Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dryer Vent Booster Fans

Since we moved into our house in April of 2005, we have never had a perfectly working dryer. See, when we bought the house we bought a new washer and dryer as the person who bought our previous home had wanted ours. The GE dryer we had worked okay at first but just would not work on bigger loads like the same model we had at the previous house would. It got worse and worse where even a small load of laundry would have to be dried more than once. Eventually, it was obvious that the dryer had died at less than 4 years old. Before having a new one installed, we got Sears to come out and clean our dryer vent while cleaning the carpets. The things the technician said made it clear to us that the problem is only partially the dryer.

In our house, the washer and dryer are in a small closet in the middle of the house on the second floor. The vent goes up into the attic and out the roof. Overall, I have measured this vent at over 20 feet with a 90 degree turn at the very beginning and one 30-45 degree turn in the attic. Because of the position of the vent, the hose connecting the dryer to the vent also has a 90 degree turn. Thanks to our friend Scott, he got me looking into dryer vent booster fans.

Yesterday we had a Dryer Vent Booster Fan installed at out house by our friend and contractor Scott Smith of RWS Construction. The fan I choose was the Suncourt Centrax 4" booster fan. I did a lot of research on these devices and this was my favorite. I found this site to be the best in terms of information and it includes one of the largest lists of these devices.

As near as I can tell, there are a variety of differences between these devices. The basic differences, if I were to sum it up, are the power of the fan (cubic feet per minute or cfm), the way the switch works, and how protected it is from lint. For switches there were three types, manual, pressure sensing, and current sensing. Reading reviews of these devices at various places including Amazon led me to believe that the pressure sensing swicthes could cause the fan to be turned on at the wrong time (like a hot muggy day or a windy day) or not turned on at the right time. I decided immediately after reading all of the problems that I would stay away from these. This left the current sensing or the manual switch as my remaining options. I focused in on the Suncourt because of its price and the current sensing switch. When reading the iaqsource page on the Suncourt, I saw the following:

Boosting may be necessary when the total duct length exceeds the following:
No Bends - 25 feet
1 Bend - 20 feet
2 Bends - 15 feet
3 Bends - 10feet

Another important fact about this device included that it was UL tested meaning it was safe and should not catch on fire.

So, its installed, operates very quietly, and hopefully in a year I will write more about how I like this device. It took Scott about four hours to install but it is my expectation that the savings in electricity (and from broken dryers) that this device may give us will be fully worth it.


R J said...

I know another company that does chimney and dryer vent cleaning at my house. It's going to be more than four years and I'm quite impressed by their thoughtful service. Mad Hatter Services (, is the name of the company. These guys use best equipment and tools for cleaning every neglected portion of the dryer vent in my kitchen. If you're looking for a cleaning service provider, I would like to recommend Mad Hatter.

Mike said...

I found another site that has really good information. And ever has the higest rated MERV 13 furnace filters.