Condo Blues: The One Thing You AREN’T Doing to Save Money on Your Heating Bill but Should!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The One Thing You AREN’T Doing to Save Money on Your Heating Bill but Should!

In 2008, my husband and I started a year long project to reduce our utility bills by what we though was a too lofty goal of 20% with cheap home improvements and new habits. We beat our original goal and reduced our electricity and natural gas our use by 32%!

We’ve kept our yearly average lower than comparable size energy efficient rated homes in our area for 10 years running and with all of the things that make life worth living: holiday lights, electronics, and toasty warm toes in the dead of winter.

So while my heating bill stayed low and the rest of the house is toasty warm (thanks in no small part to adding weather stripping like this to the bottom on my window sashes installing a programmable thermostat like this one and using it) my laundry room was always colder than the rest of the house. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

the one thing you MUST do to save money on your energy bill
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It wasn’t until I cleaned my dryer vent last week that I found the answer – my builder grade dryer vent and duct was so full of gaps it was like I left a window wide open in the dead of winter!

what you must do in the laundry room to reduce your energy bill and use
Keep reading I'll teach you how to fix it so you use less energy 
and lower your energy bill the quick and easy way!

I found an issue outside of my house that was raising my energy use too.

There is a plastic flap on most dryer vent caps hot air from the dryer pushes open to escape and is supposed to close afterwards to keep animals out.  Unfortunately the flap in this type of dryer vent cap often becomes coated in dryer lint and stays propped open. Not only was I losing massive amounts of heated air from my house but it was also a fire hazard.

how to save 10 percent on your energy bill the easy way
I took the plastic cage that keeps animal out off the dryer vent cap for this photo so you can see how dryer lint buildup keeps the vent from closing.

I cleaned dry lint from the vent and vent cap using a  dryer vent brush like this one . The plastic air flap still doesn't seal closed.

I’m told that is common for this type of dryer vent cap. Since I had to seal those massive air gaps in the wall around the dryer duct, I figured it was time to replace the dryer vent cap with an energy efficient, easy to clean, and no clog dryer vent cap is quick, and easy, and well worth the 20 dollar investment. Here’s how.

How to Install an Energy Efficient, Easy to Clean, No Clog Dryer Vent Seal

A dryer vent seal is a dryer vent cap that has a floating value that opens when the dryer is in use that will not clog open with dryer lint or freeze open during the winter.

how to install an energy efficient dryer vent
Experts say this type of dryer vent cap can save you up to 10% on your heating and cooling bills. 
I like the sound of that!

You will need:

No clog dryer vent seal -  I ordered mine on line because I couldn't buy locally (this is the exact dryer vent seal I used here)


Non flammable expanding spray foam insulation

This is how I installed a new dryer vent on my house for an electric dryer. I don’t know if the procedure is the same for a gas dryer. If you are not comfortable with working on a project that will experience the high heat of a dryer and vent please contact a pro.

Step by Step How to Do it Tutorial:

1. Disconnect the inside dryer vent hose from the vent opening in the wall of your house.
Since I had the laundry room torn apart, I installed a Metal Dryer Dock like this that connects my metal dryer vent hose from the dryer to the dryer vent in the wall with a twist and a click instead of the frustration of trying to do the same thing with a hose clamp. My dryer is heavy to move and the dryer hose such a pain to connect is the reason why I didn’t discover this massive, energy and money sucking situation in my house until recently.
Caution: Experts recommend that you only use a metal dryer hose to connect your dryer to the vent in the wall because plastic, vinyl, and foil dryer hoses are extremely flammable! Check your local building code for the type of dryer hose your area requires.

2. Use the screwdriver to unscrew and remove the old dryer vent cap from the outside of the house. While you’re at it you might as well clean any lint build up you find in and around the dryer vent with a dryer vent brush.

Tip: Don’t worry too much if you also pull the metal dryer duct tube out of the wall when you remove the old dryer vent cap. You can easily slip it back into place through the holes in the inside and outside walls of your house after you attach the new dryer vent seal cap to it in Step 3.
3. Use the non flammable silicone caulk or expanding spray foam insulation in a can to seal any gaps around the rigid dryer vent and the wall of your house if needed. You can also do this step at the end if you desire.

how to seal air leaks and reduce your energy bill
If you have huge gaps like I do, you should use spray foam insulation otherwise should be able to use silicone caulk.

4. Attach the metal dryer vent duct to the new dryer vent cap and line up the flat elbow of the dryer vent cap with the metal dryer duct and use the screwdriver and screws to attach it to the outside of your house. The metal dryer duct tube should slip onto or into the elbow of the dryer vent seal depending upon the type you use.

how to install a dryer vent
See how my metal duct fits into the dryer vent? Yours may vary.

6. Snap the top of the dryer vent seal onto the lower elbow you attached to the wall.

how to install a dryer vent
Almost done!

7. Use the screwdriver to attach the top of the dryer vent cap to the side of your house.  I didn’t want to remove the vinyl siding on my house to complete this step so I skipped it.

8. Wait until the caulk/foam as cured per the instructions on the package before you use your dryer.

9. Keep in the heat and lower your heating and cooling bill!

I felt an almost immediate difference in the temperature of the laundry room and really wished I did it sooner!

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