By Trish Holder
I wash, dry, and fold approximately 10 loads of laundry per week. It is a constant logistical challenge to allocate enough time for these sequential chores.
Imagine what would happen if it took twice as long to dry the clothes. I’d be frantically drying my kids’ soccer uniforms with a hair dryer, while they paced about in that “My world is ending and it’s all your fault!” sort of way that teenagers are famous for. What parent needs more of that?
There are several reasons why a dryer might not be drying. Sometimes it’s an easy fix, and sometimes it’s not. The problem may be as simple as a torn or disconnected vent pipe. Or, it may be that your washer and dryer are located in an area of your home where the exhaust must travel several feet and around numerous corners just to exit the house. If this is the case, installing a Dryer Exhaust Duct Power Ventilator (DEDPV) may be the only solution short of relocating your dryer or your family to a new home.
Exhausting the Confusion
DEDPVs are fans that boost the exhaust performance of your dryer – giving them the extra “umph” they need to rid them of lint and moisture. DEDPVs can be a lifesaver in cases where the exhaust route impairs efficient drying.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion over the application of these products. Some contractors and even building inspectors are under the impression that this type of fan application does not meet residential building codes. Such would only be the case if a particular jurisdiction specifically chose to amend the code.
Nevertheless, confusion does exist, and here’s why. Several years ago, a chain of events within the building industry led to an investigation into the fire safety of clothes dryers by the Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Fans used to “boost” dryer exhaust were never implicated as a cause of dryer fires, but the investigation did lead to the discovery that UL did not have suitable testing procedures for fans used in this application. Subsequently UL developed specific testing procedures for these fans – henceforth to be called Dryer Exhaust Duct Power Ventilators (DEDPVs). When the International Residential Code (IRC) releases its 2015 building code, it will include provisions for the specific use of DEDPVs.
Sound Complicated? Let’s Cut To The Chase.
So what’s the take home on all this?
First, if you are suffering from ridiculously long dry times and/or damp clothes due to an overly long or bendy exhaust line, a properly applied DEDPV might just change your life for the better. A dryer booster fan without the DEDPV fan designation can also be used (for now) but does not carry a UL approval.
Second, just because your building inspector or contractor says that dryer booster fans will not meet code doesn’t make it so. Provide them with this whitepaper, which explains the evolution of the DEDPV, associated standards and codes, and proper installation procedures.
Third, if you are building a home, carefully weigh the convenience of a centrally located laundry room against the possible disadvantages of an overly long exhaust duct. Make sure the length does not exceed what is designated by the code; there is a rule on that! If exhaust length does exceed code limits, know that it is acceptable (unless otherwise designated by the local building code) to use a booster fan or DEDPV.
Finally, understand that not every dryer booster fan is a UL approved DEDPV fan. To date, only one manufacturer (Fantech) actually makes such a product.
Download White Paper: A New Day -- and a New Name -- for Dryer Booster Fans