh bag, is the more effort I’m talking about) I consider that a win in my book!
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*This post was originally shared on this website on November 20th 2018, and has since been updated to improve user experience.