Most people think they know how to hook up a dryer vent in a tight space. The truth is that almost anybody can do it, but only a few know how to do it correctly. In order for you to be one of those who do know, we have written this article that will guide you through all the steps that you need to take to do a great job.
Even if it seems unlikely, a great number of fires in the United States start because of the lint that accumulates inside dryer vents. This is why having proper knowledge in terms of how to install it is very important in order to avoid such catastrophic incidents. The truth is that most dryers are put in small spaces that limit the position of the vent.
If you have never installed a dryer vent before, you will definitely not find it easy to do it in a tight space, this is why there are some things you need to know about dryer vents before we go through the process step by step. These things involve how a dryer vent works and what types of tubes it can come with.
Does a dryer vent have a complicated system to make it work?
If you have a dryer, you probably know that it has a wide tube coming out of it which has the purpose of taking air outside of the dryer. When you put your wet laundry into the dryer and it starts working, what it actually does is that it uses heated air which determines the water in your clothes to evaporate.
This moist air that results out of this process has to be taken out somewhere and your house isn’t such a good place for it, this is why dryers have a tube that takes this moist air outside. This tube is usually made of a flexible material that is attached to the dryer and to a hole in the walls of your home.
Is there only one type of vent tube?
Back in the days, plastic dryer ducts were very popular, but due to the fact that they can catch fire, they are no longer used. Ducts made of metal, on the other hand, are the new trend and the truth is that they offer higher safety levels. These can also be made of various metals that offer different features.
For example, aluminum foil duct is the most popular material used for tubes and it is relatively durable. The main reason why it is preferred is that it is very flexible. However, as with most materials of this type, like the semi-rigid metal duct and slim duct, it is not recommended that the tube is incorporated inside the walls.
Only a rigid metal duct is ok to be incorporated inside the walls. If you have a very tight space, the one that is recommended is the slim duct or periscope because it is narrower.
What you need to do before starting the actual installation
The first thing you need to do is to check what type of dryer you have. There are two types: gas dryers, and electric dryers. The most important thing to do is to unplug the dryer before starting to install the vent.
After that, you will have to inspect the space that you have available. Usually, in narrow spaces, the outlet is very close to the back of the drying machine. This will limit the space that you have for handling stuff, so try to envision first how you would position yourself in order to install it and only then get to work.
Tools and materials
The flat blade screwdriver will become your best friend, but you will also be able to use a socket driver. You will also need a wrench that is adjustable. In terms of materials, what you will need is HVAC aluminum foil tape, an offset dryer vent kit, 2 stainless steel band worm-gear hose clamps and, if you have a gas dryer, you will also need a yellow gas seal tape.
The steps that you need to take
No matter what type of dryer you have in your home, the steps that you have to take are the same. However, if you have a gas dryer, you will have to do one thing first in order to secure it. If you have an electric dryer, you can skip the first step.
- Get the gas line connected
As we have said before, this step is required only for gas dryers, so do not try to do this for an electric dryer. If you don’t know how your dryer works, read the installation instructions manual. A gas dryer works using gas from a pipe inside your house and, before you start doing anything else, you have to connect it to the pipe.
To do this, you will have to use the PTFE plumber’s tape which is made especially for this purpose. You will see a gas fitting at the back of your dryer and you will have one coming out of the gas pipe. Both fittings will have to be wrapped around this yellow PTFE tape.
After you have managed to do this, you should attach the gas line to the inline fitting of the drier as tight as you can, in order to prevent the gas from coming out. However, you should be careful not to tighten it too strongly, which could be harmful.
After you have finished, you should also check if there is any gas coming out, by using a soapy solution applied to the binding. If you see any bubbles, you have not done it correctly and you should retrace your steps. If the problem persists, you should call someone who is licensed to do it.
- Getting the periscope dryer vent ready
As we have said previously in this article, there are some special tubes that are used for tight spaces, so, in order to do the job correctly, you will need a slim duct or a periscope. These products are designed in such a way that they are slimmer than usual tubes and you will be able to install the dryer closer to the wall.
To do so, they use a duct elbow that is bent on a 90-degree angle that will be attached to the dryer. In order to install it correctly, you will also have to make sure that you are going to purchase the right vent kit.
- If there are any gaps, make sure to seal them using duct foil
After you have removed the periscope from its box and you have made the adjustments for it to fit in your space, you have to use the aluminum foil in order to seal the gaps. It is essential that you do this especially if you have a gas dryer because, otherwise, carbon monoxide will get into your home and it can be very toxic if you don’t spot it in time.
- Attach the vent to the wall duct connection
You have to pay close attention to this step because there is little space to work with and if you are not careful with your moves, it can be easily detached. The tube should be narrower than the duct connector in order for you to be able to perform this maneuver.
This is why you should use aluminum tape in order to seal it properly. You can also use the stainless steel band that we have talked about in the materials section.
- Attach the periscope to the dryer
After you place a stainless steel band worm-gear hose clamp that measures 4.5 inches on the discharge vent of the dryer, you should slowly attach the tube to it in order for it not to detach from the wall.
Make sure to tighten it thoroughly before you get your job done because this is also a place where carbon monoxide can get out. After you have finished the job, you should turn the dryer on and see if the vent stays in place.
After you have finished installing your dryer vent, there are some safety measures that you have to take in order to make your dryer live longer and for you to be safe while using it. Cleaning the vent is an essential step and you can either do it yourself or call a professional. In order for you to be safe, once in a while, a professional’s hand is needed.
Installing a dryer vent in a tight space is not an easy job in terms of stress levels because you have to be very careful to seal it properly and it can get very dangerous if you don’t. On the other hand, if you pay close attention to what you have to do in terms of safety, installing it is not rocket science and you will be able to finish the job quickly.