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Thread: Need Advice- Dryer Vent/Drywall Issue

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    DIY Junior Member jenny8484's Avatar
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    Default Need Advice- Dryer Vent/Drywall Issue

    Hi, I am hoping someone has some advice for me. We are remodeling our basement, and our washer and dryer are down there. The old owners of the house previously had the dryer vent into a crawl space underneath the house. We got a new washer and dryer and converted to a gas dryer (since we had a gas line) but the nearest outside wall is 20 feet away (since most of what is behind the wall is an extension with crawlspace underneath). We used rigid galvanized pipe and ran it along the wall, and as a result I probably have 2 elbows and maybe 15 feet of horizontal duct work currently behind 2x4s (we have not drywalled yet). The last 4 feet or so are exposed where it vents out (we are leaving a section of the basement unfinished). I purchased a dryer booster fan as well was a lint trap since the duct is very long. I noticed with the new gas dryer that the pipe gets a lot hotter than when we had our old electric dryer. Now my concern is putting drywall over the wall where a lot of the duct runs. Is this a bad idea? Not sure what else I can do, my options are limited since we can't move the washer across the room (consulted a plumber and he said its not possible being that the washer is near the waste line).

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    It is ok for dryer duct to be enclosed. The rigid galvanized is the correct material. Code will also specify NO screws in the joints, since they catch lint.
    The duct booster is an excellent idea.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The "duct booster" IS going to accumulate lint, so it should be accessible for cleaning. Your dryer's manual should have shown how long a vent duct could be without using a booster. As far as enclosing it is concerned, almost ALL dryer vents are enclosed inside a sheetrocked wall.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member jenny8484's Avatar
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    Thank you both, The dryer duct fan is accessible (it is put on maybe before the last 5 feet of duct line that goes straight up and outside, which is in our accessible/unfinished part of the basement). I figure I exceed the manufacturer's recommendations without the fan since I have 2 elbows which subtract 5 feet each plus another long run of horizontal duct which is about 15-20 feet. The reason why I was nervous is because my husband's coworker (who is also a volunteer fireman) told us putting such a long duct behind drywall was a fire hazard, and I was just nervous because the gas dryer has made the pipe even hotter. I don't think we will even insulate that wall just in case... The other alternative would be running it basically the same length, but up into the crawlspace (where our previous dryer vented out into) with a long length of vent pipe through the crawlspace and outside a foundation wall. Well, I appreciate the advice!

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Your dryer will work a LOT better with the booster. Your fireman is probably cautious about dryer fires, because they do happen. On submarines for 22+ years, fire was always a major concern. The only fires I ever did experience were in the clothes dryer exhaust duct, due to lint buildup!! Keep the lint cleaned out and you minimize the risk.

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    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenny8484 View Post
    Thank you both, The dryer duct fan is accessible (it is put on maybe before the last 5 feet of duct line that goes straight up and outside, which is in our accessible/unfinished part of the basement). I figure I exceed the manufacturer's recommendations without the fan since I have 2 elbows which subtract 5 feet each plus another long run of horizontal duct which is about 15-20 feet. The reason why I was nervous is because my husband's coworker (who is also a volunteer fireman) told us putting such a long duct behind drywall was a fire hazard, and I was just nervous because the gas dryer has made the pipe even hotter. I don't think we will even insulate that wall just in case... The other alternative would be running it basically the same length, but up into the crawlspace (where our previous dryer vented out into) with a long length of vent pipe through the crawlspace and outside a foundation wall. Well, I appreciate the advice!
    Your fireman friend doesn't know that drywall is used for fire-separation in homes?

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    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    Following up on the OP's question -

    what is the best way to secure the joints in the dryer vent pipe?
    No screws, as Jimbo says.

    "Duct tape", of course, is not really used on ducts and would be a poor choice for this application since it will fail eventually, allowing the joints to separate, which could lead to lint being blown into the wall space.

    Is there a better, more permanent, type of tape to use?

    I would be concerned that you would really want to have those joints very well secured, and the pipe itself tightly secured to the studs, so that when you run a cleaning brush through the pipe, you won't dislodge the joints. Dryer fires are one of the biggest causes of household fires, and you want to make it safe and easy to clean out the vent pipe.

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    DIY Senior Member chefwong's Avatar
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    There is good *duct tape*. It's more like a PE blend if I recall.

    I normally lap 2X with Duct Mastic and then wrap it with the foil mastic tape

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    RE the gas dryer exhaust being hotter than with an electric...yes it is if it is working properly! On max, a typical gas dryer produces in the order of 45K BTU while an electric one produces the equivalent of around 20KBTU after you convert watts to BTU.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    IF the duct is properly secured, there is NO WAY it could "separate" with or without duct tape. But a metallic tape would be better if you were really concerned about it. "Fire rated" drywall is used for "separation" in buildings, but standard sheetrock has a limited fire protection. And "dryer duct" fire is going to be INSIDE the pipe, not outside.
    Last edited by hj; 05-22-2012 at 07:13 AM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member jenny8484's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your responses. I was worrying myself over this, so I am glad to have some advice/reassurance.

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    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    IF the duct is properly secured, there is NO WAY it could "separate" with or without duct tape. But a metallic tape would be better if you were really concerned about it. "Fire rated" drywall is used for "separation" in buildings, but standard sheetrock has a limited fire protection. And "dryer duct" fire is going to be INSIDE the pipe, not outside.
    Can you explain to us the difference between Type X and "standard" drywall please?

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlarrivee View Post
    Can you explain to us the difference between Type X and "standard" drywall please?
    USA and Canada

    Drywall panels are manufactured in 48-inch (120 cm) and 54-inch (140 cm) wide panels in varying lengths to suit the application. Common panel thicknesses are 1/2" (12.7 mm) and 5/8" (16 mm), with panels also available in 1/4" (6 mm) and 3/8" (10 mm). Both 1/2" (12.7 mm) and 5/8" (16 mm) panels of TYPE 'X' (a gypsum board with special core additives to increase the natural fire resistance of regular gypsum board[14]) are used where a fire-resistance rating is desired. Regular 5/8" (16 mm) panels are used (with or without light gauge resilient metal channels) where additional mass is needed for the reduction of sound transmission.[citation needed]
    Drywall provides a thermal resistance R-value (in US units) of 0.32 for 3/8" board, 0.45 for 1/2", 0.56 for 5/8", and 0.83 for 1" board. In addition to increased R-value, thicker drywall has a higher sound transmission class.[citation needed]

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    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    Pretty vague advice from the pair of you.

    http://www.awci.org/cd/pdfs/8309_f.pdf

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    Your appliance and your appliance repairman are going to THANK YOU for your incite on your dryer vent.Rigid vent with and assessable booster GREAT. Use the silver tape on your joints and you should have no problems. Make it secure enough so you can clean the vent at least once a year with a vent cleaning brush. Sheetrock is used as a fire break and while the vent seems hotter I find it hard to believe it would get to combustion temps of wood. The dryer high temp on the safety stat is usually less than 200 degrees.
    Politicians are like diapers. You need to change them often……for the same reason.

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