Can You Vent a Dryer Into the Garage?

Whether you’re attempting to capture some residual heat or just as an easy fix, here’s why you shouldn’t attempt to vent your dryer into your garage.

October 04, 2019

Photo by: Shutterstock/Benjamin Clapp

Shutterstock/Benjamin Clapp

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It might be a tempting alternative to vent your dryer into your garage, and while it may save you from having to crawl under your house or punch a hole in the exterior, it’s not as good of an idea as it might seem. The main function of your dryer is to remove moisture from textiles using heated air that’s forced through the inside. In order for the air inside of your dryer to remain hot and dry instead of hot and damp, it needs to steadily eject the humid air as it accumulates. This is where your dryer’s vent comes into play.

Your dryer vent's job is to carry hot, damp air to the outside of your home. Should you direct that humidity into your garage, you would greatly increase the odds of developing a mold problem in your home. Once a mold issue has begun, it’s often hard to detect in a garage, and by the time it’s shown up it might require extensive remediation.

Dryer vents also tend to carry a fair amount of dryer lint as time wears that's guaranteed to be ejected into your garage, covering everything in sight with a layer of slightly damp lint every time you start your dryer. It will eventually get tracked back into your home, causing lint dust to accumulate indoors.

If you have a gas-fired dryer, it’s not only a bad idea to vent it into your garage, it’s potentially deadly. Gas-fired dryers eject small amounts of carbon monoxide, and it’s critical that they're properly vented to the outdoors. Venting a gas dryer into any enclosed space can cause an accumulation of carbon monoxide that could become lethal to humans and pets. Additionally, if you own a gas-fired dryer, you need to install a carbon monoxide detector in your laundry room and ensure that your dryer lines are inspected and cleaned every year.

All dryer vents are subject to very specific building codes that can adversely affect a home inspection when you’re ready to sell. Venting a dryer into a garage or other enclosed space will more than likely show up on an inspection report as an item required for repair before a home can be sold. Here are some tips for a properly installed dryer vent:

  • Dryer vents should be constructed of rigid metal duct, no less than .016” thick, that is free of kinks and obstructions and tightly connected with sealed joints and no leaks.
  • Dryer vents should be as straight as possible and not exceed 35 feet in length. If you need to route your vent around obstacles, you need to reduce the total length by 5 feet for every 90-degree turn and 2.5 feet for every 45-degree turn.
  • Vertical runs and awkward turns should have appropriate cleanouts installed so that lint buildup can be removed and the vent can be serviced.
  • Dryer vents should ALWAYS be vented to the outdoors a minimum of 12” off the ground and equipped with a backdraft arrestor.

Dryer Vent Maintenance Tips 01:31

Keep your dryer running efficiently with these vent cleaning instructions.

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