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Exhaust Systems

No laundry room would be complete without an exhaust system. An exhaust system is necessary to allow the heated gases from the dryer to vent to a safe location. In most cases the dryer vents outdoors. An effective system moves the hot gases and steam that are released during the drying process out of the house instead of allowing them to linger in the home where they could be dangerous.

Features of a Laundry Exhaust System

The features of a laundry exhaust system include wall caps, ductwork, and duct tape to seal the joints. These components are combined to form the structure of the exhaust system.

1. Wall Caps

Dampered wall caps and louvered wall caps are the two most popular wall caps used in laundry exhaust systems. These wall caps are desirable because they prevent backdrafts from entering the home and also help to prevent animals from nesting in the exhaust system. The warmth and protection that exhaust systems can provide is very appealing to wildlife which is why special care needs to be taken to prevent animals from nesting. The positioning of wall caps is also important. They should be located twelve inches above the ground to avoid obstructions. Wall caps should also require only minimal maintenance to prevent clogging with lint. Lint can be a fire hazard so this requirement is critical from a safety standpoint. Wall caps also should not terminate indoors because this would allow lint to accumulate in a confined space.

2. Ductwork

The recommended ductwork for laundry room exhaust systems is rigid metal ducting with a four-inch diameter. If rigid ducting cannot be used, flexible ducting can be used but special precautions should be taken to avoid future problems or safety hazards.

3. Duct Tape

The preferred method for sealing two pieces of ductwork is through the use of overlapping duct tape. This creates a seal that not only holds the ductwork together but is also air and water tight. The use of screws to hold the ductwork together should be avoided in a laundry exhaust system. These may effectively hold the ductwork together but they will not provide a seal that is air and moisture tight. Additionally, the screws protruding into the ductwork will serve as a collection point for lint which poses a fire hazard.