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Can your Dryer Vent Double as a Heating Source?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Karen in California is hoping that her dryer will serve double purpose in her home this cool season. What can we do for you, Karen?

    KAREN: Well, yeah, along the lines of conserving heat/money, is there any way to harness the heat from the dryer vent that just melts the snow in the winter outside the house; but while inside …
    LESLIE: But it’s helping you shovel that area. (Tom chuckles)
    KAREN: (chuckles) Well, there’s bunny holes. I mean somebody’s benefiting. (Leslie and Karen chuckle)
    TOM: You know, Karen, that’s a good question and it might seem like a logical question because why dump all that heat outside your house. There actually have been, over the years, manufacturers that have designed these damper-like devices that basically filter the air but sort of bypass the cleaned air back into the house. The problem with that is that it’s not just hot air. It’s hot air that’s got a lot of water vapor in it. And when you dump all that water vapor back into your house, you cause all sorts of air quality issues including mold. And that moisture that gets up into the attic space eventually …
    LESLIE: Oh, and I bet it just feels gross.
    TOM: Well, kind of gets pretty damp. If that moisture gets up into the attic – because eventually a lot of that vapor pressure gets up there – then it also saturates your insulation and that makes that very ineffective.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Which won’t work as well.
    TOM: So good question but not – there’s no practical solution to it. If you’re concerned about conserving energy, I would start with a good energy audit. You know, the EPA website, the EnergyStar.gov website, has a great section on home energy audits. They’ve got home energy audits that you can do yourself and then they’ve got referrals to find an actual auditor that comes in your house and looks for those kinds of areas where you can conserve some energy. So I don’t think that that’s a good place for you to start though, for all those reasons.
    KAREN: Oh. OK. Well, the bunnies, I guess will have it. (Leslie chuckles)
    TOM: Good idea. That’s right. Alright, Karen.
    LESLIE: Let the bunnies enjoy their heat.
    KAREN: Yeah.
    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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