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Our dryer has been taking forever to dry loads so, this morning, I disassembled the vent pipe and scrubbed out all the lint. However, before reassembling the vent, I had an idea.

The current vent run starts at the dryer near floor level, makes a 90 degree turn, runs up 7 vertical feet, makes another 90 degree turn, across 2.5 horizontal feet, 90 degree turn, 20 horizontal feet and exits the side wall of the house. If I ran the vent to the opposite wall, I could shorten this to 90 degree turn, 7 vertical feet, 90 degree turn, 5 horizontal feet, out.

Is this likely to be signifcantly better? Anything I need to check before cutting the new vent hole? Any ideas why this wouldn't have been done the first time?

Details: Below is a photo of the portion of wall I plan to cut through, and a photo of the corresponding exterior wall. I haven't figured out exactly where the cut will emerge yet, but I think it should be near the top of the lowest board, near where the wood siding starts. The vent is 4" cylindrical metal tubing. The dryer is an old Kenmore; the previous owner told us he bought it used in 1995. Finally, my apologies if this posts twice; I seem to be having some confusion about the openID log on.

proposed vent location exterior wall

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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

In general, the shorter the vent, the better, so moving the dryer next to the basement wall would be the optimal solution. If you can't do that, then moving the vent as you said would be a lot better than your current set-up.

This article covers the whole topic in a lot of detail, see especially the sections on why to keep the length as short as possible:

Running the vent to the new location shouldn't be a problem; my preferred tool for cutting the hole would be a hole saw, but they can be expensive. Looking at your photographs, it seems like don't have any plumbing or electrical stuff to complicate the job.

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Thanks! The linked article is very helpful. I'll start in on this tomorrow, and report back. –  David Speyer Oct 17 '10 at 1:55
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Complete success! Two loads, both completely dry after the first run. Thanks for the help. –  David Speyer Oct 18 '10 at 1:25
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Keep it short. Keep it straight. Every right angle is something to avoid if you can. Right angles also make the vent more difficult to clean.

You can (and should) clean the vent out periodically. I try for once a year, and more if we notice the dryer takes longer than normal to dry.

Cleaning the vent from the outside is easy enough to do, at least as far as the first 90 degree turn. I bought a small chimney brush of the proper size to fit our vent, together with a screw-together fiberglass pole. Turn on the dryer, no heat is needed, just air flow. Pop off the vent cap. Then run the brush in as far as you can. With the air blowing out, keep your face out of the way, or you will get a nose full of lint.

If there are multiple 90 degree turns, and you can easily enough get to the vent, buy a quick disconnect coupling, made especially for the purpose of cleaning your vent.

And, do NOT vent a dryer inside your home. While this seems a good idea because it adds heat to your home, it adds a huge amount of moisture where you are dumping that air. This will often cause mold problems, something that you do NOT want inside your house.

As far as making the hole, a hole saw is by far the best. It will leave a nice circular hole, of exactly the proper size. Make sure you know exactly where it will come out. Measure once, cut twice! So make very careful measurements.

Make sure you get a vent cap that will close, preventing small animals from entering, making a home inside.

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The caution about the outside vent cap with a closure flap is really important. Some years ago in Minnesota my neighbor had dryer problems when he started a load when there were chipmunks in the dryer fan area. –  Michael Karas Oct 22 '12 at 10:17
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