How to Properly Vent a Dryer


Hooking up a dryer with 4-inch-diameter plastic or foil, spiral-walled dryer pipe is simple, but it's not the best not safest way to duct hot air from the dryer to the outside. Gas dryers particularly have a tendency to melt or overheat. The ribs inside the pipe disrupt the air flow and cause hot air to slow and break down or melt the pipe. If the pipe gets kinked, lint can collect, block air flow and even catch fire. Fortunately, there's a better way to vent a dryer.

Things You'll Need

  • 4-inch dryer vent pipe (smooth)
  • Joints for vent pipe
  • Tin snips
  • Foil duct tape
  • 3-inch, foil-backed insulation, 1 sheet
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Roof or wall vent fitting

Venting the Dryer

  • Measure the distance from the dryer vent hole on the back of the dryer to the place where you will pass the pipe through the wall or roof. The shorter the path to the outside, the better, and the fewer bends, the better. Take as straight a path as possible to the nearest place to cut through the wall or roof to the outside. Figure the fewest number of bends possible and purchase appropriate joints.

  • Cut the pieces of metal dryer vent pipe with tin snips and test fit the pieces together up to the wall.

  • Drill a hole through the wall or ceiling and roof. If going through a wall, cut a hole to fit the outside vent fitting between the wall studs in a place you are sure there are no electrical wires. If going through the ceiling, cut a hole to fit through the ceiling between the ceiling joints to fit a pass-through fitting for the pipe. Cut a second hole in the roof to fit the roof vent you purchased.

  • Install the pass-through fitting in the roof or wall and screw the outside vent cover in place. This protects the vent from rain and dust.

  • Start at the back of the dryer and piece together the smooth 4-inch dryer pipe. Wrap the pipe at the joints and at the dryer connection with foil-backed (real) duct tape.

  • Adjust the length at the end so the final joint connects to the outside vent. If you pass through a ceiling or wall, wrap the pipe in 3-inch insulation to prevent too much heat from the dryer from transferring to the walls or ceiling.

  • Push the dryer back against the wall, but do not force it to avoid crushing the vent pipe.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wrap the pipe with foil-backed insulation in places that might become cold in winter to prevent moisture condensation inside the pipes.
  • Wrapping the pipe in insulation for its full length can help reduce heat gain in the laundry room.
  • Avoid using screws to assemble pipes or attach the pipes to the dryer or the outside vents. The screw ends extend into the pipes and can collect dust and lint and cause a fire.

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  • Photo Credit laundry dial image by Sirena Designs from
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