Waco Home Inspection Part One

Dryers Venting to Roofs

While performing inspections in the Waco area, I have developed a pet peeve. Sorry, folks, but I have a real problem with venting dryer exhausts to the roof! Some of you may have never heard of such a thing, and frankly, I wish the option didn't exist, but it does. According to the TREC Standards of Practice, dryer vents must exhaust to the exterior. When it exhausts to the roof, that is the exterior, so what's the problem?

There are plenty of problems, in my opinion. According to current requirements, a dryer exhaust vent can be 25 feet long; this gets reduced to 20 feet with a ninety degree turn, as in the case of venting to a roof. This comes to the problem as I see it. First of all, the vent cap should be cleaned about once monthly. Should a homeowner be expected to clean the vent cap or termination on a roof, when approximately 25% of homeowner injuries involve falls? Problem number one. The next problem has to do with the vent caps themselves.

There are roof vent caps that are specifically designed for dryer exhausts . Unfortunately, out of several encounters during inspections with dryers vented to roofs, I have seen a proper termination cap only one time! This leads me to believe that using the correct hardware is not a widespread practice, at least not in the Waco area. Problem number two. Finally, we should consider the very nature of a dryer exhausting straight up. There is a lot of gravity involved. Of course, lint can, and does travel that distance (I know, because one house I inspected had a clogged screen on one of those improper vent caps) but it takes little imagination to realize that a lot of the lint will not overcome the gravity and will begin to build up in the bottom half of the exhaust line. Again, how many homeowners will want to pull out their dryer, remove the exhaust and clean it out on a regular basis? Problem number three. Of course, home design goes a long way in preventing such problems, and the new vent-less dryers render the point into obscurity. Meanwhile, I approach this type of exhaust vent during home inspections with fear and loathing!

Thank you for letting me "vent!"

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