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Thinking of Doing Laundry in The Basement? Read This First!

The secret to creating a functional and safe basement laundry is installing a dryer vent and venting the washing machine properly.

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Indoor humidity is always a huge problem in basements. If you are thinking of creating a laundry room in this area of your home, you have to factor in ventilation. Your laundry is going to produce a lot of moisture and heat. Both can cause problems and contribute to mold and musty odors. Washer failure is a major cause of flooding and basement floods while dryer mishaps are behind fires. 

With this hindsight, you wouldn’t dare to install a dryer or washer and run them without proper ventilation. Do that, and you run the risk of starting a fire or damaging your appliance. Connecting your dryer to the outside venting system improves its efficiency and it prevents carbon monoxide buildup in your basement. 

laundry area in basement

How to install a basement dryer vent 

Chances are you’d like to install a dryer vent but might not know how to go about it. Here are the essential steps. 

  • Find the shortest or express route your duct will take from the dryer to the outside. While a straight path is always better it may not always be possible. 
  • Punch a 4¼-inch hole on the exterior concrete wall. The other option is to vent the dryer right through the windows. To do this, you’ll have to use a windowpane. 
  • Secure the vent cap to the side of your house. Make sure the pipe fits the hole or opening on the wall. Use a screw to secure the duct cap and then caulk its edges. 
  • Finally, cut and then join the duct tubing and attach it with the outside exhaust. Be sure to reinforce the joints with foil tape if you’re connecting many sections. 

Venting your washing machine 

The process of installing the washing machine vent is pretty similar to that of your dryer. The vent goes outside and won’t be moving steaming air. There are two ways to vent the machine. You can vent it through the window or install a standard vent that rises to the attic. When installing the vent, ensure it has a P-trap. This component captures toxic fumes and prevents overflows. Make sure the upper part goes above the machine’s overflow level. Talk to your plumber if you have incomplete concrete walls or need help with standpipe installation. 

Blocked Vents 

If your clothes still feel damp after running the dryer and there’s a burnt odor when drying the load, chances are the dryer vent is clogged. This happens from time to time. Lint can build up and clog ducts and vent pipes, obstructing airflow and increasing the time clothes take to dry. Sometimes the dry can shut down after a short cycle or outside air can get into the basement. Restricted airflows mean loads dry slowly, and this increases the costs of electricity used. 

You can avoid problems by hooking the dryer to a vent using an aluminum pipe that goes around bends. Short pipes work best. Avoid bends or turns as these can trap lint. Use a pipe with the right width and prop the duct after every 12 or so feet. Make sure you clean the outside of your screen as well. 

Clean and monitor vents 

The dryer ejects hot, steaming air so wet clothes can dry. Sometimes, lint clogs the vent. If this happens, the hot air won’t be able to remove moisture as intended. Moisture will buildup on the inside and it’s going to require a lot of heat to evaporate. Always clean the dryer vents. Cleaning helps improve energy efficiency and safety. 

Monitor the dryer vents in the basement as well. One device that comes in handy for this purpose is the LintAlert. It monitors and detects fluctuations in air pressure. Whenever there is an obstruction, the device beeps and flashes red to alert you. 

Remember to inspect the ducts for leakage. Left unchecked, they can interfere with the indoor environment. If you are busy, register for annual basement maintenance and repairs. For help with issues like high indoor humidity, get in touch with the experts at JES Foundation Repairs for a free basement inspection and repair quote. We can help you create a dry, comfortable basement that’s also free from odors.