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I recently moved into a new house purchased by my friend/roommate/landlord. I plan on setting up my electronics workshop in the basement laundry area this weekend. Although there is plenty of space, the windows are sealed-up glass blocks so there is no ventilation other than the exhaust for the gas dryer. Because I'll be doing a lot soldering, I'd really like to come up with a way to vent those fumes to the outside.

My first thought was to tap into the semi-rigid duct running from the gas dryer to the outside. I could add a new duct with an exhaust fan and even rig it up so that opening/closing the vent also acts as power on/off for the fan.

My second thought was that this could be a really bad idea. As far as I know, dryer exhaust leaking into basement could be much worse than solder fumes, and this seems like the sort of thing I should not be DIY'ing, especially in someone else's house.

My question: Is there a way to do this safely? Or should I see about creating a dedicated exhaust?

  • Your second thought seems pretty smart to me. Gas driers use that vent for the gas fumes as well as moisture. Messing with it could be bad. – Grant Oct 29 '16 at 15:28
  • I would say if the dryer has electronic ignition (no pilot) and you don't use the solder station while using the dryer it could be done with a solid damper on the soldering station. I would want a y connection not a T so the air is directed out and possibility back into the dryer. – Ed Beal Oct 29 '16 at 21:17
  • What exactly is a "solid" damper? Does that have to do with whether or not the airflow is adjustable? – P Fitz Oct 30 '16 at 14:34
  • The dryer does use an electronic ignition so I'm in good shape there. Your point about the Y connection makes a lot of sense. The outlet to the outside is just below the ceiling so it looks like that is where I would put it. Thank you for the reply. If you'd like to put it below as the answer, I'd be happy mark this one as answered. – P Fitz Oct 30 '16 at 14:38
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Bad idea, you should run a separate vent line.

The dryer could overpressurize the duct, preventing your solder fumes from exausting, or could cause gasses from the dryer to flow toward your workbench. Sure, you could engineer something that works, but the better answer is to isolate the exaust streams.

Dryer ducts can clog, especially at junctions, so you could have it work fine today, but stop working over time /because/ you added turbulence. Turbulence will increase the amount of dryer dust that is deposited at the site of turbulence. So joining that line could cause a new problem you don't have now.

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