Installing dryer vents in community laundry rooms in apartments, condominiums and college campuses requires careful planning and adherence to standards to ensure efficient operation. One of the most common complaints from residents and students are related to clothes not drying properly. Here are some best practices to consider:
- Follow Local Building Codes: Research and understand the local building codes and regulations related to dryer vent installation. Compliance with these codes is essential.
- Choose the Right Location: Select the optimal location for the dryer vent outlet. It should be placed where it can expel air and lint outside without obstruction. Consider factors such as proximity to outside walls, aesthetics, resident convenience, and ease of access.
- Use Proper Materials: Use high-quality materials for the dryer vent duct. Flexible aluminum or rigid metal ducts are preferred over plastic or foil ducts due to their durability and heat resistance.
- Individual Vents: Vent each dryer individually to the outside. Whenever possible avoid venting multiple dryers into a larger shared vent.
- Avoid Long Vertical Runs: If vertical runs are necessary, they should be as short as possible. Long vertical runs can result in greater humidity and lint accumulation, which will reduce drying efficiency. Vertical runs may require the installation of a booster fan to maintain effective exhaust air flow.
- Use Adequate Duct Diameter: Use the recommended duct diameter based on the dryer’s specifications. Oversized vents can reduce the force of the exhaust airflow leading to ineffective lint removal.
- Securely Connect Sections: Ensure that all sections of the duct are properly connected and sealed using appropriate connectors, clamps, or aluminum tape. Avoid using duct tape, as it can deteriorate over time.
- Avoid Sharp Bends: When bends are necessary, use less than 90-degree bends. Be sure to keep 90-degree bends to a minimum. Every 90-degree bend is the equivalent of ten feet of vent run. Never install a dryer vent which has a bend greater than 90 degrees. Sharp bends restrict airflow and will lead to excessive lint buildup.
- Use External Vent Covers: Install an external vent cover that prevents pests, debris, and inclement weather from entering the duct while allowing proper airflow. Never install screening or a filter at the end of the dryer vent. It is recommended that a Type “B” exterior wall cap be used.
- Regular Maintenance: Properly designed dryer vent systems will require less frequent cleaning approximately every three years. Dryer vents systems with longer horizontal vent runs should be cleaned once every other year. Long vertical runs will require more frequent cleaning and should be inspected annually.
- Professional Installation: Hire a laundry service provider experienced in dryer vent installations, especially for larger multi-family buildings. They can ensure compliance with regulations and implement best practices effectively.
- Resident Education: Provide clear instructions to residents about proper dryer use. Dryers perform better when residents dry similar items together. Drying cotton and poly blends together is not recommended. Emphasize the importance of cleaning the lint trap and selecting the appropriate dryer cycle to assure efficient drying.
By following these best practices, you can ensure greater resident satisfaction with their community laundry rooms.