We all know that the Building Codes are “minimum” standards.
There are hundreds of examples of where these minimum standards are not really acceptable in practicality. Take dryer vent locations as an example. Dryer vents are allowed to terminate on the roof of a 3 story townhouse—where it is the responsibility of the owner to maintain it. I have seen them on roofs with a 12/12 pitch—that is a 45 degree angle for those of you that are not carpenters or roofers. Even I don’t normally walk on roofs this steep.
How exactly is anyone supposed to keep these things cleaned on a roof this high or this steep? Why isn’t the location regulated by the codes? Perhaps when someone falls off a roof some day, it will find its way into the building code.
I frequently find these vent caps clogged with lint and the damper stuck open. Not only do clogged dryer vents represent a fire hazard they can also be a pathway for moisture and critters into the ductwork. Here is a picture of a dryer cap found on a 3-story townhouse roof.
When buying Townhouses and Condos it is a good idea to set up a maintenance schedule to keep these caps maintained, or to make sure the Homeowner Association has one in place, for keeping these vents clean and functional. It can sometimes be difficult to find a licensed tradesperson willing to do this type of maintenance—due to liability. I certainly would not want to be recommending maintenance by the homeowner! On the Planet Charles, these vent caps would not be allowed on Townhouse roofs, or really steep roofs and would be required to be located some place “accessible.”
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