Is It Safe To Use A Tumble Dryer Without A Vent Hose?

The answer to this question is more complex than it first appears. That’s because there are 3 different types of dryers and only one type needs a vent hose.

The simple answer is that you can use a condenser or heat pump tumble dryer without a vent, but you cannot safely use a vented tumble dryer without a vent (without a condenser conversion kit)

With that said, there is slightly more to it than that, and that’s what we’re going to explore in this article.

What Are The 3 Types Of Tumble Dryers?

The 3 types of tumble dryer are;

  1. Vented Tumble Dryer
  2. Condenser Tumble Dryer
  3. Heat Pump Tumble Dryer

They all work in a similar way, which is to force hot air through the drum which then passes through the clothes extracting moisture as it goes. The differences in these machines is how they deal with that moisture.

Vented Tumble Dryers

Vented dryers expel that moist air from the machine via the vent or pipe which takes the moist air and directs it outside the home.

Condenser Tumble Dryers

Condenser dryers use a cool plate to rapidly cool down the hot air turning the water vapour into water which is collected in an internal water tank which needs to be emptied at regular intervals.

Heat Pump Tumble Dryers

Heat pump dryers work in a similar way to condenser dryers but the hot air passes through an evaporator which removes moisture which is stored in an internal water tank like a condenser dryer. The remaining air is reheated and used again and again to complete the drying process.

Can You Use A Dryer Without A Vent Safely?

As you can see from the descriptions above, in 2 of the 3 types of tumble dryer, there is no need for a vent to be present. All that is needed is a good airflow to supply the dryers with a constant supply of fresh air. Tumble dryers designed to be used with a vent however, pose a different issue.

Vented tumble dryers should always be used with a vent hose because it helps to remove heat, moisture and lint from the machine and expel it outside.

It’s not impossible to use a vented tumble dryer without using the vent hose, but even if you left a window open, your home would still fill with condensation. As you know, condensation can cause mildew and black mould to form which can be detrimental to your health.

What Are The Problems Likely To Be Caused By Not Using The Vent?

Tumble Dryer

If you were to run your vented dryer with the vent pipe removed, you run the risk of the following;

  • Fire
    The idea of the vented pipe is to remove all of the moisture from the tumble dryer, along with most of the lint that’s removed from the clothes as they tumble together in the drum. If this lint was to accumulate too much you increase the risk of a fire breaking out, as the lint is flammable.
  • Condensation
    The wet, warm air which is expelled from your tumble dryer will hit your walls and other surfaces where it will condense into moisture. This means your house will feel damp and colder than normal.
  • Mould
    Cold, wet conditions are the perfect breeding ground for mildew and black mould to grow. The air borne spores will thrive under the cold, wet conditions.
  • Poor Health
    Black mould is linked to a number of health conditions including allergies, asthma and respiratory problems.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

If you live in the US where gas tumble dryers are common, and you were to run one of those without a vent hose, you could have an increased risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas which has been branded as the silent killer by the medical profession.

If you have a gas powered vented tumble dryer it is vitally important not to run it without the vent pipe connected to the outside. 

If you have a gas tumble dryer it is definitely not safe to use it without a vent.

What Tumble Dryer Doesn’t Need A Vent?

We now know that vented tumble dryers need to be vented. However, the other 2 types of tumble dryers don’t need to be vented. Although they still need a good airflow to work properly.

Condenser Dryers

As condenser dryers don’t need to be vented to the outside, they can be placed virtually anywhere within reason. They still need adequate ventilation to operate correctly and that means they need to be placed in an area of at least 10 foot (3 metres) squared. 

They work by blowing hot air through the drum and through the laundry which removes moisture as it passes through. That moisture is then blown onto a cool plate which condenses the moisture into water which is then stored in a water tank.

Heat Pump Dryers

Heat pump dryers use a similar system to condenser dryers to dry clothes with one significant difference. The heat pump dryer recycles the air in a closed loop circuit. The moisture condenses on a cool plate but the air is recycled and reused to dry the clothes over and over.

Heat pump dryers use less heat during operation which means they use less energy. They are also gentler on your clothes.

What About Vented Tumble Dryer Condenser Kits?

If you’ve accidentally purchased a vented tumble dryer but don’t have anywhere for the vent, you do have the option of buying a condenser kit. These are usually relatively cheap (around £10 – £20) and connect to the vent pipe.

This makes your tumble dryer function more like a condenser dryer, which could be the solution to your problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a tumble dryer without a vent?

Depending on the type of tumble dryer you own, you can use a tumble dryer without a vent. Condenser dryers and heat pump dryers are designed to work without a vent. However, vented tumble dryers should not be used without a vent as they can be dangerous in some circumstances.

Where should I put a vented tumble dryer?

You need to put your vented tumble dryer near an outside wall, window or door. To allow the vent pipe to expel moisture and lint outside of your home.

What happens if the dryer vent hose is not connected?

If the dryer vent hose is not connected, the room will become damp due to the steam expelled from the machine condensating on your walls and windows. This can lead to the formation of mildew and mould which not only look unsightly, but can also pose a risk to your health.

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