Another brilliant idea: brought to you by Elodin Enterprises

Okay, I’ve been thinking about this for years, and I need someone to explain it to me.

Here I am in Wisconsin. It’s winter. It’s cold outside. I will be spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars to heat my house despite the fact that I keep the thermostat at a relatively conservative 62 degrees. The air in my house is chilly and dry as a bone.

Then I go down into my basement, put a load of laundry into the drier, and for the next hour I run a big machine that vents hot, moist, delicious air through a tube and out the side of my house. Presumably so that the local squirrels can enjoy a sauna.

Does this make any sense? Is there some good reason why I don’t have a second tube that runs from the drier directly into my ductwork of my forced-air furnace? Free heat, free humidity, and as an added bonus, my house would smell like Snuggle fabric softener.

I mean, I could understand why this idea wouldn’t be a big deal in, say, Texas. As I understand it, in Texas the winter weather is relatively clement, and the summer weather is like being beaten with a burning shovel until you are on fire, then having someone extinguish you by wrapping you in a thick, wet towel that is, somehow, also on fire.

But here in the north, it’s cold for about half the year. And for a couple months centering around nowish it’s an amazing flavor of cold that you really can’t appreciate unless you experience it firsthand. Night before last, up here in Hayward, it got down to twenty-six below zero (Fahrenheit), not counting wind-chill.

That’s the sort of cold where, if a young gentleman tries to enjoy the unique privilege of manhood and write his name in the snow, he will end up with a pee stalagmite instead. It’s the sort of cold where you go outside and realize that if you aren’t careful, you will fucking die.

So I go back to my original question: Why isn’t this done? I’m not an engineer, but I’m pretty sure we have the technology to install what amounts to a valve. One side would be labeled “make my house warm” and the other would be labeled “squirrel sauna.” You could adjust it according to the outside temperature, your mood, and how you feel about the local fauna.

I can’t be the first person to think of this, so I’m assuming that there has to be a good explanation for why it isn’t already commonplace. Can anyone think of what it is?

Anyone?

pat

This entry was posted in My brilliant ideas. By Pat82 Responses

81 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 11:50 PM | Permalink

    It’s the lint. My girlfriend and I had this same conversation last week.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

    While growing up my bedroom was in the basement. My father purchased a diverter valve from the local hardware store and installed it, during the colder months I left it dumping all that hot, moist delicious air right on my bed, during the summer I closed the valve and it went outside… have you checked with your local Lowes or Home Depot to see if they have something like that?

  3. Anonymous
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 11:52 PM | Permalink

    The diverter that my father installed had a secondary lint trap built into it that I had to keep clean, but it worked well…

  4. LucidLunatic
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:01 AM | Permalink

    Thus the answer is that it is possible, but not popularized because it is more difficult than entering a credit card number.

  5. AutumnRLS
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:02 AM | Permalink

    It has been done, but it is best if it is filtered through a separate vent system into an adjacent room. And you need a really good filtration system. Otherwise, you’ll end up with dust bunnies all over the place. You wouldn’t want to run it through your preexisting venting system because it could cause a hazardous build up of lint. Also, the increase in moisture inside your ductwork and home will increase your risk of mold – particularly inside of your walls. This is a major health hazard.

  6. Sailor Matt
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

    Because that would be unconventional, Pat. How dare you suggest something unconventional.Why aren’t all homes built with integrated solar cells? Why don’t homes collect rainwater and recycle gray water? Imagine if every suburban home had a mini windmill generator pole in their backyard.We can’t change too quickly, Pat, for fear of making a difference.

  7. Sailor Matt
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:06 AM | Permalink

    Oh, that mold comment is a good point…

  8. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:14 AM | Permalink

    your comment about texas made me laugh!It just started getting what we Texans call “ball bitingly cold” down here in Austin.It’s about 36 degrees today and yesterday was a “chilly” 55 degrees. whoidl- as in, “The whoidl warm by process of gloibal whorming”

  9. TK42ONE
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:16 AM | Permalink

    I love it. Where can I buy one?

  10. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:21 AM | Permalink

    Nice idea pat! Sadly,The squirrel lobbyists have been the main problem so far. And as for saving energy it would take decades if not longer to just break even. 1. People would both test it out when they had it installed and turn it on just to show others how it worked.2. People might end up trying to use it to heat their houses.“A Heater and a Dryer? What do you think I am Woman, Made of money? Now get my pants out of the dish washer and through them in, I’m getting cold” Wife slaps man, The end.We can’t all say something smart.-plucky

  11. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:29 AM | Permalink

    There is such a product at the home depot/lowes…but i’ve heard a lot of stories about them that didn’t sound so promising. I too had the same “great” idea once upon a time. Then I read about all the house fires they caused because no one ever remembers to empty the lint trap on it. Apparently the trap fills up almost as fast as the one in the dryer! So beware…they do exist. Just take caution.

  12. some german guy
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:32 AM | Permalink

    mate. get the vent out of the wall (the vent that connects your drier with the squirrels), close the hole in the wall and let the lovely moist, nice-smelling warm air run free in your basement. if you want it upstairs, extend the vent (usually they’re flexibel, as i recall) and put it wherever you like.in summer, just let the clothes dry outside.but apart from that: driers are not exactly energysavers. as good this idea might seem, it will just reduce the amount of energy that’s wasted. and i mean WASTED. clothes do get dry in colder air, you know? plus the room smells of fresh fluffy jumpers and knickers and stuff. but i’m patronizing. sorry for that.btw., fabric softener is also not a friend of the environment. sigh. it’s a hard life, isn’t it? especially for squirrels, if they don’t get their sauna.cheers from europe

  13. Bobby
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:36 AM | Permalink

    Like people are saying the lint is a factor. However, at my house in Ohio where our weather is similar to yours, I modified the tube that comes out of my drier. I 5″x5″ screen to filter the lint on the tube that also has a valve on it. So in the summer the heat goes outside, and in the winter I open the valve and enjoy a cheaper gas bill.

  14. Dan Manthorpe
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:38 AM | Permalink

    Sounds as if you need an plumber and a diverter Pat. Diverter, as you need to take the heat and moisture and take it back into the house, where the squirrels are not presently available. And a plumber, as if there is a will -and idea- there is a way with the materials. Lint smint; and excess moisture buildup I am sure could be prevented with a filter of some sort (as long cleaned regularly), although only guessing -I’m not an expert. Excess heat I could imagine being released beneath floorboards to heat house, as long as low water vapour to prevent rot. Why would you want heat between the walls?? Most houses don’t have a inbuilt ventillation system other that the obvious path.

  15. Kathleen
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:58 AM | Permalink

    I just run my dishwasher a lot.

  16. Maria Stahl
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:58 AM | Permalink

    We just blithely yank our dryer out of the wall pipe, stuff a towel in there, and let it vent warm, moist, linty air all over the house all winter long. Yes, we have dust everywhere, but as long as no wise guy writes DUST ME with a finger, we don’t care.

  17. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:58 AM | Permalink

    I used to ask all the same kind of questions until I went to old word Wisconsin with my wife, and did the timeline, and realized that 100 years ago people were living inside wooden fences with bears skins draped over. You should check it out Pat, and pay attention to the years.

  18. Leisa in AL
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 1:06 AM | Permalink

    I just know that you don’t want the mold. Mold is very very bad. I’m still recovering from what I fondly call the Labor Day Flood as I woke up that morning and stepped down into water and life hasn’t been the same since. Apparently the toilet kept running the last time I flushed it and I didn’t notice. I apparently have just great water pressure (which explains why I thought everyone elses’ was rotten) and as the tank kept trying to fill, it just broke and flooded the house. (I am happy to say that NOTW was not one of the books that was in one of the many stacks of books on the floor). Anyway, people in suits and masks came to deal with the mold that snuck into the walls. So that’s my two cents, don’t encourage mold.

  19. Mark Schroeder
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 1:10 AM | Permalink

    Pat:What the hell are you doing in Hayward? Last week I grabbed the camera to take pictures of owls in a bog about an hour north of Duluth. The thermometer on the car when I got out to climb into the blind was -23 F. I got out anyway. Shrinkage-city.

  20. Jessica
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 1:16 AM | Permalink

    You keep your house at 62 degrees! Good Lord, live a little!

  21. Bryan
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 1:50 AM | Permalink

    Because carbon monoxide poisoning sucks.

  22. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 1:58 AM | Permalink

    My dryer is in the basement and I dont have an vent that leads outside. I leave the hose attached and let the hot air filter up the steps into my house. It helps…

  23. Peter J.
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 2:18 AM | Permalink

    You keep your place cool too? That’s awesome! I keep mine at 15 celcius, I think that’s 59 fahrenheit. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do this. Do they not have sweaters?Wow, -26 fahrenheit is pretty cold. That’s about where I start thinking about ditching my sweater + leather jacket combo and wearing an actual winter coat. And jogging in that weather is a pain, it takes almost 15 minutes to get ready! Although it’s better now that I have a balaclava (I used to smear my face with vaseline).Anyway, I laugh at your pain, as it’s downright balmy here right now. HA HA!

  24. Kathy Wise
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 2:44 AM | Permalink

    I never thought about the dryer but i did use my oven one winter. I lived in a small apartment (not sure what size house you live in) and the heat was run on gas. Being too cheap to turn the gas on; i turned the oven to 500 degrees and left the door open and then used space heaters as needed. It actually did the trick. I never had to turn the gas on and my electric bill was under $130 all winter.

  25. Incubus Jax
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 3:48 AM | Permalink

    Last time I was in Wisconsin in the winter I just found me a cutie and we did it a lot. Seemed to work out okay. Both stayed warm and all. You’d be surprised what you can do from the bed when you don’t want to get out of it.

  26. Jill
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 3:56 AM | Permalink

    I vent my dryer into the house. Works wonderfully!! And yes, the lint does make it dusty, but the lint box (which as been mentioned here) works very well. Let the squirrels get their own damn dryer!

  27. kyle
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 4:42 AM | Permalink

    pansies love the cold it will do you good!

  28. Jeff Reid
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 5:09 AM | Permalink

    No one mentioned this,so I guess I’ll have to: If your dryer is pushing air OUT of the house, then it has to pull air INTO your house – usually causing those drafts you feel in certain places. The dryer is sucking on your house to get the air to push through the dryer, all warmed, and out to the squirrels. Solution: feed the dryer fresh air from outside, instead of making your whole house cold, and then warm that fresh air with the hot air going outside, by using a heat exchanger (almost like putting both pipes side-by-side for awhile). It’ll reduce the cold air coming in from all your house’s drafty places, and reduce the amount of energy you’re pumping outside. Your engineering inventor and chief Storycaster.

  29. Robert Crandall
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 6:15 AM | Permalink

    You do laundry??

  30. Heather Raffaelelele
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 6:24 AM | Permalink

    <3 Squirrel sauna

  31. Laini Taylor
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 6:31 AM | Permalink

    pee stalactite! hahahaha! Can’t quite imagine that kind of cold — we get really whiney when it hits the 20s here.

  32. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 6:54 AM | Permalink

    Hah, run crazy dryer vents through your house till it looks like an apartment from the movie “Brazil”.But yeah, you can skip the complicated “diverter” other people have mentioned, just buy another dryer vent hose with one end in your dryer and the other just laying wherever in your basement; just attach a lint-trap (also available at most hardware/home improvement stores.) Hot, moist air rises, so it will warm up and steam up your whole house. Soon, you will be throwing wet towels in just so you can steam your beard in your tropical home.

  33. Brian
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 7:07 AM | Permalink

    Ha Ha Ha Ha HAAAAAAA!!!! (please read amusement here)That comment about texas is so funny. I work outside in the summer (in Texas) and your description is accurate.To much moisture equals mildew and where it decides to condense is usually close to the exit of the vent. Maybe dryer vents are causing global warming… That or cow flatulence.

  34. Andrew
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

    This just further proves my theory that the government is actually a group of squirrels in disguise who are hellbent on freezing mankind into submission…

  35. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

    One of my faviourite questions is very similar;Why are the air conditioning systems for offices and Server rooms not plumbed into the hot water/heating system, to harness all the unwanted heat?

  36. jeffk
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

    Guys, it’s a really bad idea to divert the exhaust into your house – it contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and a bunch of other things you don’t want to be breathing. You could probably heat your garage by letting your car idle with the door closed, but that’s generally also a terrible idea. Please, especially if you have kids or pets, think about what you’re doing here.

  37. J
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

    I have the dryer vent turned in to my house by the simple expedient of unhooking the hose from the outside vent. (and closing that vent to the outside) Then, to take care of lint, I put one of my wife’s knee-high hose over the end.Voila! We get the lovely warm, moist air and no lint.I’m not worried about mold because I pull the hose around and aim it into the middle of the large-ish room next to the laundry area. That way there’s no concentrated area of condensation, and I’m not worried about a three-times-a-week blast of moist air for 30 minutes causing mold in the middle of winter.Maybe when we have kids and the drier is running non-stop I might start worrying about it.We have an electric dryer (as I assume most people do) so carbon monoxide isn’t an issue.

  38. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

    I got curious about some of the comments about carbon monoxide and did a little internet poking around. Apparently the danger lies with gas dryers. I even found this handy-dandy article about using your dryer for heat. It includes a warning about gas dryers and lint issues. http://www.ehow.com/how_2118053_vent-dryer-heat-indoors.html

  39. Laura
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    I’ve had similar thoughts on refrigerators and freezers during winter…. We pay to cool a space inside a space we pay to heat? Eh?In related news, we have our water heater hooked into the geothermal pump which heats and cools our house. The ground never really changes temperature that far down, so there’s always heat moving one way or another, and it’s free once you’ve built the system. We lived in the house for a year before we realized we’d forgotten to ever turn the water heater on!

  40. Susanne
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 3:45 PM | Permalink

    I think almost all our electrical devices lead the air they use into this small room tha’t always warm, and the house and the machines came that way… But then again, we live in Norway. We’ve always needed to save all the heat we can, I guess=p Winter up here is reaaally cold…

  41. Amanda
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

    Elodin Enterprises, huh?Go for it, dude. The person who has a link to a site about it seems to have the right idea. It seems to work just fine.

  42. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

    I am a consultant in the building industry. a few of problems with this idea:Fire hazardMold problems – dry is good in houses, especially basements.REALLY bad air quality.Your dryer wouldn’t have the power to distribute throughout your whole house so your forced air would still be doing work.They do make exhaust heat recovery ventilation systems that don’t mix the outgoing air but capture some of the heat. This idea might be able to be applied to a dryer. It wouldn’t save you any money because it’s expensive but it would save energy. Better suggestion – get a more efficient heating system and use a humidifier.

  43. Alicia
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

    Tushesin: the snuggly bit of the squirrel’s tail – just where it bends.I warm my house by having a big hairy man to run about it a lot. I’m not sure how warm it keeps him, but he never complains about the cold. True story :)

  44. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 9:19 PM | Permalink

    Although people here give good reasons why you shouldnt do this such as fire hazard, mold, efficiency etc. There is still probably a way to make this kind of modification to the heating system that could prevent those risks, but the gas/oil/energy companies wont want that, they want you to spend more money on their product, not less.About 10 years back an investor friend of mine met with an retired inventor who had created a small device that modifies Air conditioning units by running a small water line through the AC unit which would cool the unit and reduce the energy usage as much as 50%. Whats more is the device took little modification to install and was cheap to make, probably injection molded plastic and some orings a hose and hose clapm run an electrical hookup and wham, off you go.THe inventor lived in Palm Springs (which is about 5 feet from the Sun, so AC bills get high there) so this was a project close to his heart.My friend entered into a business partnership to do a small startup, got a prototype worked up, was in the process of getting a local plastic mold shop on board, everything was looking good, a device that could really help people and they could start a great business. I even got to see the prototype, I held it in my hands and saw it work after installation. I dont know how much energy it saved upon installation (they were keeping that bit secret) but I saw that it was working and it seemed better than they intended, everyone who was there was excited.But what ultimately happened is after the test, the inventor went behind my friends back (his fault for thinking he could get away with a hand shake deal) and contacted all the big energy companies like SOuthern California Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric, the power company in Phoenix (can remember name) etc. THe inventor sold the patent on the device and all data regarding it for approx. fifteen million dollars to one of the companies (I never found out which) and retired in Nebraska or something.THe company that bought the device buried it, and we will never see it in the market, from what I understand this kind of thing happens a LOT.Brandon

  45. Sailor Matt
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 9:30 PM | Permalink

    I hear what you’re sayin’. Cold fusion has existed for years, burried deep within the vaults of Big Oil companies. It’s all about da man putting us down.

  46. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 10:45 PM | Permalink

    But my story is true, I was brought on board because I work for a large pump manufacturer. THey were looking into seeing if the device could also be installed on automobiles and hoping to use one of our centrifugal pumps to make it work on a 12 volt system using the coolant from the radiator. So they asked me to come down to see how the prototype worked on the standard 115 VAC setup and go back to my boss to see if we could come up with something that would work.Or course the whole thing went to hell, but its still a good story.Brandon

  47. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 10:51 PM | Permalink

    Another thing they sell at Lowes/Home Depot are humidifiers. Imagine that. Let the squirrels keep their saunas.

  48. Anonymous
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 12:59 AM | Permalink

    Simple fix: When I was little, my parents use to disconnect the aluminum tube from the wall, and put a woman’s stocking over it to catch the lint. Of course that doesn’t get it into your central furnace.

  49. Adam
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 3:04 AM | Permalink

    I’m a native Louisianian, Pat, and our winter has been colder than usual. Today it was “Ball-Freezing Cold” at 37 degrees Fahrenheit and the day before that it was a “somewhat chilly” 58 degrees Fahrenheit. The idea of negative temperatures is impossible for my brain to comprehend. As for summers, try a Fahrenheit of 98-100 degrees with a humidity level of 120 degrees. It as, as you say, being beaten with a flaming shovel and then wrapped in a towel, which is also made of fire.

  50. A Fan
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 5:40 AM | Permalink

    stalag*tite*A urine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalagmite would be a neat trick :-)

  51. Anonymous
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 6:04 AM | Permalink

    I would say that as long as you can keep yourself safe from the lint and bacteria, it would be perfect to utilize your handy drier heating system. My three sisters and i (we live in northern colorado) once got so cold that we all crawled into bed together, put each of my two older sisters curling irons under the blankets and put their hair driers over our heads. The sheets lit on fire. It was bad. But, looking back, hilarious.

  52. marky
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    twenty-six below zero! I wish I had such mild weather here. Let me give you an example of nippy weather in Scotia.40 degrees: Californians shiver uncontrollably. People in Scotland sunbathe. 35 degrees: Italian cars won’t start. People in Scotland drive with the windows down. 20 degrees:Floridians wear coats, gloves, and wool hats. People in Scotland throw on a T-shirt. 15 degrees:Californians begin to evacuate the state. People in Scotland go swimming in the sea. 0 degrees:New York landlords turn the heat on. People in Scotland have a last barby before it gets cold. -10 degrees:People in Miami are extinct. People in Scotland lick flagpoles. -20 degrees:Californians all now live in Mexico. People in Scotland throw on a light jacket. -80 degrees:Polar bears begin to evacuate the Artic. Scottish Boy Scouts postpone winter survival excercise until it gets cold enough. -100 degrees:Santa Claus abandons the North Pole. People in Scotland wear a vest and pull down their ear flaps. -173 degrees:Ethyl alcohol freezes. People in Scotland are angry ‘cos they can’t thaw their whisky kegs. -297 degrees:Microbial life starts to grind to a halt. Scottish cows complain of farmers with cold hands. -460 degrees:ALL atomic motion stops. People in Scotland start saying ” A bit hill billy … eh? ” -500 degrees:Hell freezes over. Scottish people support England in the World Cup

  53. Zach
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

    My parents something like that. Although instead of dumping it in the hot air system, it will just vents to the room the Dryer is in. Also, it has a lint trap to keep lint out of the air.

  54. Dr. Phil (Physics)
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    The house we rented in the U.P. didn’t have a hole in the wall for a dryer vent. Hardware store had a plastic bucket which holds some water and the dryer vent line goes into it — the air blows into the water, which collects the lint.Officially the units are only for electric dryers, but there’s nothing stopping you from using it on a gas dryer. Ours ran on LP and the dryer was brand new. You should have a carbon monoxide detector in your house anyway, but don’t install it in either the kitchen or the laundry room.And yes — in U.P. winters it definitely raised the humidity inside. Towels were the best. (grin)Dr. Phil

  55. Josh Dagle
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 5:07 PM | Permalink

    My vent actually has this feature, except I have the option to let it just blow into the air straight from the dryer, making my basement really snug but not blowing straight into my ductwork. I also have the squirrel sauna option as well, but being able to have a choice IS nice, by the way I live in northern Minnesota in a town called Grand Rapids on The Iron Range. So we get really cold too.

  56. Pickles
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

    I live in Wisconsin as well (In Superior – we’re basically annexed by Duluth, MN), and my wife and I purchased a dryer last winter. While I was shopping around for tubing to make my squirrel sauna dreams a reality, I discovered a device in Home Depot that sounds like it would be right up your alley. It’s basically just a section of tubing with a box at the end, for use in conserving the heat the escapes when you vent your dryer. The box collects all the excess lint and water, and the air was blasted into the house, rather than onto ungrateful squirrels. I couldn’t tell you what it was called, but it’s out there. Someone has thought of this before. P.S. My apologies if someone mentioned this already.

  57. Leisa in AL
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 9:09 PM | Permalink

    Save the squirrels!

  58. Nathan
    Posted January 29, 2009 at 9:19 PM | Permalink

    I think that if you were to vent that much humid air into your home, it would actually make it more miserably cold, in the long run.Once that dryer shuts off, your house would quickly turn into a cold ice palace. Haha.I enjoyed your blog, though :]

  59. Anonymous
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 12:09 AM | Permalink

    This has nothing to do with your “brilliant idea”. I saw a word and thought of you. Pogonophile. – Amy

  60. Anonymous
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 2:24 AM | Permalink

    Hi Pat,If you have forced air heat in your house, and you have an older home, it is very likely that your relative humidity level runs around 15% or so in a typical Wisconsin winter. The amount of humidity you would add via the dryer venting inside would be lucky to get you to 40%. Typically, mold concerns begin at around 50%. The great thing is that they have devices that can tell you how much humidity you have in the house and if it gets too high you can just stop doing it. If you are too cheap (frugal) to buy the RH meter, another good indicator is whether you have a lot of condensation on your windows. If you already have a lot of condensation, then adding more humidity wouldn’t be a good idea. The bigger issue is the Electric vs. Gas (NG or LP)dryer. Being generally risk adverse, I wouldn’t do it unless I had an electric dryer. If, on the other hand, you are a testosterone soaked risk taker, you could just invest in a Carbon Monoxide alarm and put it in the room where you are venting. You might also put one by your bedroom – we do want you have the opportunity to write volumes two and three of the trilogy.As to getting that warm moist air circulated through the house, most forced air furnaces have two settings on the fan – auto and on. If you turn the fan on, it will draw air in through the return vents and blow it out the supply vents through out the house.The fire issue is a real one and if you decide to go with this idea, you need to be faithful in cleaning whatever you are using as a filter. If all else fails, you could always improve the humidity situtation by cavorting naked through the house sparging water droplets from the tips of asparagus spears – wait, I don’t need that image – just buy an “April-Air” humdifier. Good luck

  61. Anonymous
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 2:48 AM | Permalink

    Really, there’s no need for all this – do you really want to risk mold and explosions? The answer, as I’ve mentioned before, is: Move to California…(and yes, we have squirrels here, too)

  62. arcaneja
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 6:22 AM | Permalink

    No comment on the diverter/lint thing since I live in Arizona, which is like Texas only put the whole shovel/towel thing in the re-burning machine from Penny Arcade.I’m here to ask why you haven’t mentioned the audio book of NotW yet?… or have you?http://www.amazon.com/Name-Wind-Library-Kingkiller-Chronicles/dp/1423389298/ ? Not that amazon is always accurate, but I figured I’d throw the link out there.

  63. Steve Saus
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

    I have a diverter in my house. It works great – for the first load. After that, the humidity starts to rise uncomfortably in the basement (condensation on the pipes, etc) that can cause its own problems.

  64. Peter Coffey
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 6:42 PM | Permalink

    So I’m online reading about dryer converters because my girlfriend told me to and when I get bored I think: “I haven’t read Pat’s blog in a while…” Imagine my surprise to find this topic of discussion. I thought I’d add my two cents since (heh) I was just researching it, but everyone’s said everything… so I won’t.

  65. Curt
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

    I grew up in Wyoming (another of those cold, dry, wintery “W” states) and my mom just attached an old pair of pantyhose on the end of the duct. Never a problem with lint/dust in the house. I have no suggestions about where YOU would get pantyhose, though…

  66. Gryffin
    Posted February 1, 2009 at 1:09 AM | Permalink

    Pat, when I was in college and enjoying Friday nights with my usual date, Rhonda, of USA’s “Up All Night”, I remember a product that was essentially a cap for your dryer vent hose with an integrated lint filter, so you could run it into the house. Though a buddy if mine came up with a low-tech alternative; he used a pair of his girlfriend’s pantyhose that had a run on one leg that she was going to throw out. He put the intact leg over the hose and held it in place with duct tape. Lint filtered; warm, moist air released into the house.

  67. Anonymous
    Posted February 1, 2009 at 4:34 AM | Permalink

    In New Zealand, I stayed in a motel that offered guests a drying room, instead of dryers. This was a small, hot room, with many racks on the wall to hang clothes on.It’s not as simple as your diversion approach, but you could just put a lot of heat directly into one room of your house, instead of into your dryer. You and your clothes could enjoy the warmth together. It would be like hanging at the laundromat, but w/o the WiFi.

  68. AM
    Posted February 1, 2009 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

    As others have suggested mold seems to be the main concern, if your basement isn´t build waterproof and if the air ventilation isn´t good blasting few gallons of water in there every week probably isnt the best of ideas.More interesting is the thought process behind this;when people see a ventilation hole they dont think “Look at that, a perfectly good wall and they cut a hole in it to let the warm air go out, must be pretty damn important.” No. They think the contractor and architect have surely been high, done it on spite or followed some arbitrary rule that dont apply to them. Then they proceed to mason the hole shut and enjoy the warm air that should have bee theirs in the first place.I am ofcouse as guilty of this as the next person but it pays to think about it few times and maybe consult a local contractor before starting to mix the cement.

  69. AndyB
    Posted February 1, 2009 at 7:43 PM | Permalink

    I was discussing this with my mom and she had an interesting thought. What happens when you heat synthetic fabrics (polyester, rayon, etc.) up to the high temperatures found in a dryer? Are any carcinogens emitted?

  70. Grapes
    Posted February 2, 2009 at 11:31 PM | Permalink

    Brandon,You would set fire to your house, and alas you and the squirrels would only be warm til it burnt out. Yellow stalagmites would then be the least of your problems! Nice try though.

  71. unique_stephen
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 12:49 AM | Permalink

    like bellybuttons – it’s all about the lint.

  72. Adam von Plentl
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 6:28 AM | Permalink

    You know, I’ve seen a lot of really good explanations so far in the comments. The fact of the matter is that everyone here is wrong. Its not the lint or the mold, or even the idea that its not conventional. The simple truth is that the squirrels would go postal on your ass if you took their sauna away.

  73. uberhausfrau
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

    pat,you pretty much hit the mark on texas summers. im a northern transplant down here and from may to september, i want to die and take the world with me. i just dont get how there can be 100% humidity when weve have 3 weeks of 100+ degree weather and havent gotten rain in two months. but it happens. ive named it living in satan’s asscrack.as for the dryer. you could skip it all together and air dry everything. the added moisture to the air will make the house appear warmer.

  74. Anonymous
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    I believe this is what you are looking for!http://www.polsteins.com/prod-0087159.html– Martin

  75. Contradictio In Terminis
    Posted February 3, 2009 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

    The reason is simple, if you’d have proper isolation you’d have a warm house (but hey, that’s rare to find). So the government thinks: people want warm houses, nice nd cosy, neat warm houses… they need to have heating installations…heating installations need a source to be driven so… we provide them with oil.then the second problem occurs…no more oil… the rest is history.since that war’s far from over, we’ll just have to do with the heat we get.Solution… come to Europe :p where everything is “quite” peacefull. And while you’re at it, you might be able to sign my first edition of The Name Of The Wind? ^_^

  76. Twilight
    Posted February 4, 2009 at 1:10 AM | Permalink

    umm….squirrel conspiracy?*distant sound of an evil laugh*

  77. Daniel
    Posted February 10, 2009 at 9:51 PM | Permalink

    Yeah everyone has mentioned the lint but its funny I work for a company that sells a cleaning kit for dryer lint.< HREF="http://www.rangekleen.com/blog/2008/09/03/dryer-lint-kleening-kit-new-product-announcement/" REL="nofollow">Check this out…<>

  78. Anonymous
    Posted February 14, 2009 at 4:02 AM | Permalink

    I propose building a sauna so that you and the squirrels can enjoy the warmth together =p.Pros.-No lint in house.-No mold.-No angry squirrels.(I hear they can be very nasty.)-Plus you can say you have a sauna.Cons.-lint in your sauna?-work to build sauna-if you really think about it a hot tub sounds cooler.

  79. lissa
    Posted March 7, 2009 at 2:13 AM | Permalink

    Hey pat, thanks for writing your expansive blog on not getting the book II done. I was referred to book I by an alum student of yours (she loves the book to pieces) and I have to admit I was bummed when I heard the book was delayed. Now however after reading this I realize how naive and spoiled I was about it I totally did not consider what extensive effort (both intellectually and emotionally) books of this magnitude take to write. Thank you so much for bringing such a rich and diverting work of fiction into my life. I am looking so forward to reading book II.Thanks againSincerely Lissa H

  80. Anonymous
    Posted April 27, 2009 at 2:18 AM | Permalink

    pantyhose to catch the lint ..worked in my 100 year old house in mn

  81. Anonymous
    Posted May 25, 2009 at 6:24 PM | Permalink

    If your a lazy shit like me you could go down to the dollar store and pick up several mesh drain traps. Slap them on the out hose to catch the lint and let the air vent into the room and then throw them away when the smell of burning lint becomes apparent. Not something to run while your asleep but it is a $1 build.

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