Mechanized clothes dryers were first invented in 19th century England and have since been modernized. In the past 80 years, the dryer has become a staple in American households. However, for it to operate safely and effectively, a dryer vent to the outside is essential.
If you’re curious about the process for dryer vent installation and how to install a dryer vent yourself, keep reading.
Why Are Dryer Vents Important?
Installing a dryer vent helps to remove the warm, moist air that’s created from forced heat evaporating the water from your freshly washed laundry. This air must have somewhere to escape as the dryer’s output can mix with hazardous gases (i.e., carbon monoxide) that are a byproduct of combustion. Skipping dryer vent installation is dangerous, and as such, this guide will teach you how to install a high-quality dryer vent properly.
How to Install a Dryer Vent
1. Determine the path of the ventilation duct
When installing a dryer vent, your first step is mapping out the path of the duct. Here are the top tips to ensure successful installation.
- The duct should be as short as possible while fulfilling other guidelines.
- The typical maximum-allowable duct run is 25 feet.
- The two factors impacting this are the model and the type of dryer duct piping.
- Subtract 5 feet for each 90-degree turn and 2 ½ feet for each 45-degree turn in the path.
- Account for distance adjustments created by any dryer pedestals.
- Elevating the dryer can decrease the vertical length of the ductwork by increasing the height of the dryer.
- Opt for a 4-inch rigid metal duct pipe (rather than the common flexible vinyl or metal tubing used for decades) as this is the safer option.
- Seal duct joints using foil duct tape.
- Never use sheet metal screens because the fasteners can catch lint, which is a fire hazard.
- Never vent your dryer into a garage or another enclosed space.
- Dryers expel carbon monoxide — an odorless, colorless gas that is dangerous when it accumulates. It can be harmlessly vented into the open air.
- When installing a dryer vent in basement locations, be sure to keep the vent hood at least 12 inches off the ground.
2. Cut the vent hood opening
Once you’ve determined the shortest route for the ductwork, you should then determine the location of the dryer vent exit. Mark a circle where the opening will be from the inside of your home using a section of a vent pipe. Next, drill a test hole in the center of the marked circle using a power drill fitted with a 1/4-inch pilot that will reach the outside. Place the vent cap over the hole, on the high point of the siding, and double-check its position.
If it looks good, and you’re sure you’re not cutting through plumbing, wiring, or ductwork, fit your drill with a hole-saw attachment or a masonry bit to finish the job.
3. Install the dryer vent hood
Now that you’ve cut the hole, secure the cap with the provided screws and caulk around the edges to protect the elements. Do not caulk along the bottom as you want any moisture that gets behind the hood to be able to escape.
4. Measure, cut, and assemble the vent
The next step is cutting the rigid dryer duct pipe that will connect your dryer with the exit point. As you won’t know what shape you need until you map out the duck path, this will depend on your situation. Just make sure you wear gloves when handling and assembling the cut pieces of duct pipe. The freshly cut edges are extremely sharp!
5. Secure the vent ducts and test
Secure the vent ducts using foil tape around the seams to seal the connections. Avoid using screws as these can collect lint inside. Once everything is attached and secured, slide the dryer back into place and use a level to ensure it rests flat on the floor. Finally, turn on the dryer to check the flow of the dryer vent installation. You should also check outside to make sure that the flap on the vent is operating properly.
Are you ready to tackle dryer vent installation? Start shopping for a high-quality dryer vent at Copperlab. Without proper venting, you could be exposing your home and loved ones to unnecessary risk. Don’t wait!