With winter now setting in (the snow plows made their first trip through Summit Park on Tuesday and it was 16oF on Wednesday morning), it’s time to shift thinking to skiing (in reality, my mind rarely shifts away from this). I mounted Dynafit’s on Emily’s rock skis on Wednesday night with hopes of getting a walk in the snow on Sunday.
I wanted to share my simple, low cost boot dryer. Our house is heated with a boiler so we are fortunate to have a small boiler room that stays very warm in the winter when the boiler is running. This room has always made a great drying room, but I had always wanted to design some type of fan that would force the warm air into the boots. It took several seasons before I finally got around to actually designing and building this.
Fan: The key component for the dryer was the fan. This was why I kept putting off building the dryer, I did not want to buy a fan. Eventually I learned that many models of dish washers have small electric fans in them for the dry cycle. I was able to go to an appliance repair shop and remove the fan from a dish washer in their junk pile (beware – I am told the fan is a very common component that burns out on dish washers so double check that the fan you take actually works).
Tubing and Couplers: The time consuming part of the boot dryer was spending time at the hardware store looking for various plastic tubing parts that I could use to attach the tubing, then reduce size to eventually split it out into 4 small tubes.
As you can see from the photos, I was not able to find the perfect tubing and coupler sizes, but I was able to find things that were snug and could easily be held together with hose clamps. I stepped this down from 1-1/2” to 1-1/4” to 1” and to a final size of 1/2” tubing to provide the air to the boots
Power: I had decided that I didn’t want to just plug the fan in and then have to unplug it (I was guaranteed to forget). I was hoping to find a 2 hour timer, but I was unable to find a low cost 2 hour timer, so I settled for a 1 hour timer (remember, my goal here was a low cost boot dryer). I used a cheap extension cord that I cut both ends off of, then wired it from the fan motor to the timer switch. I then used another extension cord with the female end cut off and ran it from the timer switch to the power source.
Boot Rack: I kept this easy and used a scrap piece of 2×4 with 3/4” dowels drilled and glued into the 2×4 at somewhere between a 30-45 degree angle. I rounded the ends of the dowels to ensure the boot liners wouldn’t get damaged.
I was able to easily mount the fan in my ceiling of my boiler room with 2 screws. I then attached the tubing across the ceiling and down the wall. I ran the smallest tubing up the dowels to blow into the boot. I kept this pretty simple (and ghetto) by just taping the tubing to the dowels. The rest of the tubing was attached to the walls and celling with a screw through the loose end of the hose clamps. I mounted the timer switch in a gang box directly behind the boot rack which was the most convenient location.
I built this boot dryer last January and after 3+ months of use last winter, I have been very happy with it. I find that typically the boots will dry in an hour, but when I remember, I try to set the dryer for another hour. I have also found this works great for shoes, hiking boots, gloves, etc.