What I'm Seeing Now


When The Dryer Vents Through The Roof - Very Difficult At Best

When the dryer vents through the roof - very difficult at best.

This has become more and more common in recent years.  And it is a pet peeve of mine.

Dryer vents through the roof have built-in problems.  Homeowners are set up for problems from the start.

And this is the problem - dryer vents always clog.

Sooner or later!

They must be cleaned regularly.

However, when they vent through the roof they are essentially out of sight.

Out of sight, out of mind.

And I find that many homeowners have NO IDEA their dryer vents through the roof, or that they need regular cleaning!

Why am I peeved by the roof venting technique?

Common sense!

1.  It is hard to see.  Being on the roof sometimes makes it well over 100' from where it is visible from the ground. 

2.  Being on the roof, sometimes very high or on a very steep location, it is difficult at best to clean.  The homeowner has to schlep up there, or hire someone else to do it.  Then the contractor must be trusted to actually clean the opening well.

3.  The vent through the roof has the exhaust opening very close to the roof surface.  A light snowfall can stop it up!

To me this seems to be common sense.  But not to others, especially to builders!

But what's other the problem on this roof?

Unfortunately here the "ventilation professional" did not understand that bathroom vent covers SHOULD NOT be used for dryers.

Key words:  "ventilation professional."

Can you see the clog inside?

Obviously that is full of lint.

This house is 11 years old.  What do you bet there is 11 years of lint build up in there!

People ask HOW OFTEN their dryer vent should be cleaned.

The answer is simple.  When it looks like there is lint build up!

And it depends!  It depends on what kind of clothing people wear, how many people are in the house, how often they do wash, etc.  It depends on lots of things!

But when the dryer exhausts onto the roof it is plain and simple:


So, with all this difficulty why put the dryer vent through the roof?

Because it is easy.  It is quick.  It is more convenient.

For whom?

Think carefully.

My recommendation:  if you see that your dryer vents through the roof, then, after pulling your hair out, check it regularly!  And make sure the exhaust port is not one made for bathrooms!  Then, if it needs cleaning, clean it!  This is according to the National Fire Prevention Association, which article you can read HERE in its entirety:   "In 2010, clothes dryers and washing machines accounted for 4.5% of all reported home structure fires, 1.9% of associated civilian deaths, 2.8% of associated civilian injuries, and 3.1% of associated direct property damage."  Reason enough.



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 16 commentsJay Markanich • August 27 2015 01:24AM


Yikes....don't' kow any homeowners who climb their roofs on a regular basis...or any basis...and hw many were even aware that this IS an option for venting dryers ?

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 5 years ago

Good morning Jay.   My home has the dryer vent in the roof.  It was brought to our attention by the inspector.  

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) almost 5 years ago

The "vent termination" is plain wrong. That is an attic roof vent. The only purpose that vent is made for is to vent the attic.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Getting homeowners to clean vents at ground level is difficult enough, getting the roof vent clean seems impossible. 

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) almost 5 years ago

I haven't seen dryers being vented on the roof, but that would definitely be cause for concern!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) almost 5 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Thanks for the tip. Something to keep an eye on with a second floor laundry.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) almost 5 years ago

Jay, common practice in Florida. Have mine cleaned yearly! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) almost 5 years ago



Right on. I also remind my clients that the silver duct that attaches to the dryer will burn. I give them a UL approved non-flammable duct.

Posted by David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation, Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential (Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC ) almost 5 years ago

I remember a tough one with an interior 3 story townhome with the dryer in a center froom on the middle level.  That's just bad architecture. 

That house had wavy hardwood floors on the mail level too.  Those we had fixed.  The dryer vent?  Not so lucky. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 5 years ago

Imagine that, S&D.  Homeowners not wanting to climb up on their roofs!  The first time I saw this was in an "active adult" community and my client was in her 70s and in her last house.  When I showed her the vent she immediately got it and said she should not be expected to have to climb up there to unclog it.

Pay close attention, James!

Jim - agreed.  Around here those caps were historically used for scoop vents.  However, scoop vents are very seldom used around here.  But somehow, over the last decade, those caps were approved for bathroom vent openings and I see them almost exclusively used now in new construction.

You are right about that Tom!  I visit that storyline every week!


Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

It was for me ever since the first time I saw one Kat.  See my first comment above.

Raymond - a vent opening through the side of the house, even if high, is more accessible and more safe.

Good for you Wayne.  And keep on keeping on.

David - vents have gone from plastic, to Mylar, to metal for a reason.  The NFPA (the organization in the post) is regularly on top of this.


Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

That's nonsensical Lenn.  But for whom is it easier?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Ugh, another roof protrusion! Me like when laundry room is on an outside wall so it can be vented dirsctly through the wall to the outside. I guess that makes too much sense...


Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) almost 5 years ago

Not to you and to me, Fred, but to many others such a vent is nonsensical!

Let's go through the roof instead!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

I recently had a buyer purchase a condo that had the dryer venting INTO the guest room closet! Not outside but into the closet! We removed the dryer.

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) almost 5 years ago

Well, Barbara-Jo, it saves having to put your clothing into the dryer to heat it up on the morning!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

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