Is it Safe to Run Electrical Wires Through a Dryer Vent?

dryer vent

The importance of a dryer vent cannot be overstated.  Like any working part of your home, it requires maintenance and upkeep, routine cleaning, and the occasional troubleshooting when the dryer is acting up.  Homeowners unaware of how essential the dryer vent is to their appliance sometimes wonder if they can use the vent as a short cut to run wires through it.  The bottom line is that it’s not a good idea because the dryer vent is an active part of how your dryer runs and obstructing it with anything—especially electrical wiring—is a hazard waiting to happen.

Why It’s Not a Good Idea

It may seem like a nice shortcut to use your dryer vent as a passageway for extra electrical wires but think again.  Here are the many reasons why you shouldn’t weave wires through your dryer vent:

Flammability

The lint particles that travel through in the dryer vent can make this component and the hot air void of moisture that it passes increasingly flammable.  The last thing you’ll want to run through such a beast are electrical wires.  The dryer vent should serve its singular purpose of removing the moisture from your clothes and venting this hot air outside of the home.  Using it for anything other than what it’s intended for will put your home, your family, and yourself at great risk.

Clogs

The dryer vent is intended to expel the fine lint particles accumulated from your clothing, along with the moisture, to the outside.  Threading anything through the dryer vent is an obstruction and an offering for the lint to cling to.  Not only does this cause clogs, but it also increases the chances of igniting a fire, something even more serious and deadly.

As mentioned before, the dryer vent already deals in hazards with hot air and dry lint, so adding electrical wires to the mix is adding another ingredient into a potential disaster.  The buildup and clogging can worsen the situation, and what should be a clear passage to the outside is now lint-coated and highly flammable.  A deep, thorough cleaning is required, along with the removal of the wires and hopefully this all occurs before a fire sparks.

dryer vent

You’ll Need to Clean the Vent

If you choose to run wires through the vent, you’re setting yourself up for future frustration.  Even if you don’t tackle the job of cleaning the dryer vent yourself, you’ll need to hire a professional, and you can bet that they’ll be charging extra to remove the wires you’ve run through the vent they need to clean.  You’ll rack up a hefty labor tab, not to mention the time involved in getting the mess straightened out and get a good talking to from your trained and certified contractor, who will certainly tell you to never run wires through the dryer vent again.

Additionally, if a professional technician goes to clean the dryer vent with a rotary brush tool, unaware of the internal wires, the spinning brush system could easily rip and damage the wires.  This could result in fatal hazards if the wire is live, and for the homeowner, hours of repair work and additional time to fix the mess.

A Violation of Building Codes

Running wires through a dryer vent is not only dangerous, but against any traditional building code.  If you’re renting, you could get slammed with fines and a violation for threading electrical wires in a place they’re not supposed to go, and even if you own a home, you’ll need to remove the wires before you even consider selling your home.  A home inspector won’t let wires in a dryer vent fly, so this will need to be undone before the next homeowners take residence.  Renters should especially be wary of this action because it could also mean a breach of contract, and similarly, public facilities could face an auditing of the building and fail to meet the building code inspection standards.

Avoid Any Kind of Ductwork

You shouldn’t run electrical wires through a dryer vent, nor should you run electrical wiring through any sort of ductwork.  This includes airducts or return air vents, even if you’re sure you’re being safe.  You’re not a highly trained, professional electrician, so don’t take these chances because the results can be deadly.

Fires, building code violations, clogs, and an end result of an expensive repair, cleaning, or insurance bill is not worth the shortcut.  If you’re having difficulty running electrical wires in the area of your dryer vent, consult an electrician.  They’ll be happy to assist you and can even find a way to neatly hide the wires without risk.

Ductwork and dryer vents are not designed to hold your cables or wiring.  They’re meant to channel air—and that’s all.  Putting wires through your vents is like asking your oven to dry your clothes—not a great idea and will certainly end in a fire.

Dryer Vent Inspection and Cleaning

If your dryer seems to be taking longer than usual, you probably just need your vent cleaned. It’s a good idea to call us before a dryer specialist as we can help get your dryer working properly without a full repair or replacement of the dryer itself. A backed up dryer vent can lead to a less efficient dryer, and potentially a house fire. This directly impacts your energy bills, and your dry time. Contact us today!

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