Currently looking at a home which has a nice 2nd floor laundry. Vented dryer, nice rack for hanging clothes, etc.

However, it's in the center of the home and does not contain an HVAC (central air) vent. It does have a vent for the dryer. Is this a "code" problem or just poor design? I'm concerned that clothes may not dry properly without air circulation when hanging...and also in the dryer for that matter.


You can put a ceiling fan in pretty easily. I don't think it is a code violation or my garage laundry room in Florida would not be in compliance :) [it is not air conditioned]. I am pretty certain you only have to air condition living areas.


Although most are based on the National Building Code, code should always be assumed to be local. Pretty much every local regulating body has their own alterations. If you really do care about being in compliance, check with your local Building Inspector or appropriate department.

The Internet is NEVER the place for the correct answer to "is this code-compliant?", unless you include your municipal web site.

  • Great point...I guess I was just wondering if it "sounded" like a violation enough to do the research. It sounds like it's not one, but I'll find out for sure soon enough. Aug 31 '10 at 20:07
  • What mickeyf said many times over. There is also a question of when your house was built (or remodeled). A house needs to meet the code when it was built and inspected, not the code as it is today. We want you Safe. Meeting 'code' is a legal issue. Safety, protection and peace of mind, these are the real issues.
    – Some Guy
    Mar 24 '15 at 20:11

This is a code problem. You also have the issue with the hot, humid air ( MOLD? ) and the lint ( FIRE DANGER ).

Or did I mis-read this - is there a vent but just no central air vent?

  • 1
    Dryer vent yes...central air no. Sorry, my original question was not clear... Aug 31 '10 at 17:44
  • You can get a dryer vent that vents into a box with water. They are used in some apartments. Very common. Aug 31 '10 at 18:14
  • @0A0D - I think those are OK for an electric dryer, but probably not for a gas dryer. Aug 31 '10 at 20:14
  • @Eric: No, you can use it for a gas dryer. Just have to keep it clean otherwise you'll have carbon monoxide problems. Aug 31 '10 at 20:37
  • @Brian - I used to have one of those. OK in the winter. Horrible in the summer - just adds more heat to the inside of the house. When I replaced my dryer after many years, I got an electrician to move the outlet so I could vent outside properly, which I should have done years before. Jun 5 '17 at 1:35

HVAC vent is a no, you don't want laundry room exhaust moving throughout the entire home. A washer and dryer vent to move their exhaust out of the house, yes.

  • The question mentions that the drier is vented to the outside. The only question is whether it must be treated like a living area as far as HVAC requirements, and whether clothes hanging to dry will be a problem without circulating air.
    – fixer1234
    Jun 5 '17 at 1:54

I'd say, "No, an exhaust vent is not required."

The Code (IBC Section 1201.1) says spaces shall be ventilated by "either active or passive" means. However, you could argue that operable windows in the rest of the house could be "passive ventilation" for this interior space. (Weak, but acceptable.)

The code (IBC Section 1204.1) says space heating is required, except where the "purpose of the space is not associated with comfort." I'd say the purpose of a laundry room is not comfort.

Therefore, it's just bad design, not a code violation.


One reason you might not want one is mold. Warm, humid room with a potentially cold vent. When I sold my house, recently, the inspector listed the vent in the laundry room for replacement. Upon removing it, it was totally coated with black. If I had known, I would have cleaned it long before, but since we were selling, we obliged in replacing it (new vents are cheap).


I'd say no! No vent needed especially in the middle of the house. I keep ours closed off and even place a laundry basket on it because the dryer is sucking all the air out of the room and sending it all outside this is air i paid for to condition. Passive venting will take place under the door anyhow.

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