How to Vent a Dryer

Proper dryer venting for safety and efficiencey!

Almost no other dryer maintenance is as important as the venting system.   Poorly vented dryers run hot, and take a long time to dry.   

Clogged or plugged vents and vent hoods account for drastically reduced efficiency in dryers and should be on a regular maintenence schedule.  Click here for cleaning instructions.

Dryers also present a fire hazard.  Lint is made up of cotton and polyester fibers that can ignite easily and burn rapidly.  These fires are the cause of many house fires and can be avoided with proper installation of dryer vents.

Dryer vents should be inspected regularly to determine the correct installation and operation.

Older dryer venting that is brittle, crimped, bent, or otherwise compromised should be replaced.   Dryer vent should be replaced on a regular schedule unless it is rigid aluminum.  Flexible venting may fail over time due to collapse and bent sections.

Special venting is available for tight fits and low clearance.  These products should be used to insure proper dryer operation and for safety.

Venting through indoor drying is recommended only if standard methods cannot be used and only in dryer climates.   This venting creates moisture and should not be used in humid climates.  

Click here to review safety procedures for working on appliances.

Outside dryer Vent Solutions

There are a variety of vents available.  There are some that increase the efficiency of the dryer.  It is important to service the vent to make sure that it is operating properly.   This includes a 2 or 3 times a year schedule to make sure that the vent is clear and the closer is working properly.  

Some have a flapper that closes when the dryer is not operating.  It is very important that this flapper is working properly because it closes the vent and does not allow outside air infiltrations which could be costly in a heated or cooled area.   

Some have other devices that close the vent, the most common is a ball on the end of the pipe that floats when the dryer is operating and settles into the end of the pipe when the dryer is off.  This is typically the most efficient as it closes the best.

Screens on vents need to be cleaned regularly to allow maximum air flow.

Inside Dryer Vent Solutions

A typical installation is a through the wall rigid vent pipe, connected to an outside vent hood.   This application will work for all dryers with a through the wall application. 

Sometimes the clearance is restricted.  The good news is that there are several products the reduce the clearance by either telescoping or using the wall for the connections.   For reduced clearance applications, install one of these options.

There are products that make the connections easier.  Once installed, vent connectors make it very easy to check the connections and disassemble for cleaning.

Dryer Vent Clamp Selection

When installing new vent, be sure to use some decent clamps.  This will make all the difference in the installation and will make it easier to connect the vent hose.  

I do not like the plastic zip tie type of clamp, it is very difficult to get them tight enough.  Releasing them is a chore as well. 

Spring clamps are the easiest to use and do a good job.  They are simple to use and adjust, sometimes the spring handles won't clear the dryer vent.  Check to see if you have enough room for these.

Screw down clamps are the most effective but are harder to use.  If you use these, try to have a nut driver that will turn the screw down mechanism, this makes it much easier to secure them.  The screw down clamps get the tightest connection.

Selecting Dryer Vent Hose

Some care should be taken to select dryer vent hose.   Too many times, vent used is the plastic vinyl type.  This is not rated for dryers, but it is cheap and easy to work with.  Try to select the aluminum type.

If you have turns and connections that are difficult to connect, the flexible vent is a good choice since it is easy to work with in some situations.  

Semi-Rigid is the best choice for easy through the wall installations since it is less likely to collapse or be blocked, you must use screw down type clamps, the other clamps will not achieve a tight fit.

Installation and Connection Kits

There are a variety of kits available to connect a dryer.   These kits normally include everything that is necessary to make a connection.

Sometimes circumstances dictate the type of installation you will be using.   There are a variety of installation methods to use.   The venting inside the room kits are effective but add moisture to the room and should be used as a temporary solution to a problem installation.

The heat saver type of vent kit is great for capturing heat but remember it also adds moisture, this one actually has a bypass flapper built in.  You can use it in dry cold weather to re capture heat, and it can be vented outside in warmer weather or humid conditions.  

Save Money with Dryer Options

If you want to save money (who doesn't?), consider drying some things with a rack or retractable line.

Racks are great because they are portable and can be folded up for storage. Consider using one of these for at least some of your laundry, it will save big time on the dryer bill.

Plastic clothes pins are great because they don't have any rusting parts and are not affected by moisture. A big advantage of these are that they can be used as bag closers for potato chips and and cracker bags and they look a whole lot better than the wooden ones.

Save Money by Extracting Water

Spin dryers, both the mini and the larger versions extract water from clothes and dramatically shorten dry times.

The mini is very useful when you are hand washing items, especially those items that you do not want to wring out.   These useful little machines make hand washing a breeze and the items can easily be dried by using the dryer or hanging the items.

The larger versions can shorten the dry time in the dryer by 2/3.  This is an awesome way to save on the electric bill.  If you have room for one of these things, it will pay for itself in no time.

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Comments 30 comments

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

I just bought a new washer and dryer. They vented my dryer but the laundry room seems so hot. What can I do?

Wealthmadehealthy profile image

Wealthmadehealthy 6 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

What a find. I am just getting ready to put new vent hose on my dryer, and the house I moved to has the connection way up on the wall to the outside, I am glad I found this hub....

BPop....check to make sure the hose is not clogged and there is good ventilation in the laundry room...they may have crimped the vent somehow and the hot air is not escaping through it That happened to me once. Good luck!!

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Hey breakfastpop, that sounds a little wrong. First of all it is probably some kind of air flow problem. Go outside and check to see what the air flow is. It should be a good strong airflow that keeps the vent open during the operation of the dryer. Make sure that it is not clogged.

If that is ok, then check behind the dryer to see if the dryer vent is securely attached to both the dryer and the vent.

Do you vent through the wall? Or does it go from the center of the house, under the house, or through the attic?

Most slow drying and overheating problems are due to clogged or plugged air vent.

Check to make sure the vent is not kinked or bent behind the dryer. If the vent is a long run, more than 6 feet, it may need to be thoroughly cleaned. Installers do not do this, they simply install the appliances. The vent is your responsibility, so you are going to have to check it out.

Give me a little more information so I can help troubleshoot the problem with you. Also, do not try to get me to drink another one of your milk shakes. LOL

Hope this helps.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

wealthmadehealthy You are so right about the crimping and blockage. Glad you found this hub useful. Thanks for leaving a comment.

justom profile image

justom 6 years ago from 41042

Steveo you are the man. You have a bunch of useful info. If stuff goes wrong I count on your hubs to help me out. Good hub, as usual :-) Peace!! Tom

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Hey justom, always appreciate your visits. Thanks for leaving a comment. Glad you find this stuff useful.

Peace to you too. Steve

agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 6 years ago from Indonesia

Thank you for the info. A dryer will be long lasting with a proper ventilation.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

agusfanini You are so right. The dryer will last longer with proper venting and ventilation.

wilderness profile image

wilderness 6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

Thanks for the hub, Steve - it is right on the mark. I seldom check the dryer vent as I should and it will now be on to-do list for the near future.

We have switched to a front load washer and find that the clothes are much drier when coming out of the washer, and that shortens drying time considerably. It all helps the electric bill!

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

wilderness You are so right....keep that vent cleaned out. Also correct on the front loader, this is one of the main advantages. Thanks for reading.

dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Great advice!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

My dryer is as old as Methusaleh and I have almost no problems with it ever. The gasket around the door stretched and came off and I've yet to replace it. Not sure such an old model even can be supplied parts (?) Drying time is reasonable, though, - but could surely be even better with the gasket replaced. (I think I've mentioned this to you before. - but I'm just not motivated too much by these tiresome details o life ! LOL)

And the filter handle became brittle and a piece broke off, but I repaired it enough that I can grab hold of it on one side and gently pull it out to clean - WHICH I AM FANATATICAL ABOUT DOING AFTER EVERY SINGLE LOAD!!

I suspect its longevity and good service is due to keeping the lint from building up, getting loose, etc. Dunno. But I'm going to check the vent outside the wall - just behind the utility room - to be sure it looks OK.

Thanks for another valuable and useful - well-presented hub, Steve!! Voting it up and useful!!

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

I wish you could cure my washing maching. It won't spin. Somebody told me I need a plumber. Oh, these beauties cost £50 just to look at it and nine out of ten they tell you it is too old. I wish I could get a job like that. £50 for telling it is not good. The belt is OK.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Nellieanna So glad to have you and Methusaleh visit. It sounds like you are ok, and prbably can keep that think going for another 40 years. From the sounds of it, you have a Kenmore or Whirlpool. Those darn filter handles are a weakness. Get some silicon spray and spray it all along the edges of the filter, it will slide in an out quite easily. Thanks for the comments.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Hello hello, what kind of washer is it? Is it a front loader or top loader? For a top loader, it is quite often the lid switch or lid interlock. Lid opened? It won't spin with the lid opened. Is it a Whirlpool, most likely a coupler. Let me know, I would love to be able to help.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Dallas thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for your kindness. It is a frontloader. It is a five or six year old machine. To me it should go on another few years but to these repair fellows which they are not it is not worth it and then they hold out their hands for just to look at it.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Hello Hello, The most likely cause is a faulty door latch. Give me the make and model and I may be able to help, if you are a do it yourself kind of person. I love the challenge, but I might not be familiar with your machine since it is not a domestic. I still will try to help. Are you sure that the drain is open? Have you had a recent problem with too much detergent? Oversudsing will cause a no spin situation.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for being so caring. It is an Indiset Model Servis it does all the cycle and the water pumps away but it doesn't spin.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Hello Hello, I am not familiar with the brand, but most of them have a drain warning. This prevents the spin and is the result of a slow draining pump. You can normally access the pump from beneath by removing a panel. The pump hoses need to be removed and check the pump for something clogging it like a doll sock or coins. If the pump is slow, the washer is warned not to spin. So the two most common problems are the door switch and the slow drain.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you so much for your advice. We will have try on that and I will let you know.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

I hope something in there helps. I wish I could come by and tinker with it. London one way this weekend is only $320! Hahaha.

Allan Douglas profile image

Allan Douglas 6 years ago from Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Good stuff Steve, but I'm a step ahead of you this time. While I was in my dryer performing your last dryer advice (squeeky-squaky drum) I checked the vent hose, connections and louvers. We're all set for a winter of pleasurable clothes drying and cat rides. Thanks for all the great advice!

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Allan, you the man! You won't regret this. Good work.

bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

Just watched show last night on dryer fires because of lint buildup.This is a great hub.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

bayoulady dammit, I could have been a movie star. Bastards! LOL Thanks for stopping by and glad you thought it useful.

mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

Awesome "how to" hub, SteveoMc. I followed your links to more info about dryers and am all set to make sure my dryer is in better shape PRONTO (I just moved...not my dryer appliance but it looks like it hasn't been serviced in a while) and ensure that it isn't a fire hazard just based on cleaning negligence. I also appreciate your link to the "safety" hub about precautions when working on appliances. *thumbsup* I'm glad I found this information - thanks for sharing and for making it easy to understand!

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

@mythbuster It is gratifying to learn that some of these are actually helpful...thanks for taking the time to tell me.

profile image

Amie Warren 6 years ago

I used to live in a really old apartment, and it had no dryer vent. It had a lint box that the dryer hose was hooked up to, and you had to take the lint out of it every time you used the dryer. The guy built it himself to channel the warm air back into the house during cold weather, but it was horrible during the summer! I have started hanging a lot of my clothes now, since I don't have a washer and dryer in my cottage.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

@Amie Warren Hanging clothes to dry is way cool! Good for you. Sounds like a disaster in your other apartment. Thanks for stopping by.

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