I must confess I spent quite a bit of time stressed and worried about what to do about the dryer duct. I knew it was full of lint that was really beyond the reach of any tool I currently own. I went so far as to go to Home Depot and bought the parts I need to do it myself. The problem began when I started to investigate the exit route I had in mind. One whole wall of the basement goes to the crawl space. (shudder) The wall opposite is at the front porch, which has a flagstone floor and so raises concerns about being able to bring a pipe above grade, or ground level. In between there is the wall I wanted to use, but that one only has a small section that could be useable, the remainder having the Bilco doors that open down to the basement and it also has the garage. Opposite is a wall with the chimney and the air conditioning unit, and just in case you didn’t figure it out, it’s a Bad Idea to be releasing linty air anywhere near a mechanical device, particularly an air conditioning unit.
This usable corner has the main sewer stack and weirdly enough it juts out from the house. I can’t figure it out for certain but our upstairs bathroom has many hallmarks of a room that was added after the fact. I have a hard time believing this is really what happened because in the 1930s, when our house was built, it was common to have a full bath upstairs and no bathroom on the main floor. If you redraw the walls as I think they were originally, there is no room for a full bath. I don’t get it. But in adding the bathroom they needed to add a space for the drains to go down and the water to come up, and thus this bit of a jut-out that sticks out 2-3 feet from the house.
It was on discovering this 3′ cavity that I threw in the towel and called my HVAC guys. When they got here we discussed our options and agreed that running it in this area was the best solution, although I have to say they were completely willing to get into the crawl space. (Insert shriek here) As they were drilling the hole through my house (eeep!) I was glad I hadn’t tried to take this project on myself. There was a thin layer of aluminum siding (I knew about that), a 1″ layer of pink styrofoam-like insulation (which came as a surprise to me), and then … three 2-inch thick wood beams! Holy Cow! Even the professional had a bit of trouble getting through that.
If I had hit that much lumber on my own I know I would have had a lot of trouble and would have had to give up before finishing. By calling in the pros there is no issue with weird holes, or weird-shaped holes.
After they were gone I ran a load of laundry through the dryer and it’s astonishing how quickly the clothes dried. The HVAC man said the old duct was pretty clogged, though no surprise there, so there is certainly better airflow. I almost wish I’d seen how bad it was but maybe my stomach is happier that I didn’t. I do about 3-5 loads of laundry a week in our extra-high capacity washer/dryer set and I feel like I’m going to notice a drop in the therms of gas we use each month.
The HVAC man, John by name, even went into the crawl space to pull off the old duct work and to move the bathroom duct to the endcap of the old dryer line, so the bathroom line is fixed as well! I need to insulate around the new dryer endcap, and fill in the holes to the crawlspace. We will no longer use the hole to the outside, where the endcap was, and also where the dryer line went from the basement to the crawl space. I asked the guy and he said that people generally just slap up some plywood. But all in all, not at all bad for $240 including tax. And I’ve removed that particular worry about a dryer fire!
Further musing … the jut-out is very cold and it surprised me that there was any insulation. In addition to the plumbing, it also has the back side of the kitchen sink and some cupboards, all of which get very cold in winter. My Holmes-on-Holmes experience tells me then that there are gaps allowing for air movement. I’ll have to have a think about it and think about how I can find the gaps and fill them in.