Do All Dryers Need A Vent?

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What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘dryer’? Like most people, you probably imagine an appliance in the laundry room connected to a vent hose that leads outside. But do all dryers need a vent like that? What would happen if these appliances didn’t have a vent at all?

No, not all dryers require a vent to function correctly. Vented dryers must always be used with a vent hose because it helps to remove heat, lint, and moisture and expel it outside the building. However, ventless models, like condenser and heat pump dryers, do not require a vent. They can be placed almost anywhere in the home, as long as there is plenty of ventilation around.

We’ll start this article by understanding the purpose of a dryer vent. Then, we’ll look at the options you have for ventless dryers, including their pros and cons.

Why Do Dryers Need A Vent?

To understand why some dryers need a vent and others don’t, let’s start by exploring the role that vents play in these appliances.

A dryer functions by using heat to remove moisture from the clothes tumbling inside. But all of that heat and moisture needs to go somewhere. It would be very unpleasant to release all of it back into the house, so it’s best to push all of it outside.

The most effective solution for that issue is a dryer vent that goes from the back of the machine to the outside. As a result, heat, moisture, and even lint will have a direct path to escape to the building’s exterior.

Can You Safely Run A Dryer Without A Vent?

No, you cannot run a vented dryer safely without using a vent. 

Suppose you were to remove the vent hose from the back of your dryer right now and continue using the appliance like normal. If that’s the case, here are the risks that you’ll face:

  • Fire: Dryers already pose a certain degree of fire risk because of the heat and the buildup of lint. That risk increases significantly if you run the dryer without its vent because the heat and lint cannot move quickly to the outside of the building.

Instead, all of that hot air and lint will be blown into your laundry room, where it will continue to accumulate.

  • Mold: Not only will a dryer without a vent blow hot air into your laundry room, but it will also put out plenty of moisture as well. As a result, your laundry room will quickly become hot and humid, making it an attractive breeding ground for mold, posing severe health risks.
  • Carbon Monoxide: Gas dryers have one additional byproduct: carbon monoxide, which can be deadly to humans. That gas must be vented out of the house, so using a gas dryer without a vent is extremely harmful to everyone indoors. To make things worse, carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless. So, you won’t even realise that it’s building up in your laundry room and spreading throughout your house.

What Kind Of Dryers Doesn’t Need A Vent?

There are several reasons why installing a dryer vent might not be an option. For instance, there might be a lack of space, or the person might prefer not to do any renovations to accommodate a vent.

Thankfully, there are ventless dryer options available on the market from leading brands in the business. These ventless dryers fall into two categories: condenser dryers and heat pump dryers.

Condenser Dryers

A condenser dryer is a common type of ventless dryer. As the name suggests, it relies on a condenser, so you don’t have to worry about installing a vent. 

On top of that, the appliance also provides you with plenty of flexibility. That’s because you can place the condenser dryer almost anywhere in your apartment or home. As long as it’s in a well-ventilated area where warm air can escape easily, the condenser dryer will work effectively.

How it works:

Much like conventional dryers, condenser models force hot air through a drum to remove moisture from clothes. The difference is in what happens to that hot air afterwards.

Instead of being vented out, the air is channeled to a condensing chamber where the air is cooled, and the moisture is condensed into water. 

The air is then reheated to continue the drying cycle while the water sits in the water tank until you empty it manually.

You can have the water channeled to the same drain used by your washing machine on some units. That way, you won’t have to worry about emptying the water tank.

Heat Pump Dryers

Heat pump dryers are similar to condenser dryers. However, one significant difference is that these units recycle the air in a closed-loop system.

How it works:

Heat pump dryers generate heat which is then used to remove moisture from the tumbling clothes inside. These units are notable for using less heat during the drying process, which is gentler on the clothes and uses less energy.

Once the air has passed through the drum, it’s cooled down to remove all the moisture. Then, the same air is reheated and recycled back through the drum yet again.

By recycling the hot air in a closed-loop system instead of releasing it, heat pump dryers end up using a lot less electricity overall.

Are Ventless Dryers Any Good?

Yes, ventless dryers are excellent appliances to use. Here are some of the advantages that come with ventless models:

No Modifications Necessary

Installing a dryer vent requires drilling a hole in the wall for the vent to pass through. Plus, there’s also the need to install a vent cover to prevent dust from entering from the outside.

Doing so might not be an option for many people. Some prefer to avoid making such modifications to their homes, while others might not be allowed to at all (like apartment renters).

With a ventless dryer unit, none of that becomes an issue.

Flexible Installation

Conventional vented dryers need to be as close as possible to certain sides of the house to minimize the length of the vent. But, unfortunately, that will also reduce the options for where to place the appliance.

Ventless models offer plenty of flexibility. You can place them virtually anywhere in your home, as long as it’s in a place with plenty of ventilation.

Less Cleaning

Dryer vents tend to get clogged with lint and dirt. That’s why they require a thorough cleaning at least once or twice a year, often by a professional service provider.

Ventless dryers do not have this need. Only the parts on the dryer require cleaning, and you can do that very quickly. 

For example, you can take the condenser unit and wash it in your kitchen sink in just a few minutes.

Higher Energy Efficiency

Ventless dryers, especially heat pump models, do not waste the hot air that’s inside. Instead, these dryers recycle that air and reheat them, minimizing any energy loss. As a result, the dryer unit will use a lot less electricity compared to conventional vented dryers.

What Are The Drawbacks Of Ventless Dryers?

Ventless dryers offer many benefits. But before you go out and buy one, here are a few drawbacks or cons to consider as well.

Higher Upfront Cost

For starters, ventless dryers tend to cost a little bit more than conventional vented dryers. However, you can think of that added cost as an investment, as these appliances cost less to operate because of the energy savings.

Related: How Much Does it Cost To Replace Heating Element in The Clothes Dryer

Smaller Capacity

Ventless dryers also tend to have smaller capacities compared to vented units. So, if you live in a large household that uses the dryer often, this could be a significant challenge. You might need to run smaller and more frequent loads to dry all your laundry.

Longer Drying Time

Ventless dryers, especially heat pump models, operate at a lower temperature. Sure, that means the dryer is much more gentle on your clothes. However, it also means that you’ll need more time to dry those clothes thoroughly.

Water Tank Requires Emptying

Lastly, ventless dryers condense the moisture removed from the clothes and store it in a water tank. You’ll need to remember to empty that water tank before it gets full before you can continue drying your next load of laundry.

There is one workaround for this issue. You could drain your dryer directly to the same drain that your washing machine uses. That way, you won’t have to worry about emptying the water tank at all.

Condenser Dryer vs Heat Pump Dryer: Which Is Better?

Condenser dryers and heat pump dryers are both highly efficient appliances. But if you had to choose one over the other, which would be better for your home?

The better option would be the heat pump dryer. This type of dryer uses more recent technology that is much more efficient overall. Once the moisture is removed, the same air is reused to continue drying the clothes inside the drum.

Sure, heat pump dryers operate at a slightly lower temperature. However, doing that will ultimately lead to plenty of energy and financial savings in the long run, making it a much better investment for your home.

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