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How to Install a Clothes Dryer Vent

How to install a clothes dryer vent

Knowing how to install a clothes dryer vent is imperative to your family’s safety.  An improperly vented clothes dryer can not only expose your family to harmful gases, it’s also a significant fire risk. In 1998 in the United States alone, over 15,600 fires, resulting in 20 deaths and over 350 injuries, were linked to improperly vented dryers.

Venting Basics

Venting your dryer isn’t difficult. It basically consists of running a metal hose from your dryer’s exhaust to the outside world through an exterior vent hood. Most homes are already equipped with strategically placed vent hoods or small openings in walls or roofs that allow gases to escape. If yours isn’t, consider having one professionally installed. If you can’t afford it, at least consult a professional about how to safely install an exterior vent hood.

To reduce the risk of fires, choose metal vent tubing instead of plastic tubing, which is no longer up to code. Semi-rigid corrugated metal tubing is usually the easiest to use. Attach the tubing to your dryer’s exhaust according to the directions that came with your dryer using metal clamps and foil faced duct tape to seal the seams. Avoid using screws, as they can catch lint and increase the fire risk. Run the tubing from the dryer to the exterior vent hood in as straight a line as you can. Any curves in the vent tubing between the dryer and the vent hood will create corners where lint can accumulate, increasing the risk of fire. Attach the tubing to the exterior vent hood, again using metal clamps and foil face duct tape.

If you’re venting through a roof, you will need to make sure there is a vent cap on the outside of the vent hood to prevent rain and debris from entering the vent.

Preventative Maintenance

To reduce the risk of fire, clean your dryer’s lint screen after every load and make sure that the area surrounding your dryer is free of lint. Periodically check to make sure that your vent tubing and vent hood are free of lint. Try to avoid using your dryer on clothes that have been exposed to toxic materials or chemicals. If you have to, wash the clothes multiple times first, dry them on the lowest heat setting, and take them out of the dryer the moment they’re ready.

 

Resources

Ask the Builder”Installing a Clothes Dryer Vent”www.askthebuilder.com

US Consumer Product Safety Commission”Overheated Clothes Dryers Can Cause Fires”www.cpsc.gov

Do It Yourself”Venting Your Clothes Dryer: A Fast but Vital Job”www.doityourself.com

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