Hot Topics: How to Vent a Dryer

The interior view of a dryer with clothes in it.

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With a small space between the wall vent and the clothes dryer, this DIYer turns to the forum for help in getting her appliance running efficiently again.

Original Post: Tight Fit Dryer Vent Connection

femaleDIY Member

My full size clothes dryer has a vent opening at the bottom in the middle. It's about 14 inches, center to center away horizontally from a wall vent opening at the same level, which vents 15 feet straight outside with 4" PVC pipe. The laundry closet is shallow with only 6" space between the back of the dryer and wall to be able to close door. I'm having problems connecting the dryer to the wall vent. 6" behind doesn't allow two 90-degree bends.

I have been using flexible aluminum foil duct, but it's unsatisfactory. The dryer suddenly couldn't get clothes dry with two cycles after the Orkin guy moved the dryer to spray for bugs and smashed the foil duct when pushing the dryer back. I do not like the aluminum foil flexible vent duct—it just doesn't fit and is very hard to avoid ripping or squashing.

I've been looking at a tight fit aluminum connector ($25), but those fit 18 to 30 inches, which is too long for me. Some people are cutting them in the middle to shorten and then duct tape them back together. I don't have a reciprocating saw to cut one of these to make it shorter, but these tight fight connectors would give me two 90-degree turns to get the dryer connected to vent in 6 inches.

However, it would be almost impossible to make both connections since I can only move the dryer straight out from the wall and have no way to reach from the side of the dryer. The PVC pipe is located in the bottom right corner of the closet.

Any suggestions on how to vent my dryer?

CarbideTipped Forum Topic Moderator

This periscope states it's adjustable up to 18", so perhaps that will work for you. If it needs to be trimmed, I would use metal snips—not a reciprocating saw.

femaleDIY Member

Yes, that would work, but how do I get the back of the dryer to connect? Not flexible. I can't reach the dryer outlet or the wall vent behind the dryer. I don't have 6 foot arms to reach from the top to behind the dryer. I can't pull out the dryer very far to connect both ends. Logistics suggestions, please.

Marq1 Member

I had one of these to get around a tight corner in an old house and they are pretty easy to trim with sheet metal shears. One option is to remove the dryer, assuming side-by-side to provide more access to connections. Another option would be to mount the periscope to the outlet pipe, and then use a short piece of the expanding duct to give you a little more clearance to the wall. Then it will compress when installed. These can be tough items to install!

femaleDIY Member

Putting on the wall and then using a bit of flexible duct to give clearance between the dryer and wall for installation is a good idea. I might be able to do that. Just be sure the flexible part accordions straight in and doesn't kink or twist when pushing the dryer back. I checked my Whirlpool model number and it's listed for that item. I was thinking periscope meant vertical, as in submarine.

It might be easier for me to install on the back of the dryer and then put the flexible part to the wall since the wall opening is in the lower right corner. It's easier to control the flexible part when pushing back the dryer.

aka pedro Member

That final connection—the dryer to the discharge line—is, unfortunately, one of those sometimes difficult tasks that most of us have to deal with, so at least take heart in the fact that you're not alone. On the plus side though, as long as neither side is damaged (kinked, bent, or whatever), they generally slide together easily. I've generally found that once they are close you can push the dryer back and use something as simple as a yard stick to gently work the connection on the last little bit.

In your case, at least based on the picture I have in mind, I might consider going so far as taping an eye to the connection, so that I could fish it into place with a piece of stiff wire (like a straightened out coat hanger).

I wouldn't screw an eye to it because then you have something to collect lint, and I wouldn't use regular duct tape, due to a possible fire hazard, but you could use the foil duct tape made for sealing joints in a dryer duct. That way you could get things in, push the dryer back, and work the connection together from above.

CarbideTipped Forum Topic Moderator

Putting just a couple of inches of flex on both ends might help too, as it would allow the whole thing to angle a little bit so you could have the dryer pulled out a bit further while making the final connection.

pugsl Forum Topic Moderator

Connect with your flexible vent and cut two 2x4s about 4 inches long. Put them between the wall and dryer. The dryer will not slide back and crush the vent. Leave the vent long enough to work behind it. Bricks also work well.

femaleDIY Member

Thanks for all the ideas. I ordered the periscoping rigid connector on Amazon. In the meantime, I'm going to clean out the dryer vent system with LintEater, shop vac, and drill. I bought this house in August, and so many things are poorly maintained—I suspect the 15' pipe could have years of lint inside. Also, I'm replacing the vent ending outside to type with louvers instead of a wire basket.

The Orkin guy said bugs are probably gaining entry via the vent system. There's a large gap around the pipe in the closet that needs to be closed so I'll do this with special tape for dryers. The hole cut for the dryer goes down through the baseboard, so I'm not going to try installing new drywall or plate over it.

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