Can Dryer Exhaust Make You Sick?

Posted on May 15, 2020

When we do a load of laundry, it’s hard to resist grabbing the warm fabric and enjoying the smell of clean clothes.

What we rarely think about is that drying your laundry generates a lot of air and heat. Usually, that heat and air are pushed outside the home through your exhaust system. We build our homes to maximize our energy efficiency and contain heat or cold air. If the exhaust system fails, that air could become trapped in your building. Unfortunately, that exhaust could have devastating effects on your health. 

From toxic laundry products to mold contamination, not cleaning your dryer exhaust can lead to a variety of health issues. Keep reading to learn more!

Exposed To Toxins in Laundry Products From Dryer Exhaust

Fresh, soft fabrics that smell like gardenias are one of the most rewarding things about conquering that load of laundry. Dryer sheets and fabric softeners are a laundry room staple because they make your wardrobe smell nice. Yet these fragrances pose a significant health risk.

One of the most terrifying is benzyl acetate. Benzyl acetate adds a sweet fragrance to your laundry products but has been connected to pancreatic cancer. Benzyl alcohol also adds a lovely aroma to clothing while being linked to respiratory issues. 

Your dryer exhaust is full of these fragrance-adding chemicals. Consistent exposure could have harmful consequences.

Dryer Exhausting Carbon Monoxide

Most people are aware of the silent, scentless killer that is carbon monoxide. Even small carbon monoxide leaks can have big consequences. According to the CDC, accidental carbon monoxide poisoning takes the lives of 430 people every year. It also sends 50,000 people to the emergency room. 

Unfortunately, your dryer creates carbon monoxide as part of the drying process. Your dryer can leak carbon monoxide into your home if the vents are not maintained or installed correctly. This should be a reminder to check the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector and call an HVAC technician to service your exhaust system. 

Mold Contamination

Your dryer doesn’t only create heat. It also creates moisture from drying your clothes and that moisture has to go somewhere. Generally, your dryer exhaust system will push the air outside of the home. If the dryer exhaust system leaks into the interior, such as an attic or space between walls, this can grow mold that’s hard to detect. Mold has been linked to several health conditions.

Even minimal exposure to mold can cause respiratory issues. These include nose and throat irritation, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some individuals even exhibit asthma symptoms, even if they never suffered from asthma, according to Poison.org. It can also cause headaches.

Long-term effects of mold exposure include skin issues, nerve damage, and certain cancers.

As mold spores detach and become airborne, they can cause even more problems. Mold has scary effects on those with sensitive respiratory systems or mold allergies. 

Avoiding These Issues With Your Dryer Exhaust

It’s hard finding laundry products without fragrances since the aroma is half the reason you use them. It can also be incredibly difficult to catch mold growth within your walls before it’s too late. Carbon monoxide is notoriously difficult for humans to detect without a detector.

For these reasons, it’s important to focus on preventative maintenance and making sure the system is in clean, working condition. In your laundry room, you can check to see that your exhaust hose is properly connected to both your dryer and exhaust system. You can also clean your dryer exhaust system yourself. For easy DIY steps for cleaning your dryer, check out our previous blog post.

Not all maintenance is easy to accomplish on your own, and an HVAC specialist will be better able to identify problems. We recommend scheduling regular HVAC maintenance and inspections to look for potential issues and places to improve.

Dryer Exhaust Maintenance

At AIRPRO Indoor Air Solutions, we understand a vast array of specific cleanliness needs. You can approach us for residential, commercial, industrial, or medical facilities. Our skilled staff will have accurate and prompt services for you. Keep your vents and linen chutes clean with reliable support from AIRPRO Indoor Air Solutions. Call us today at 808-832-1178 or visit our website to learn more.