A dryer vent is designed to carry the hot, moist air created by a clothes dryer to the exterior of a home. It makes sense to try and capture some of that energy back and recycle it, using the hot moist air to heat and humidify a home (at least partially). There are products on the market, though not many, that are designed to keep the warm air in a dryer vent pipe in the home, and the cold air of the outdoors out. These are referred to as dryer vent heat valves. There are a number of issues with these products, and varying degrees of success. The primary drawback to these types of devices is that they do not seem to catch nearly enough lint, and there is a lot that escapes into the air inside the home. However, they are inexpensive and worth a try if you are so inclined. Here you will have the information needed to install a dryer vent heat valve.
Step 1 - Cut the Existing Pipe
You will need to cut the existing vent pipe to fit the valve into the desired location. If you currently have solid aluminum vent piping, the rigidity of the pipe will support the valve and keep it in place. If you have flexible aluminum piping, you will likely want to secure the vent to the wall behind it. If you still have vinyl piping, it should be replaced entirely with one of the options mentioned above. Identify where you would like to locate the new valve, and mark the pipe. The location that you pick should be one that you can reach easily, as you will need to be able to access the valve for control and lint removal. Remove either the section of the piping that will need cut, or the entire pipe if it is flexible aluminum. Cut around the entire circumference of the pipe, creating two separate pieces.
Step 2 - Install the Valve
The valve will slide into either side of the cut vent pipe. Secure each end with the plastic bands provided with the valve. You may also want to purchase metal draw bands for a more secure seal. Duct tape can also be uses to ensure the tightest seal and connection as possible.
Step 3- Securing the Valve
Again, if you are using flexible vent piping, you will want to affix the valve to a wall or beam near the existing setup. Identify where you want to locate the valve. Attach one side of the wire or strap using your screws and drill. Hold the valve against the stud or beam and route the wire or strap around the valve, securing the other side the same way as the first.
Step 4 - Additional Information
One of the common themes of these valves is that they do not trap enough of the lint coming out of the machine. This is easily corrected by placing the end of a cut stocking or nylon hose over the lint catcher, and securing it with a rubber band.