dryer vent
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How to Upgrade a Dryer Vent

A quick and easy way to enhance the efficiency and safety of your clothes dryer

The good news: The 4-inch white plastic or aluminum-foil exhaust ducting commonly used to connect a clothes dryer to an outside vent is easy to install, its spiraled-wire interior is extremely strong and flexible and, at 50 cents to $1 per foot, this hoselike product is inexpensive. But the ducting isn't the best choice: It doesn't do a good job of exhausting hot air and, in some cases, it can be dangerous.

The ribbed, corrugated surface inside the pipes acts like hundreds of tiny speed bumps, disrupting and slowing the airflow. As a result, it takes longer to dry clothes, wasting energy and money. In addition, the interior traps lint, which also reduces airflow and, in extreme cases, overloads the motor and shortens the life of the dryer. More important, an accumulation of lint is a fire hazard. In a gas dryer, a lint fire can melt the plastic ducting and start a house fire. For this reason, building codes prohibit using it, and owner's manuals warn against it.


Steps // How to Upgrade a Dryer Vent
1 ×

Upgrading a Dryer Vent

 
Step One // How to Upgrade a Dryer Vent

Upgrading a Dryer Vent

Upgrading a Dryer Vent

The solution is to install a rigid-metal vent pipe. Its smooth interior creates very little air resistance, which makes the dryer more efficient, and discourages lint buildup. We replaced an 8-foot-long plastic flex hose with a smooth-metal vent and shaved 10 minutes off the drying time of a full load of clothes.

 
2 ×

Pull the dryer away from the wall

 
Step Two // How to Upgrade a Dryer Vent

Pull the dryer away from the wall

dryer vent

First, carefully pull the dryer away from the wall and disconnect the power cord. (If it's gas-fired, be sure to close the gas valve as well.) Next, use a screwdriver or nut driver to loosen the band clamp that secures the plastic vent to the exhaust outlet. Pull the vent off the outlet and vacuum away any lint you find inside the dryer. Then, disconnect the other end of the plastic vent from the ducting that goes outside. Again, use a vacuum cleaner to clear lint out of the round duct.

 
3 ×

Tighten the clamp

 
Step Three // How to Upgrade a Dryer Vent

Tighten the clamp

dryer vent step 2

Slip a metal band clamp over the lower end of the periscope box vent and press it onto the exhaust outlet. Holding the vent steady, tighten the clamp with a screwdriver until it feels snug.

 
4 ×

Attach the periscope

 
Step Four // How to Upgrade a Dryer Vent

Attach the periscope

dryer vent

Grab hold of the upper section of the periscope and lift up until it's a couple of inches above the back of the dryer. Plug in the power cord (turn the gas back on if necessary) and carefully push the dryer back against the wall.

 
5 ×

Join the box vent to the overhead duct

 
Step Five // How to Upgrade a Dryer Vent

Join the box vent to the overhead duct

dryer vent

All that's left to do now is to join the box vent to the overhead duct with the vent kit. Start by attaching the lower flex vent to the periscope box vent. Secure the elbow with a band clamp.

 
6 ×

Attach a 90-degree elbow

 
Step Six // How to Upgrade a Dryer Vent

Attach a 90-degree elbow

dryer vent

Then slip a band clamp onto the overhead duct, insert the male end of the 90-degree elbow into the duct and tighten the clamp.

 
7 ×

Finish

 
Step Seven // How to Upgrade a Dryer Vent

Finish

dryer vent

Next, pull up on the lower flex vent and tug down on the upper vent until the two ends meet midway between the dryer and ceiling. The ends of the vents have specially designed quick-lock fittings that snap together—no band clamp is needed.

After you've made all of the necessary connections, it's time to test out the revamped vent system. Turn on your dryer and verify that air is blowing through the vent hood that's mounted on the outside of your house.

 
 
 

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