Flex Ducts on Dryers, Convenient but Bad

By
Home Inspector with King of the House Home Inspection, Inc
We home inspectors see accordion style flimsy flex duct over and over again on dryers and air-handling equipment. I would say that it is present in 90% of homes that I inspect. In newer homes it is often a short length behind a dryer. It does not go through the wall but connects to smooth metal ducting that takes the exhaust through the crawl space. However, in older homes, and some that are not so old, I have seen the flex duct leave the back of the dryer and run through the wall and about 20 feet to the outside. That is a real no, no. Often it is broken and the crawl space is full of lint. Duct tape and flex duct seem to go together. This flex duct, being easy for the homeowner to twist and bend, has found its way into use in air handling or exhaust ducts, such as bath fans. Once I saw a homeowner use it for an honest to goodness heat duct from the furnace.

Fact is, doubly so for dryers, flex duct is not a desirable product. It is pretty obvious that the ridges will collect lint and look at the sag in the duct below. This collected lint is probably more prone to causing damage to the dryer, as it overheats, than causing a fire -- but that could happen as well.  Personally, if it is a short length, used as a connector, I tell people the facts. If it is a twisted concoction like the one below, that is coming apart and all taped together, I suggest an immediate upgrade to smooth metal ducting.

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspections

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flex duct
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Comments 6 New Comment

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Rainmaker
712,793
Barbara S. Duncan
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR
RE/MAX Advantage

A home inspector once told my buyer that the ducts in the attic were the flex type and he, the home inspector, didn't like that type ducts. My buyer backed out and that was my first time to call a home inspector a "deal killer".  He went off and found himself a newer home which I couldn't blame him for but that inspector still has the name!  lol

August 04, 2008 12:47 PM
Rainmaker
90,679
Pamela STETSON
Abbott & Caserta Realtors

Thanks for the info --- it is great to see and an easy fix! Always better to be safe than sorry.

 

August 04, 2008 01:41 PM
Rainmaker
1,177,579
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham WA Home Inspector
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc

Barbara,

Looks like you are the realtor my mama warned me about.

August 04, 2008 04:27 PM
Rainer
406,157
Sean Allen
International Financing Solutions
International Financing Solutions

Unfortunately I'm not surprised that this stuff is still used in many homes. I was not aware of the danges until I got on AR and learned it from your guys.

Sean allen

August 04, 2008 06:51 PM
Ambassador
1,451,677
Michael Thornton
Home Inspector - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.0297
Complete Home Inspections, Inc.

I like the duct tape job on the venting as well...

August 05, 2008 05:15 AM
Anonymous #6
Anonymous
Gary Collins

As the owner of Dryer Vent Wizard in the Cleveland, OH area I can tell you it is a bad idea to use the flex duct type material. I have changed quite a few that had burn holes in them or were even melted to the back of the dryer. The metal foil type may not melt to the back of the dryer when pushed up against it but it will still crush and severely restrict the airflow. As you say this causes the dryer to run less effieciently and causes it to work harder shortening the life of it's components. Good article and I hope consumers pay attention.

August 08, 2008 04:19 PM
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Rainmaker
1,177,579

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspector
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