Gas Dryer Install
For those who want to install a gas-powered dryer, Richard Trethewey has some advice
We have a gas furnace and want to run another gas line up to our laundry room so we can use a gas dryer. Is this something we can do ourselves?
—Alison Schmalzigan, Arvada, CO
In a word, no. Most municipalities require this sort of work to be done by a licensed plumber. And even if your town has no explicit rules against DIY installations, the risk of an explosion or fire is too great to even think about doing this work yourself.
Having said that, you do have a few installation options to consider. For instance, there’s more than one way to pipe gas through a home. The traditional method—the one I prefer in most cases—uses lengths of rigid, black iron pipe. (Actually, it’s made of mild steel with a black iron-oxide coating.) These inexpensive pipes are threaded on both ends; they connect to threaded fittings sealed with pipe dope.
Another option is corrugated stainless-steel (CSST) gas pipe. Because it’s flexible, no intermediate fittings are needed: One end connects to the gas line, the other connects to the appliance. CSST is more expensive than black pipe, but the labor it saves in certain long-run or retrofit situations may outweigh the extra cost. Note: CSST’s thin walls are vulnerable to electrical arcing during a lightning strike, so building codes require this pipe to be connected—“bonded”—to the house ground.
The venting of gas dryers is also strictly regulated. They have to be vented to the outside through a 4-inch duct no more than 35 feet long (less if there are bends), and the exhaust vent can’t be any closer than 3 feet from a window. The safest duct is smooth-wall, 26-gauge galvanized steel. Flexible duct can be used only if it’s UL-listed—look for the UL 2158A marking—and no more than 8 feet long.
Shown: Richard Trethewey shows homeowner Haven Nichols the flexible 4-foot appliance connector that conveys gas from a rigid iron pipe to his dryer. These connectors don’t need to be grounded.