How to Install a Dryer Vent
Time Required: 2-4 hours
Inside your dryer, forced heat - whether produced by natural gas, propane or electricity - dries your clothes. It's crucial to have an efficiently working dryer vent to remove the moist air from your home. The output from the dryer may be mixed with hazardous gases such as carbon monoxide, which is a byproduct of combustion.
Safety: Dryer vent piping is normally made of 4-inch diameter, rigid sheet metal. Flexible vinyl cannot be used because it doesn't support its weight, and lint that collects in low spots presents a fire hazard. Seal joints with foil duct tape. Never use sheet metal screws; they will catch lint.
Tools & Materials
- Locate the shortest route for the duct exit.
- Measure the path to determine the amount of duct needed. Use no more than 25 feet of 4-inch duct; subtract 5 feet for every 90-degree turn and 2.5 feet for each 45-degree turn.
- Measure the location of your dryer vent exit and mark a circle where the opening will be in the interior of your home. For basement installation, the vent should be a minimum of 12 inches above the ground.
- Drill a test hole in the center of the marked circle.
- Check inside and outside to be sure there isn’t anything blocking the intended dryer duct installation spot. Plug the hole and re-drill if necessary.
- If you are installing a dryer vent through a finished wall, remove a small section and check to be sure you won’t be cutting through any wiring, plumbing or ductwork.
- Use a 4 ¼-inch hole saw to cut the hood opening.
- If cutting through stucco or brick, use a hammer drill and a 1/4-inch masonry bit to create both the pilot hole and to cut out the vent hole.
- For masonry, drill closely-spaced holes around the circumference of circle marking the opening. Then chip the masonry away with a chisel.
Tip: The three most typical clothes dryer venting options are: dryer seated on the basement floor with duct running up block wall and out joist; dryer seated on slab with duct extended straight out of the back; and dryer in an interior room with duct exiting out through the roof. Position the dryer along an exterior wall to keep the vent as short as possible.
- Depending on the location of your vent, you may require an elbow to connect to the hood duct. You may have one or two elbows back-to-back to complete the run.
- Attach the rigid duct lengths to the elbow.
Safety: When cutting rigid dryer ducting, wear leather gloves to protect your hands. The duct metal is extremely sharp and even light contact with an edge can cause injury.
- Insert an elbow over the dryer vent outlet.
- Connect the rigid duct pipe to the elbow and secure the seam with foil tape.
- Slide the dryer back into place and level using a carpenter's or bubble level.
- Adjust the dryer legs and lock into place by tightening the locknut against the dryer.