How can something so ordinary be so complicated? This is the case for a dryer vent as people use quite a variety of materials, but not all of them are safe. If you are installing a new dryer vent or are having problems with your current vent, what is the best material to use? The quick answer to this question is rigid metal pipe with flexible connectors, but let’s look more into the reason why.
First and foremost, you need to understand that dryer vents are responsible for more than a fair share of home fires. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has released reports citing thousands of fires in homes every year that are directly related to dryer vents. These fires are caused by vents that are improperly maintained, dirty, and constructed of the wrong materials.
We have seen dryer vents constructed using plastic pipe, which is extremely dangerous. The heat levels reached in the dryer vent could ignite the plastic and cause a fire. The reason rigid metal piping is recommended is because it allows maximum airflow and will not ignite. Some installers will use flexible aluminum, but this can become kinked in areas, allowing a blockage to occur and create its own fire hazard in the vent if there is a spark.
Unfortunately, some stores will actually have this flexible aluminum available as a safe venting alternative. However, this type of vent duct is meant to be used for heating ducts, general venting, and bathroom vent fans. All of these produce far less heat than your dryer.
If there is one area of home repair you should not try to save a few bucks, it is your dryer vent. Using the improper vent material is inviting a fire into your home. Save a few bucks now, and lose your house later, you decide.