How to Install a Dryer Vent

by Brett Thomas

If you’re lucky your home is already set up to vent the clothes dryer, but maybe you are finishing the basement and moving the laundry room, or you have some other arrangement where this becomes a necessary task.  Though there are a lot of ways to go wrong performing this installation, with the right guidelines this is a fairly easy job for the novice do-it-yourselfer.

Installing Dryer Vent in 10 Steps

  • You may have an existing port to the exterior, but if not  you will want to check outside for obstructions to ensure it’s a safe place for a vent.  If everything is in order then mark the spot where you will drill.
  • You will need the proper venting parts and accessories.  Most commonly homeowners use aluminum duct.  Make sure you get the right length of straight and/or flexible duct, all the fittings you’ll need, like elbows and the dryer vent hood.
  • Drill a pilot hole in the center of where you intend to feed the duct to the exterior of the home.  You will get a better look at where the vent will be located and can reposition it without to much trouble, if need be.  You will want to be careful in checking for wiring.
  • Typically you will want to measure for a 4.25″ diameter hole to accommodate the traditional 4″ diameter dryer vent hood.  If you have a different size, then drill accordingly.  We recommend a hole saw for the job.  You will want to go in and out fairly frequently to allow the bit to cool and also remove debris like insulation.  If you have stucco you can do it the old fashioned way by drilling holes along the circumference of the measurement and then bang the hole out with a hammer and chisel.
  • Now cover the hole in your wall by installing the dryer vent and sealing it with caulking sealant from inside and outside.
  • If you have the vent placed in close proximity to the dryer you may be able to get away with just using flexible duct the rest of the way (skip to step 9).  If you have a significant distance to cover you will likely need to attach the lower and upper elbows on the dryer duct and vent, respectively.
  • Measure with overlap from the upper to the lower elbow and cut your straight duct accordingly.  We recommend using gloves while working with duct in this fashion because of the sharp edges.
  • flexible dryer duct

    You might want to clean it from time to time. Now that we’re on the topic, if this is an exterior wall, then this is the ultimate setup. They completely avoided having to run a long length of straight duct. It goes right outside. You may not be so lucky.

    Connect the straight duct with pipe straps.  Ironically duct tape does not work well with duct as the adhesive doesn’t last.  With straps and elbows, you can create any configuration you need to work around obstacles in venting to the outside, but if you can do it in a straight line you’re making your life easier.

  • You will want to connect the straight duct to the clothes dryer with flexible duct because it is so much easier to detach and re-attach if you need to move anything around for cleaning or whatever.
  • Ensure secure connections from the dryer to the vent and check the exterior to see that the vent flap is functioning properly.

That’s it!  Those are the 10 steps.  Now you know how to install a dryer vent and knowing is half the battle.  Please leave your comments and questions. Take pictures of your project and submit them to our blog!

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