How to Replace a Dryer Vent – remove the old vent, install and connect the unit. This project is continued from Part 1.
Remove the Old Dryer Vent
The hex-head wood screws are removed from the old dryer vent with a socket wrench.
The caulk lines are cut with a utility knife to release the vent plate:
And pull off the old vent:
The back side of the blade on the Husky 3-in-1 Caulk Tool was ideal for scraping the old caulk off the stucco wall and getting into the crevasses.
It’s important to remove all the old caulk so the new caulk will make a watertight bond to the wall. The 10 minutes of scraping is well worth extra effort.
Install the New Dryer Vent
The hole in the basement wall is plenty large enough for the deflect-o® 4″ Supurr Guard® Dryer Vent #GVHXW4:
The wood screws won’t punch through the cement stucco, so pilot holes are drilled to get the screws started. To mark the screw locations:
- Hold the new dryer vent against the wall.
- Center and level the dryer vent.
The new vent face is slightly smaller than the old one, so I centered it taking care to avoid the old screw holes.
- Mark each screw hole against the wall.
A felt tip marker or No. 2 pencil is too fat to fit through the holes in the vent plate, so I shaved down a No. 2 pencil with my pocket knife so it was skinny enough to reach through the screw holes to the wall.
Four pilot holes are drilled at each mark (red arrows) using a drill bit that is slightly smaller than shank of the wood screw. A masonry drill bit should be used, but since I didn’t have a small masonry bit on hand so I “sacrificed” a normal drill bit, which did OK. It’s only necessary to drill through the stucco and stop at the oriented strand board (OSB) wall sheathing.
Aside: I saved the plug from the hole I cut in the wall for the basement bathroom exhaust vent that’s also located on this exterior wall. The plug illustrates the stucco wall construction:
- 1/2 inch oriented strand board (OSB) against the 2×4 studs (interior side)
- tar paper weather proof barrier
- metal lath to hold the stucco (notice the grid pattern on back of the stucco)
- 1/2 inch layer of cement stucco
- top coat of paint over the stucco
The old and new screw holes are filled with GE Silicone II waterproof exterior silicone caulk to seal out rain water. There are two types of silicone caulk: paintable and non-paintable. I used the non-paintable white silicone caulk because the vent is white and I don’t plan to paint the vent. Non-paintable caulk dries to a tack free surface that won’t collect dust/dirt. Paintable caulk has a slightly tacky surface to bond with paint and will collect dust/dirt over time if left unpainted. Take care and read the label when buying caulk at the hardware store so you get the right type for your job.
The new dryer vent is fastened to the wall with Grip-Rite® PRIMEGUARD TEN 2 inch exterior wood screws. The wood screws pass through the cement stucco to the oriented strand board (OSB) wall sheathing. It’s the OSB sheathing that gives the screws holding power.
A bead of white silicone caulk is applied to the perimeter of the dryer vent to seal it to the wall.
The bird guard snaps on the vent hood to keep out birds and small pests. I’m a big fan of bird guards because a bird will build a nest inside an open vent if a given chance.
Dryer Vent: Flexible Duct Connection
Back inside the basement, the white pipe collar is slipped over the dryer vent pipe and set against the wall behind the fiberglass insulation. The collar is a cosmetic trim piece to cover the hole in the wall. The fiberglass insulation held the collar against the OSB wall sheathing so I skipped the extra step of securing it with two small screws.
Notice the warm glow of sunlight diffusing inside the vent pipe.
The insulation is pressed back around the dryer vent pipe, then the flexible alumimun dryer duct is slipped about 6 inches over the vent pipe. This takes a little bit of wiggling to work the flexible duct over the vent pipe because it has to be exactly smooth and straight. I stopped at the face of the fiberglass insulation to leave room for sealing the joint with aluminum foil HVAC tape.
The flexible dryer duct is fastened and sealed to the vent pipe with two loops of aluminum foil HVAC tape. Smooth down the edges of the tape for an air tight seal. It is critical that HVAC metal foil tape is used here to withstand the temperature and maintain a solid bond. Do not use common duct tape because it will come loose and fail.
Flexible metal dryer duct sealed to the new deflect-o dryer vent pipe with HVAC foil tape:
Dryer Vent Testing
Toss a load wet clothes in the dryer with an anti-static dryer sheet and turn it on. Check the ducting and new vent for leaks by:
- Feel around the duct inside the basement to ensure there’s no air leaks.
- Walk outside and verify the louvers on the dryer vent are open with a strong flow of warm air.
If the airflow is weak or your clothes are taking an unusually long time to dry, the dryer duct may need cleaning.
Cool Product: Dryerbox®
I plan to do some laundry room remodeling work and stumbled across the Dryerbox by In-O-Vate Technologies, Inc. I haven’t used this product yet, but it looks perfect to solve the kinked dryer hose problem. It’s simple to install and I’ll use the opportunity to clean out the dryer duct starting at the laundry room.
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