Need air inlet in laundry room?

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by SteveW, Mar 26, 2005.

  1. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Here's a question for the group: Is it necessary to have some sort of air inlet for a laundry room, to let air in for an electric dryer?

    I have a small laundry room on the main floor of my house. I notice that when the dryer is running, and I leave the door ajar, the door is pulled into the room by the air being drawn into the dryer. It dawned on me that a clothes dryer is basically a big air pump...

    Is it OK to close the door? There is a 1-inch gap under the door, but does this compromise the efficiency of the dryer? My wife doesn't like to leave the door open, due to our dog getting into the room (and the noise).

    If we need more air flow, any creative thoughts, other than putting a grill on the door? Don't want to do that since it's right in our main hallway. Could I open up a small air vent into the ajoining closet?

    Or not worry about this?

    Thanks!
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,754
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    You will get more pulling power from the dryer is the room is vented.

    You can check to see how much it would help, by having someone open the door while holding your hand outside over the dryer exit.
    If there is a difference, you may want to cut through the drywall on put two grills in.
    Most laundry rooms have a heat duct that adds some "return air".
  3. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    My little laundry room is so small it doesn't have a HVAC duct of any type.

    I like the idea of checking air output with the door open and closed -- tried it and no obvious change in airflow at the outside exit. I think I'll go ahead and add a couple grills in the drywall anyway. I guess there's no reason why the two grills actually need to have a "duct" between them, is there? The stud cavity (interior wall) would be closed anyway, so I should be able to just cut drywall on both sides, screw in a grill on each side, and be done, right?

    Thanks!
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,802
    Location:
    New England
    I think you'll find that clothes dry faster if you don't have a restriction in the air for the dryer. WIth the cost of electricity going nowhere but up, it makes sense to make it's work easier. In a REALLY tight house, exhausting a lot of air without some coming in from outside also creates problems. When the dryer is running, the air you are blowing outside has to be made up from somewhere or you'll be sucking things like exhaust fumes from the heater into the house, or cold air through the cracks in the house. Same problem with a hood vent on the stove (assuming it doesn't just recirculate the stuff after trying to filter out the grease, etc.). They make air-to-air heat exchangers for this problem - preheats or cools the air based on the season by exchanging energy in the air stream, minimizing the energy loss and providing good fresh air to the building. I read somewhere that they are required in new construction in Canada, and probably a good idea here as well. My unprofessional opinion.
  5. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Good points, Jim. My house isn't particularly tight, but I could really see how a clothes dryer or high-efficiency fan in a range hood could cause some real problems in a tight house. I've heard before that you need air for combustion of water heaters, furnace, etc., but never thought about the effects of the various exhaust fans we have (the clothes dryer being one of them...)

    Thanks for the feedback!
  6. resq944

    resq944 New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Most Dryer manufacturers will mandate a certain amount of ventilation in a closed laundry room or closet. For instance my HE3 Dryer required either 24 sq" of ventilation area or a louvered door.
  7. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Another good point. I didn't think to check out the owner's manual...
  8. copperhead

    copperhead New Member

    Messages:
    2
    The louvered door would probably be your best option but if you go with the two grills you can add some blocking to the top and bottom of your cavity by cutting some two bys the length you need and inserting them between the sheet rock. Screw through the sheet rock on both sides to hold it in place and then run some angled screws into the existing studs. Torx screws work well, somewhat cashy but your fingers and patience will appraeciate them.
  9. copperhead

    copperhead New Member

    Messages:
    2
    I forgot to mention that this may help if by chance your grills develop the squeaks and rattles that gives you the sense of a trailer park!
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