Air Leak From Dryer Vent Tube – OK or Unsafe?

  • Washer and Dryer
    Controls of a washer and dryer
  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Cody in Texas who’s got a safety question: an air leak from dryer vent tube.

    CODY: So I was up in the attic the other day and I saw some of the insulation blowing. The dryer was running at the time. And I walked over there and I could feel the air from the dryer blowing in from between the walls, you know? And that kind of concerned me.

    It seems to me like it’s not connected within the wall and it’s blowing out. I’m wondering, is that a big deal? Do I need to go in the wall and replace that? Or is it going to be fine the way it is?

    TOM: No, it’s not fine at all the way it is, for two reasons. Number one, an air leak from dryer vent tube is a fire hazard because all that dust is being trapped inside that wall cavity; that’s a major fire hazard. Secondly, all that moisture from your wet clothes is being blown up into the attic in that insulation. And once insulation gets damp, it does not work. If you even add a minor amount of moisture to insulation, it loses about a third of its R-value, or insulation’s thermal resistance.

    So, you want to figure out what went wrong and get that air leak from dryer vent tube fixed. It can vent up into the attic but it has to continue through the attic and out to an exterior wall or out to the roof or out to a soffit. So you need to figure out why it disconnected, what happened and get it fixed in the easiest way possible. But get that dryer vent redirected outside as quickly as you can.

    CODY: OK. I’ll do that. There’s some cabinets hanging above the dryer, so I guess I need to pull those off and cut into the sheetrock to try to see where the disconnect is.

    TOM: Well, maybe. Why don’t you just pull the dryer out to begin with, stick a light in that duct and see if it tells you anything and then go from there. Try to minimize the exploratory surgery, Cody. OK?

    CODY: Yeah, OK. I’ll do that. I appreciate it.

    TOM: The more you cut open, the more you got to fix, man.

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