How To Vent A Dryer Without A Vent To Outside? (4-Options Guide)

Do you want to learn how to vent a dryer without outside access?

In this guide, we'll go over…

  • How to use an indoor lint trap
  • Venting the dryer hose to a window
  • And using a European-style ventless dryer
how to vent a dryer without outside access (1)

When I inspect homes, I come across properties that have limited venting options such as condos, apartments, or homes with dryers in the middle.

Sometimes installing an outdoor vent requires a lot of damage to the home with a long duct run, or properties in a multi-story building may not be allowed to install an outside vent.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to use a dryer not vented to the outside if absolutely necessary. Venting a dryer is important so you don’t breath in the lint and moisture of a dryer but there are a few ways to vent it without a standard duct.

Dryer Venting To Outside Is Required By Code

Almost all local governments in the United States require that dryer vents terminate to the outside for new homes.

However, older homes may be grandfathered in to this code requirement depending on the age of your house and the local building code. Always verify with your local building department or with a licensed contractor. You can also read my guide on dryer vent installation code here.

And even if your area doesn't require dryer venting to the outside for an old home, it is strongly recommended to vent the dryer to the outside if possible.

Let's get to the three main options for dryers without outside venting!

4 Options For Dryers Not Vented To The Outside

The top way to vent a dryer without outside access is to either vent it to a window (use a window vent kit) or vent it up through the attic and onto the roof.

If either of those options aren't available, the next best thing is to install a ventless dryer (install anywhere in home) or to use an indoor lint trap. 

Here are my top four options for dryers without outside access:

Option #1. Install An Indoor Dryer Lint Trap (Electric Dryer Only)

indoor lint trap for dryer without outside vent

The most common way to vent a dryer without a vent to the outside is to use an indoor dryer lint trap.

However, indoor lint traps should only be used for electric dryers. Gas dryers without outdoor ducting can cause carbon monoxide buildup in the home and be dangerous to use with an indoor lint trap.

These lint traps for electric dryers are basically detachable filters that are installed at the end of the flex vent behind the dryer. Most indoor lint traps use either one or two filters (and some use water) to filter the air of the highly flammable lint particles that dryers produce.

Other indoor lint traps use water in a bucket to filter the lint and require re-filling with water quite often.

You may be able to mount it on the wall, or it can just be left on the ground next to the dryer. Some indoor lint traps even have safety vent flaps which automatically open to release exhaust if there is a clog blocking the vent.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Vent to outside not needed
  • Inexpensive

Cons 

  • Only for electric dryers
  • Releases moisture and possibly some lint into the air
  • Requires constant cleaning or maintenance
  • May give off smells

Read Also >> How To Install Dryer Vents In Tight Spaces?

Option #2. Use A Dryer Vent Window Kit To Vent It Outside

The second way use a dryer without a vent is to just use a window if available.

If this will be a permanent installation, I recommend getting a window dryer vent kit. These window dryer vent kits will allow you to install it on the bottom of a window but which covers the sides to prevent outdoor air from going inside.

dryer vent window kit

It is similar to a portable A/C window connection, except that the dryer vent hood has a flapper.

And if it is a temporary situation, you could just put the flexible hose out the window, and stuff the sides of the window with something to prevent air infiltration.

Venting your dryer to a window is definitely preferable to using an indoor lint trap because you get the same results as outdoor dryer venting and with minimal maintenance.

Pros

  • Vents to outside
  • Doesn't violate building code
  • Easy to install
  • Can work with gas dryers

Cons

  • Not visually appealing
  • Prevents use of window
  • Duct on floor may be trip hazard

Read Also >> How To Clean Dryer Vent From Outside?

no vent for dryer with ventless dryers

Option #3. Install A Ventless Dryer (No Duct Needed)

Ventless dryers don't need to vent to the outside and are popular in Europe.

These dryers can be installed in the middle of the house without having to worry about a duct. 

Since a ventless dryer has no exhaust, it recirculates the air inside the dryer and it filters all of the lint. All of the moisture from the clothes gets condensed (turned into water) as it goes through an interior heat exchanger.

These dryers are highly efficient, but they usually take longer to dry clothes than conventional dryers. Ventless dryers also tend to have a smaller capacity than conventional dryers as well.

Pros

  • Designed for using without a vent
  • Install anywhere in the home

Cons

  • May not dry as well as standard dryer
  • Expensive
  • Usually smaller drying capacity (less load)

Read Also >> How To Repair A Dryer Vent Hose? 

Option #4. Vent The Dryer Through Attic And To The Roof

If you don't have outdoor access through a wall, another option is to run a duct through the attic and onto the roof—though technically this is still going outside.

This option will probably only work for homes that have their dryer on the uppermost level since the ceiling is connected to the attic.

Just remember that installing a dryer vent to the roof requires a roof-approved metal dryer cover with a flapper. You can't use the plastic dryer vent covers on the roof.

Pros

  • Vents to the outside
  • Standard installation (building code approved)
  • All moisture and lint goes outside

Cons

  • Expensive installation (requires roofer)
  • May cause future roof leak
  • Possible condensation problems with duct going through attic
  • More difficult to clean dryer vent

Read Also >> Why Is There Water In My Dryer Vent Hose?

Final Thoughts

Even though installing a dryer vent to the outside is always preferable (and is required for gas dryers), there are a few dryer vent alternatives to use it if there is no dryer vent.

Probably the most common option is to install an indoor lint trap. The problem with indoor lint traps is that they require constant maintenance, and they also add heat and moisture to the home.

Thanks for reading our guide on dryer venting options and ideas!

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