Installing a Dryer Vent

Dryer Vent Tube
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Overview
  • Skill Level: Intermediate

Installing a dryer vent is a fairly straightforward and easy product for the do-it-yourselfer. Before buying materials or making any plans, keep in mind that the smoother, shorter, and less restrictive you can make the run of vent tubing, the faster your clothes will dry. Shorter operating time also means that the dryer has to run less and that there will be less wear on your clothes. Also, keep in mind that lint build-up can lead to safety issues, so you want to install the dry vent, so it is serviceable for cleaning out lint.

If you are just connecting a new dryer in the same location as the previous one, it may be simply a matter of connecting the new appliance to venting that's already in place. For a new vent installation, though, you have a bit more work and planning to do. Check the manufacturer’s instructions before you decide which type of ducting to use. For example, the use of flex ducting is not recommended for use with some dryers.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Wall vent
  • Caulk gun

Materials

  • Dryer duct tubing
  • Clamps or aluminum tape for the joints
  • Pipe straps (for long runs)
  • Vent elbows
  • Exterior caulk

Instructions

  1. Plan Ahead

    Lay out the shortest and most direct route for the dryer vent. Make a list of the materials needed and the necessary length of the ducting. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the maximum length of the duct, depending on which type of ducting you use. For each elbow you plan to use, you have to subtract 4 to 10 feet from the maximum duct length. Check the manufacturer’s instructions, because installation can vary from model to model. Some building codes say 25 feet is the maximum ducting length, subtracting 5 feet for each elbow.

  2. Install the Wall Vent

    Measure first, and then try drilling a pilot hole before you get too committed to a certain location. After drilling the pilot hole, check that the wider final hole (4 1/2 inches wide) won't cut through a stud, joist, or sill plate.

    You will need to drill a 4 1/2-inch-diameter hole in the side of the house. This is easiest to drill with a large hole saw, unless it is a stucco wall, in which case you can use a series of small holes to outline the opening for the duct and then break it out. If you don't have a hole saw, you can also make this cut-out with a reciprocating saw or jigsaw.

    After cutting the hole, the vent tailpiece is inserted into the hole from the outside, and it is screwed in place and sealed with exterior caulk. 

  3. Measure and Cut Vent Tubing

    Measure the distance from the dryer to the vent. Set up any elbows or bends and get your measurements. If you are using rigid ducting, you will want to measure first and cut it to size before connecting the seams. Take care when handling rigid ducting, because it is very sharp—especially after being cut. Wear gloves to protect your hands. Once the ducting is cut to size, align the seams by starting from one end and pushing both sides down and in, forcing them together.

    Tip

    There are male and female ends to rigid ducting. When connecting, make sure the male end is going toward the outside vent. This help keep lint from building up at the connections.

  4. Connect the Duct

    If you are using aluminum flex ducting, use a piece of pipe to roll the rounded edges of the flex on the concrete. This will flatten the ends, so it is easy to slide them onto both the dryer vent tailpiece and the wall vent. Once the ducting is in position, you can use clamps to tighten both ends. If you are using rigid ducting, use aluminum tape to fasten it to the vent outlet and dryer tailpiece. If there are long runs of ducting, make sure to strap the duct to the wall or ceiling joists for support; don’t count on the seam tape holding the weight of the ducting.

  5. Test the Dryer

    Double check to make sure that the ducting did not become kinked or disconnected when the dryer was pushed into position. Run the dryer and make sure that the joints are all connected and that the duct louvers open up on the outside of the house.