Anything that has the potential to drive up basement moisture is unwelcome. However, some people in Fargo, ND, move their laundry areas to the basement. If you’re thinking of doing so, you have to make special arrangements, as the washer and dryer produce significant heat and moisture. Both can instigate moisture and unpleasant smells. And then there’s the risk of accidental fires and condensation.
When moving the laundry to the basement, you have to consider the venting. Running the washing machine and dryer without proper venting could be the start of your moisture problems. Carbon monoxide could also build up to deadly levels. Most appliances perform exceptionally well when connected to exterior venting systems. Let’s look at how you can install yours.
Basement dryer vent installation
Proper dryer vent setup is essential in creating an operational and safe laundry area. Here’s how to install yours.
Step 1: Map out the path for the ductwork in the basement. The shorter the route, the better.
Step 2: Determine and mark the dryer vent’s exit point (vent hood opening), then drill a hole that goes to the outside. Be sure to measure the distance from the pilot hole to the middle of the vent cap duct.
Step 3: Move the dryer hood into place, then insert the duct pipe right through the vent hood from the outside. Secure the hood to your home’s siding using screws. Make sure the opening faces downwards.
Step 4: Once the vent hood is in place, start connecting the exit point and your dryer. Assemble the duct pipe pieces and make sure the crimped end fits the pipe preceding it. You may need a duct elbow to connect to the vent hood.
Step 5: Secure the duct pipe connections and support any pipe that’s longer than a couple of feet than test the ducts.
- Make sure the duct pipe runs for no more than 25 feet.
- Use foil duct tape, not metal screws, to seal duct joints.
- Try to route the dryer vent in a horizontal path to your exterior wall.
Venting the washing machine
You’ll also need to install vents for the washing machine. The steps are similar to that of the dryer.
Though you won’t be moving steaming vapor, you still have to vent the washer to the outside. You can install a normal vent that extends to the attic. Alternatively, you can vent the machine through a basement window. We encourage you to install a P-trap, as it will capture toxic fumes and prevent overflow. If the laundry area has unfinished walls, ask your plumber to help with standpipe installation.
If your linen still feels damp after turning on the dryer or there’s a slight burnt odor, the dryer might have an obstruction. Lint is often the culprit. Buildup will happen over time. In some instances, the dryer may short cycle before shutting down. The problem becomes apparent in winter when airflows raise the heating costs.
We advise you to use a flexible aluminum pipe that goes around corners to hook up the dryer. Make sure the distance between duct pipes is short. Avoid turns, as they’re likely to hold lint. Support the duct pipes after every 12 feet.
Cleaning and monitoring vents
A clogged and dirty vent operates inefficiently and is likely to cause a fire. If the vent hood gets clogged, airflow will be restricted meaning the vent won’t eject steam. Moisture will start building up and force you to run the dryer for longer. Flexible ductwork and semi-rigid types are prone to this and need regular cleaning. Check the hood often and brush out any visible lint buildup.
Consider installing a dryer vent safety alarm like LintAlert. It helps monitor changes in air pressure. Whenever there’s an obstruction, the device will alert you.
Do check the ducts for leaks, as they can raise the humidity levels in the basement. For a worry-free experience, sign up for annual basement maintenance with your local contractor.
For help with issues like high indoor humidity, get in touch with the experts at Innovative Basement Authority for a free basement inspection and repair quote. We specialize in helping homeowners create dry, clean, odor-free basements.