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Should You Vent the Basement Washing Machine and Dryer?

The basement provides ample room to install your washing machine and dryer. However, these fixtures need venting to prevent basement humidity and heat issues.

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While most people move their laundry rooms closer to the bedrooms, the majority of homeowners in Indianapolis, IN, still prefer to have their washers and dryers in the basement area. If you are one of them, we highly recommend you make special arrangements for these appliances to be vented. 

Failure to vent washers and dryers can lead to problems such as accidental fires, mold, condensation, and basement flooding. Both appliances generate tremendous heat and humidity and can wreak havoc in your home. 

What happens when the washer is not vented? 

Every plumbing fixture in your home needs proper ventilation to the outside. Failure to vent your washer means you will have to deal with a surge in indoor humidity. A poorly vented washer releases a tremendous amount of warm, moist air directly into your home. This creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew growth as well as potentially doing a lot of structural damage to your home. 

This moist air also carries with it a lot of fine lint particles, which are flammable in high concentrations. A washer that is not vented also tends to be slow and noisy. To avoid these problems, consider installing basement vents. 

Venting the washing machine 

If your basement has unfinished concrete walls, start by installing a standpipe. Connect the standpipe to the P-trap, which captures dangerous fumes and directs them to the outside. The upper section of the basement vent must rise at least five feet above the run-off level of the washing machine. Properly venting a washer allows the P-trap to do its job, which is to stop drain gases from entering your home. 

Venting the basement dryer 

The basement dryer vent system moves hot vapor from your laundry and the lint that comes with it outdoors. Venting your dryer helps it operate effectively, all the while substantially reducing the risk of water or fire damage in the basement. 

The best way to vent your dryer is by directing the heat and moisture up and out. This way, the temperatures won’t rise by a noticeable degree. If your laundry room temperatures rise dramatically when using your vented dryer, you should be worried. The risk of a basement fire is just as high as the risk of mold and mildew growth from elevated moisture levels. Switch off the basement dryer if it suddenly becomes hot and clammy then determine the cause. 

There is a flexible hose that is attached to your dryer’s back with the other end connected to the outside vent. If the hose is loosely connected, hot, humid air from the dryer will leak into your basement and not go outside. Check to see if this hose is correctly attached to the back of the dryer. 

Use duct tape to hold it tightly in place whenever it slips or gets loose. 

Basement vent clogs and leaks 

If you already have vents installed and you are still experiencing a high basement humidity problem, check the vents for any clogs or leaks. Inspect the vent path, too, as it might have a clog that obstructs air flow. Next, check whether the vent path is tightly sealed throughout its length to prevent moisture from leaking to the inside. Also, make sure the inside of the duct isn’t cracked or burst open. 

For help with high indoor humidity, contact the experts at Indiana Foundation Service for a free basement inspection and repair quote. We have the skills and equipment to help you protect your basement and the rest of your home from moisture.