Winter Heat from a Clothes Dryer
I'll admit it, I love my clothes line ... when it's warm out. But, in the middle of winter when the high temperature for the day stays below freezing heading outside to hang wet jeans on the line is a bit tough. Yes, I could set up an inside clothes line or rack. But I've found another option, I can use my clothes dryer to heat and humidify the house.
To state the obvious, the desert southwest is dry, really dry. The relative humidity here is regularly in the 10-30% range. Our arid climate means that low humidity is much more common than any excess of moisture. Given that clothes dryers exhaust heat and humidity, which are welcome in the winter, I installed a kit which vents the warm humid air back into the house. This is another easy project that I could have done years ago.
One safety note: Only electric clothes dryers should be vented indoors as gas dryers vent carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other pollutants created by burning natural gas or propane. The only challenges in this project were in deciding how to orient and hang the vent switch and cutting the coiled wire in the vent hose (tin snips worked great). The directions on the package were straightforward and the vent switch is extremely simple. I did replace the included zip-tie style plastic vent clamps with stronger, metal screw clamps. I also used aluminized vent duct as it appeared sturdier than the vinyl duct. The total cost for the project was less than $30 for the heat diverting vent, two sections of dryer duct and two metal screw clamps.
Now, instead of wasting the heat used to dry my clothes in the winter, that heat is vented back into the house where it is needed. While it's not quite 'free' heat, I'm getting two uses for the price of one. In the spring, summer and fall, I'll just flip the switch to vent back outside whenever I'm not using the 'free' clothes line.