Gas Dryer Exhaust Problem
August 5, 2006 8:42 PM   Subscribe

Is there a safe *internal* exhaust system for a gas dryer?

I just moved into a new apartment, and got my gas dryer hooked up the other day. I don't, however, have an exhaust hole in the wall, so I need to get an internal exhaust.

Every single one I have researched, with the exception of one specifically state that they are for electric dryers only. If I hook one up to a gas dryer, would I create an unsafe problem?

Finally, should I just say screw-it and buy an electric dryer?

Thanks in advance to everyone.
posted by punkrockrat to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
Most gas dryers require an external vent, so that hazardous combustion products (carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, soot, etc.) won't build up in your living area. Don't run a gas dryer that requires an external vent without one. You might not die immediately, but carbon monoxide is insidious.

It's rarely economic to convert a gas dryer to electric, but it is possible. You'd probably be better off with selling your gas unit, and buying an electric. Gas units are generally desirable, as they are thought to offer better large load drying than electric units.
posted by paulsc at 9:22 PM on August 5, 2006

I'm not sure what you mean by "internal exhaust". You mean that the air from the dryer would recirculate inside your apartment instead of being exhausted to the outside?

A gas dryer is burning gas and consuming oxygen. If it's also recirculating air inside your apartment, I would think that the oxygen level could drop, possibly to dangerous levels, leading to suffocation and death. Needless to say, an electric dryer would not do the same thing.

IMHO what you want to do is not safe within a margin of safety that I would accept for myself. I think you should get an electric dryer.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:24 PM on August 5, 2006

Sweet merciful McGillicutty, you're not actually considering this, are you? It's all too easy to envision a scenario when the fresh air intakes get choked with household dust or dryer lint, starving the gas of oxygen to burn. When this happens, you get carbon monoxide instead of the relatively innocuous carbon dioxide.

Personally, you couldn't pay me enough to live in such a household. But perhaps I'm just risk-averse.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:56 PM on August 5, 2006

Uh, you generally do not want to vent gas-fired appliances into your living space. And, no a dryer is NOT like an oven WRT the amount of dangerous gases it spits out. I don't have the technical specs right here, but it's just not the same and is totally unsafe. Ditto for standard gas-fired water heaters. That stuff has to be vented outside of the buliding. They're more like furnaces than ovens, as far as the co2 generation thingie goes.

Now, a cursory search gives us the following:

which is damn good info. If your dryer is within 30 feet or so of a window, you can vent it using flexible aluminum ducty-stuff and metal duct tape available at most hardware stores. If I were installing a dryer in my own living space, I'd set up the laundry area as close to a window as possible so's I'd have a shorter vent run and therefore a better overall performance from my dryer.

posted by mountain_william at 10:08 PM on August 5, 2006

I'd get a ventless dryer. We have one and love it.
posted by yellowcandy at 10:23 PM on August 5, 2006

Do you want to die? The danger here is not small. Vent the killer gasses to the outside. If not, please contact your lawyer and get your will in order.
posted by caddis at 1:02 AM on August 6, 2006

What I can't believe is that someone would hook up your gas dryer to a gas line and not properly vent the dryer for for you. That is negligence of the highest order. When you install your external vent do not use this same person. An external vent is a good idea even if you have an electric dryer. In the summer the last thing you need is to vent all that hot air into your living space.
posted by caddis at 6:53 AM on August 6, 2006

Thanks to all for your input. I agree with all of you. But since I'm not much of a handyman myself, I needed something like the responses I got to back me up a bit.

I think I'm just going to get myself an electric dryer for the basement and put the gas on Craigslist later this week...
posted by punkrockrat at 7:48 AM on August 6, 2006

So, this apartment is plumbed for a gas dryer, but doesn't have the ductwork to vent it? Can you approach the landlord about putting in a vent? If it's wood-frame construction it can't cost much to have it done.
posted by Good Brain at 11:52 AM on August 6, 2006

Any dryer will put a lot of moisture into the air if it's not vented outside, and possibly lint too if the lint trap isn't efficient. Chronic moisture causes problems, especially in places like basements that don't usually have a lot of ventilation. Mildew, rust on any steel things like tools you've stored in the area, a pervasive dank smell - it's a real bother.

Like Good Brain, I'm puzzled that your apartment would be plumbed for a gas dryer yet not have an exhaust duct for it. Have you looked around in some crazy places? Maybe it's hidden by later construction/improvements, like inside a closet or cabinet. If there's a window nearby that can be opened, that might be your "vent" (you can jerry-rig a panel to fit in the window, with a hole for the exhaust hose - ugly but effective).

Gas dryers are more efficient, faster, and cheaper to buy and operate than electric dryers. Plus an electric dryer, vented indoors, will cause problems of its own. I'd give the gas dryer another chance!
posted by Quietgal at 3:06 PM on August 6, 2006

Really, just ask your landlord for permission to put in a vent. It will be cheaper in both the short and long term than putting in an internally vented electric dryer. Since it is an improvement to the property which will be left behind when you leave the landlord most likely will be happy to have you do this.
posted by caddis at 4:07 PM on August 6, 2006

Ok, I am sending an email to the landlords son right now to see if we can pay to get an external exhaust put in to the house.

Looking around the basement, there is an *old* exhuast that looks to empty in the chimney. However it's filled with tons of crud and the chimney was blocked off years ago.

And yes, I find it pretty puzzling that there is not an external exhaust as well. Hopefully it will work out and they will let us get one installed...

Thanks again to everyone for their comments. I'm copy and paisting a few of you in my email to the landlor's son right now :)
posted by punkrockrat at 4:27 PM on August 6, 2006

good luck
posted by caddis at 4:56 PM on August 6, 2006

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