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  1. #1
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    Red face Dryer Vent Systems

    This is my first post.

    I work for a company that clean, modify, repair, and install dryer vents. I live in Indiana and what really bothers me is that customers complain to me saying "Why didn't the inspector report this to me or write it up in the report?" My reply "Good Question".

    You see there are numerous installations that I had to preform under the current 2009 IMC and IRC and not to mention Indiana State codes as well of dryer vent systems that the material is inadequate to say the least. i.e. (vinyl, foil aluminum, and PVC). Of course these materials had to be replaced with metal 4" aluminum pipe because this is the material we use.

    My question is why don't inspectors write these defeciencies in their report or is it because they choose to ignore the situation, or choose not to be involved in a lawsuit if they report that the vent system is inadequate? Any help?

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    Last edited by Chris Roth; 07-02-2010 at 08:34 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Roth View Post
    material is inadequate to say the least. i.e. (vinyl, foil aluminum, and PVC). Of course these materials had to be replaced with metal 4" aluminum pipe.
    You say they "had" to be replaced with aluminum? What happened to the 4" galvanized dryer ducts?

    I suspect you meant to say that they should be replaced with RIGID metal ducts.

    See what just happened? You made a mistake, just like those HIs do who do not report dryer ducts made of:
    vinyl, foil aluminum, and PVC
    I would HOPE that all HIs report dryer ducts made from those items.

    The code specifies:
    - M1502.5 Duct construction. Exhaust ducts shall be constructed of minimum 0.016-inch-thick (0.4 mm) rigid metal ducts, having smooth interior surfaces with joints running in the direction of air flow. Exhaust ducts shall not be connected with sheet-metal screws or fastening means which extend into the duct.

    Note that 0.016 galvanized IS NOT 30 gage as 30 gage is only 0.0157, thus the minimum gage would be 29 gage, which is 0.0172 and meets the minimum 0.016 minimum thickness.

    Also note that it does not specify galvanized, only thickness and rigid metal, which means that you could use aluminum if the thickness met 0.016, and for aluminum that equates to 26 gage (0.017), or, one could use stainless steel, which is actually 0.016 for 28 gage.


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    Talking Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Hey Peck;

    I guess you missed it. I know what the code is and whatnot. You didn't read the post to well did you!? I asked a simple question which only gives a simple answer. Galvanized? Only an idiot would use that material in construction for DRYER VENT SYSTEMS. Dont like them because They rust to much, and it does not disapate the heat very well in which you build up a ton of moisture because of lint buildup. However it is still suitable to use because of the material involved. I only replace sections of that pipe when it is just plain shot! Which means that when I inspect them I have to remove the screws and DUCT VINYL TAPE and retape the joints with heavy guage aluminum tape made by NASHUA. So answer the question and quit playing with words WHY DO INSPECTORS IGNORE THIS PROBLEM??


  4. #4

    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    You're grouping all inspectors in the same boat. There are good inspectors, mediocre inspectors, and crappy inspectors, just like in any profession.

    I see improper installations all of the time, and they get written up. So to answer your question, you'd have to ask each inspector who screwed up and didn't report it.


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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Roth View Post
    WHY DO INSPECTORS IGNORE THIS PROBLEM??
    Have you ever been called to a job where I missed one? How about somebody else on the forum?

    It seems you're painting with a pretty broad brush. I'll concede dryer vents fall under more scrutiny today then they did 10 years ago so there is a bit of a learning curve. But, your implication that all Home Inspectors neglect or "miss" this is grossly inaccurate.


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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    I think the better question would be why were they installed that way in the first place? I've done many inspections of units which were installed by "professional" in just the way the original poster was complaining about.

    But, to answer your question Mr Roth. Most people who have an inspection never read their inspection report. The dryer vent is a very small issue when compared to other items on the report. So the inspectors probably did mention it during the inspection and in writing on the report but the home owner most likely did not remember the inspector mentioning it as they were too concerned about the faulty furnace the inspector just told them about. Another likely scenario in today's market of vacant and foreclosed homes is there was no dryer installed when the inspection took place. The RE agent may have installed it to appease the buyers, the husband may have installed it and was too embarrassed to admit it.

    So unless you personally read the inspection report and saw the vent when the buyers took possession of the home you really have no axe to grind.

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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    I always mention the RE agent I know who lit-off the dryer / exhaust system at a pre-closing inspection.

    That seems to get client's attention - at least for the moment.

    Chris,

    I probably write up some aspect of dryer venting at around half of my inspections.

    I doubt 5% of them get fixed.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 07-03-2010 at 04:05 AM.
    Michael Thomas
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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Plus, there's all that "creative" stuff homeowners do once they move in, I often cite this discussion as an example:

    Clothes Dryer Venting

    Michael Thomas
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  9. #9
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    Smile Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Welcome to the forum, ROTH. You know, it is impolite and inflammatory to address someone only using their last name or shouting IN ALL CAPS. You should have addressed him as "Jerry" or "Mr. Peck". Now, welcome Chris.

    You came in here guns blazing as though home inspectors were the ones who installed these dryer vents---they did not. The local municipality had the option to require an inspection of them but declined so it's not that important to them before issuing a Cert. of Use and Occupancy. The mortgage companies generally do not require it as they do for termites and radon so I guess it really isn't that huge of a problem to them. I do know many insurance companies now require and some even provide metal braided washer hoses for new owners because of the high incidence rates and losses from water damage. You see, even though there are about 16,000 'reported' dryer vent fires annually, very few make headlines burning down houses so it just isn't the big scare. Now, I do believe these vents are problematic for several reasons including fire. Clogged vents result in longer or multiple drying cycles, which requires more energy, for ex.

    It would appear you are not familiar with the level of inspection typically required/ expected from home inspections. You ought to read up on the various Standards by the major home inspection associations.

    As for aluminum dryer venting, I rip it out all the time. I find it a markedly inferior product to 26 ga. galvanized steel. A few of my reasons are: it is flimsy to the point you cannot often tape joints without it deforming; the seams often blow apart, the adjustable elbows often blow apart if the machine is moved slightly or if the vent is cleaned; the pipe crushes easily if the machine is shoved back against the wall, and the material is more expensive. You point about heat dissapation is unfounded. A baby could hold their hand on a dryer vent during operation and there is no stated clearance to combustibles for residential venting.

    Chris, I know Nashua makes a lot of various tapes. Could you tell us exactly which model you recommend and use? TIA.

    As for your allegations that all home inspectors fail to call out improper dryer vents, first I would ask how many home inspection reports you actually read where you found 'defects'? I know in my area, they are mentioned frequently. Maybe its just that we have a lot of good H.I.'s here in my region, several of whom post on this forum regularly.

    If you think this is a major problem, which apparently you feel very strongly about I have a few suggestions to channel your energy in a more positive way:
    Contact your municipalities about the issue and see if the AHJ would consider requiring dryer vent inspections for real estate sales.
    Contact your local Home Inspection Associations to see if you can be put on the program for their monthly dinner/ training or their annual training gig.
    Make up a flyer and send it out to all Realtors noting the problem and suggesting you be contacted about remediation.

    There, I've given you some business building ideas as well as ways to become proactive and not reactive as you have been here.

    In the future, I suggest you enter a forum a little more softly. You have been somewhat antagonistic and a bit arrogant, which generally starts a flame war, which solves nothing. These men and women are intelligent. They try to do the best job they can. However, their standards,litigation potential, costs,and time prevent them from performing a detailed inspection on every aspect of a home. That's why they are *generalists*. I perform detailed Level II inspections of chimneys, vents, and combustion appliances including dryers and yes, I call them out in detail. More detail than you've discussed here. More detail than a home inspector would be expected or required to do. I've also serviced and replaced many, many dryer vents so I know first hand what I'm talking about. If you take the time to research the archives on this site, you'll see how often we've discussed dryer venting here and gone over it in detail so this is not brand new to these people. Stick around, be civil and I'll bet you pick up a thing or two.

    We welcome you here but please tone it down a bit and try not to be so accusatory.
    Thx,

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Roth View Post
    My question is why don't inspectors write these defeciencies in their report or is it because they choose to ignore the situation, or choose not to be involved in a lawsuit if they report that the vent system is inadequate? Any help?
    By the same token Chris, we could also made a broad statement about dryer vent installers. Don't these people know what they're doing? Are they just ignorant of the facts and can't read basic directions? Don't they understand the hazardous situations they create with their ignorance? Just what is the mental malfuntion of dryer vent installers?

    There are good and bad in all professions.

    You can say just about anything Chris. You just have to find the right way to say it.


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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Roth View Post
    Hey Peck;

    Galvanized? Only an idiot would use that material in construction for DRYER VENT SYSTEMS. Dont like them because They rust to much, and it does not disapate the heat very well in which you build up a ton of moisture because of lint buildup.
    Hey Roth,

    Only an idiot would use galvanized? You say only aluminum is the metal to use?

    Ever seen a dryer fire and see what happens to your preferred aluminum duct? IT MELTS DOWN INTO NOTHING.

    GALVANIZED does not do that.

    Jeez.

    Which means that when I inspect them I have to remove the screws and DUCT VINYL TAPE and retape the joints with heavy guage aluminum tape made by NASHUA. So answer the question and quit playing with words WHY DO INSPECTORS IGNORE THIS PROBLEM??
    It seems that YOU are the one with the READING PROBLEM:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck
    I would HOPE that all HIs report dryer ducts made from those items.
    *ALL* home inspectors that I know DO REPORT those items, and, if you were to read past posts here, you would know that most, if not all, the HIs here report those problems.

    However, instead of READING what is posted, you keep trying to make yourself some high-and-mighty know-it-all who-is-the-only-one who writes things up.

    Before you continue to mouth off you should go back and read the archives and past posts on this subject.

    Jeez.

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Borrowing this thread for a moment:

    What is the correct term for this short length of rigid duct?

    Thanks.

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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Borrowing this thread for a moment:

    What is the correct term for this short length of rigid duct?

    Thanks.
    Michael,

    That is part of the dryer exhaust cap, however, like the damper in the dryer exhaust cap (although the "damper" is named for it function, which is the same as all other "dampers" for other uses), I am sure the other parts also have names, so you have now piqued my curiosity too.

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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    A quick search on Google and I should call the dryer vent cap a dryer vent hood, with the "hood" being the outer cap part in which the damper is mounted, and attached to that is a section of "duct", which leaves the backing plate which I guess would be called the "backing plate" as that is what it does, like the "damper" does what dampers do.

    In some dryer vent HOODS there are LOUVERS instead of a damper, but their purpose is the same, so the 'louvers' combined together would be 'the damper'.

    The above is from a quick, but not necessarily totally accurate, search on Google combined with other known component names serving similar uses.

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    Cool terminology?

    You could refer to it as a "horizontal dryer vent termination with integral backdraft damper" if you wanted to get fancy. I've also heard it referred to as a "wall jack", "eye brow", and "dryer vent nozzle" but I prefer the first one when writing reports but call it the 'eyebrow' verbally. Everyone seems to get what I'm referring to just as I refer to the 'fart fan eye brow' for the powder room. They are also called 'dryer vent hoods'.

    I also refer to it as a piece of crap because they are so flimsy and often snap off or get torn apart by birds nesting inside.

    JP-good point on the durability of aluminum under fire loads--it can burn right through.

    If his galvy dryer vents are rusting out, he obviously has other issues such as high indoor Rh% or a caustic environment.

    To Chris Roth--HIs can report problems but they have no power to force anyone to change it.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    I was looking for the term which describes the short length horizontal pipe which passes through the wall, specifically to describe the where it is too short and the dryer exhaust is discharging inside the wall.

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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    I was looking for the term which describes the short length horizontal pipe which passes through the wall, specifically to describe the where it is too short and the dryer exhaust is discharging inside the wall.
    See bold highlighting in the quote below.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    A quick search on Google and I should call the dryer vent cap a dryer vent hood, with the "hood" being the outer cap part in which the damper is mounted, and attached to that is a section of "duct", which leaves the backing plate which I guess would be called the "backing plate" as that is what it does, like the "damper" does what dampers do.

    In some dryer vent HOODS there are LOUVERS instead of a damper, but their purpose is the same, so the 'louvers' combined together would be 'the damper'.

    The above is from a quick, but not necessarily totally accurate, search on Google combined with other known component names serving similar uses.

    Thus, from what I have found, that "short length horizontal pipe which passes through the wall" is the duct part of the dryer vent hood assembly.

    Note that it is typically "aluminum" and not "galvanized" and is subject to burn through in a dryer fire as it is aluminum.

    Also note that it is aluminum and one is connecting galvanized duct to it, creating a dissimilar metal condition. If one wrapped a layer (one wrap) of the aluminum duct tape (UL 181 stuff) around the outside of the galvanized duct, the adhesive would serve as a dissimilar metals break, and the aluminum side of the duct tape would be in contact with the aluminum duct section of the dryer vent hood assembly. I wonder is that would be a suitable way to address it - Bob Harper?

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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    BTW, While research some of this stuff, I ran across this link to the full text (including table) of relevant section of 2009 IRC:

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...xiyG9vGamnwMKQ

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    Cool Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Michael, I guess the correct term for this length of duct if they make it with a male end pointing back towards the appliance would be 'illegal'. ;-)

    It's not really a thimble, which is a term used with chimneys to refer to a sleeve for penetration by a smaller diameter duct, vent or connector. You could refer to it as a "dryer vent termination's extension' I guess. Yes, they typically include an inner plate that looks like a firestop but isn't.

    Michael, I think if I found the pipe disconnected within the wall cavity because it was too short, I'd refer to it as 'incomplete dryer vent' that does not discharge to the outdoors but inside the wall cavity. I'd use similar language where they dump it into an attic or soffit.

    So, back to my quip above, how do you properly connect a flexible transition duct when the male end cannot point towards the appliance? Nobody makes one that I'm aware of.

    HTH,

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Michael,

    To help the reader of your report (actually, to help the contractor who is correcting that and has no idea what is wrong ) you could specify which portion of the dryer exhaust duct with wording to the effect of:

    The dryer vent hood assembly duct through the wall is too short to allow the dryer transition/connector duct to properly be attached to it. The dryer vent hood assembly and its duct needs to be replaced with one with a proper length duct section.

    I suspect you are referring to a typical installation where the dryer transition duct connects directly from the clothes dryer to the duct section through the wall where the dryer hood is directly behind/beside the dryer and there is no actual "duct" in the wall running to a remotely located dryer vent hood. Is that correct?

    An example is our dryer where I have a 90 degree elbow, a 6" length of galvanized duct, another 90 degree elbow (because the dryer discharge is offset from the dryer vent hood duct through the wall by 6"), making the effective length of the dryer duct 11 feet even though its actual length is 1 foot plus two elbows (those 4" radius mitered 90 degree elbows in that table in your link - the standard elbow from the past).

    Two of the 6" radius elbows would reduce the effective length by 6' 6" but would push the dryer 4" further out from the wall and into the laundry room - not a good trade off in our case.

    Now here is another point for discussion:
    - That code section, and the new table, is referring to the "duct" and not the "transition", and my "duct" is only about 6" long through the wall - what I measured above was all "transition" except for that last 6" piece through the wall.
    - Does that "transition" get measured the same way? Or is the transition not measured as the transition is allowed to be a maximum of 8 feet and is not included in the measurement of the "duct"?
    - What do you say?
    - In the past, with no dryer present, or even with a dryer present, I always just measured the duct in the wall from the wall connection to the dryer vent hood. That also is the way dryer installation instructions measure the length, as I recall from my last reading of one about a month ago.
    - Also note that the length given in the installation instructions vary according to the restriction of the dryer vent hood itself, with different styles of dryer vent hoods have longer or shorter allowable duct runs.

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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Hi Chris,

    You bring up a good point, but I bet you've come to the wrong conclusion.

    I think Home Inspectors are probably a lot more diligent about reporting issues in general, than homeowners are good about remembering the contents of the inspection report. I've done inspections where I'm sure the buyer wasn't going to take care of many issues, and in some case, my comfortable guess would be nothing would be done.

    While you focus on a small area, much more significant issues grab the buyer's attention first. I realize a defect is a defect, but when the garage door doesn't open or close, the bathroom exhaust fan doesn't work, or the AC doesn't cool...... I know which will get taken care of first.

    Perhaps, the most serious issue isn't even present when typical houses are inspected today. Many of the house we see are REOs. Most people are just happy that there isn't a lot of stuff removed from the house. There usually isn't a dryer installed, so the hose from the dryer to the wall isn't there. I bet this is where a likely defect will be lurking.


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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Burbach View Post

    There usually isn't a dryer installed, so the hose from the dryer to the wall isn't there. I bet this is where a likely defect will be lurking.


    Argh! !!!!. There better NOT BE A HOSE!

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Burbach View Post
    You bring up a good point, but I bet you've come to the wrong conclusion.
    In your case you might have just lost that bet.


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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Here's an example (wrong in several ways) of what I'm describing:

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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Now here is another point for discussion:
    - That code section, and the new table, is referring to the "duct" and not the "transition", and my "duct" is only about 6" long through the wall - what I measured above was all "transition" except for that last 6" piece through the wall.
    - Does that "transition" get measured the same way? Or is the transition not measured as the transition is allowed to be a maximum of 8 feet and is not included in the measurement of the "duct"?
    - What do you say?
    - In the past, with no dryer present, or even with a dryer present, I always just measured the duct in the wall from the wall connection to the dryer vent hood. That also is the way dryer installation instructions measure the length, as I recall from my last reading of one about a month ago.
    - Also note that the length given in the installation instructions vary according to the restriction of the dryer vent hood itself, with different styles of dryer vent hoods have longer or shorter allowable duct runs.
    My understanding, based on what I've read elsewhere, is that a listed flexible transition is not included when calculating the developed length for the IRC calculations.

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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Another one to think about:

    The manufacturer's installation instructions for dryers typically state something like:
    "Exhaust hood must be at least 12" (305 mm) from the ground or any object that may be in the path of the exhaust (such as flowers, rocks, or bushes, snow line etc.)"
    (bold/ul mine)

    Chicago's greatest recorded snow depth was 29 inches of snow on Jan. 14, 1979, so the bottom of the exhaust hood should be at least 41 inches above horizontal external surfaces to meet this requirement - higher if in a location subject to drifting snow.

    Most of the exhaust hoods I see are within 12" of grade.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 07-03-2010 at 07:23 PM.
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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    And one more someone else might run into:

    When I called out two transition ducts end-to-end, I got this push back (see attached).

    Sure looks like two transitions, but when looked up the part, it's not:

    Whirlpool Laundry 4396028

    Still, I really can't blame the builder, that diagram is potentially misleading.

    OK..... I'm finished now.

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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Here's an example (wrong in several ways) of what I'm describing:
    Yep, I've seen those too, always wrote them up as need a new dryer vent cap (which I know know is a dryer vent hood).

    Re: The height above the snow line ... what is a "snow line"? (Sorry, could not resist.)

    Okay, so where I came from, 40 miles south of Buffalo, NY, the snow would fall quite deep, and the drifts would cover one side of two story houses, so that would require roof dryer vents ... how many feet above the roof for snow depth?

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    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    When I called out two transition ducts end-to-end, I got this push back (see attached).

    Sure looks like two transitions, but when looked up the part, it's not:

    Still, the maximum length of the transition is 8 feet. If 'A' shows two 4 foot sections, that would be 8 feet, but if the sections were longer, that would not meet code. Your link states they are 4 foot long sections, hopefully that is the most they will stretch out.

    I like 'B', however, that looks like it would still be too long for our use even closed all the way up as short as possible.

    I clicked the 'back to venting' link on your link and the shortest dryer periscope they have is 18" - 29", and we only have about 6", besides, my rigid elbows and 6" long duct piece work fine, but I do like the 2-1/2" clearance of the dryer periscope compared to our 4"+ setup.

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    Near Philly, Pa.
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    Cool Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    I'm sorry but the kit shown does NOT meet the 2009 IRC section M1502.4.3 Transition Duct. "Transition ducts used to connect the dryer to the exhaust duct shall be a single length that is listed and labeled in accordance with UL 2158A....."
    The product illustrated is NOT listed and therefore not allowed by code. There are tons of products on the shelf marketed for dryer venting but very, very few carry this listing mark and therefore legal and again, they do not have a male end on the downstream end so there's no way to comply with M-1502.4.2

    Your AHJ would have to rule if that two piece kit actually makes up a 'single' duct length.

    BTW Michael, that vent termination in your photo has a male end pointing towards the appliance so even if the duct was long enough, it, too is improper. It will clog right at the joint, which they do.

    If you vent vertically, you still need to account for snow depth on the roof. :-)

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  30. #30
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    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,245

    Default Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    I'm sorry but the kit shown does NOT meet the 2009 IRC section M1502.4.3 Transition Duct. "Transition ducts used to connect the dryer to the exhaust duct shall be a single length that is listed and labeled in accordance with UL 2158A....."
    The product illustrated is NOT listed and therefore not allowed by code.

    Bob,

    Do you KNOW it is not listed (I was searching for a listing but could not find any specs on it) or are you just presuming that it is not listed because its 'single length' is designed in two pieces?

    The code wording does not preclude a two, or even a three or more, "single length" piece to be in more than one piece. If the male end faces the right direction, the joint would also fall within the code wording.

    Which means it comes down to: Is it listed or not?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Near Philly, Pa.
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    1,643

    Cool Re: Dryer Vent Systems

    Part of a listing is the display of a listing mark. For them to advertise their product without any mention of a listing in the copy or presence of an actual listing mark means it must be treated as unlisted until proven otherwise. It also means the mfr. is retarded if they indeed do hold a valid listing and fail to advertise that fact. Listings cost a LOT of money and a listing can separate you from your competition. Since having a listing often means the difference btw bringing a product to market or not, why not celebrate your listing?

    No ticky, no washy

    As for the two piece 'one length, as I said, I think this would be the call of the AHJ. If it is listed, I'm sure any AHJ would rubber stamp it. Also, such a joint can be male end downstream IF you orient it properly. Looks easy to install bass-ackwards though.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

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