I need to vent

12 Feb

I had intended for a long time to take care of something I noticed wasn’t quite right. Our dryer vent was not in very good shape, it had come apart at at least one of the seams and had been repaired a few times with duct tape, but there was at least one quite obvious leak. Fixing it has definitely been on my to do list but had not made its way to my done list. The other night though it became quite evident that the time had come as Corinne had something in the dryer and she started smelling “gas” in the house. It wasn’t exactly gas but it was the exhaust from the dryer. The leaky vent pipe combined with the fact that I had used some wood stain in the basement made it smell like laundry and kerosene (apparently a well known side effect of using wood finishing materials in proximity of a gas dryer).
We shut the dryer down and opened some windows in the basement to air it out, and we also have 3 CO alarms that never went off so we were safe.

In any event I did some measuring and got all the materials to do all new venting for the dryer. Here’s a look at what the old stuff looked like…

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Inside one of the elbows

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A view inside the outside exhaust port, full of lint and stuck open

The fact that there was a big leak in the vent also meant that there was lint all over the floor joists near the dryer. So, my first step was to vacuum up all around the washer and dryer and especially the back of the dryer. Once that was done and all the old piping was torn out I got to work installing the new stuff. I went with all galvanized steel instead of the flimsy aluminum like was there before. Based on Holmes on Homes standards I went with all straight pipe, no flex pipe that can accumulate lint and kink.

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Here's the old plastic exhaust vent.

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Here's the new galvanized vent with a functioning damper. I applied a bead of silicone on the back side on the top and both sides and then a bead across the top to keep water from running behind.

I used a hose clamp to connect the lower elbow to the dryer so it can’t come loose or leak and all the seams are fully taped with proper aluminum tape (not duct tape, as Mike Holmes says “duct tape has 1001 uses, but not ductwork”) to prevent any leakage.

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Our dryer is now vented properly and is flowing smooth. I have to assume it is running more efficiently because the intakes are cleaned out, the vent is no longer clogged up with lint and as an added bonus I adjusted the feet so it doesn’t rock any more.

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