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My dryer vent got crushed. It seems there's probably a couple inches for airflow. Do i need to have someone replace it? Is there some sort of simple tool to uncrush it a little bit? enter image description hereenter image description here

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    Will probably be easier just to buy a new one and replace it, or take it off and push your hand in. It is not much stronger than aluminum foil.
    – crip659
    Jul 20, 2022 at 22:30
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    4" is enough to get your hand in. And that's pretty much it yeah. As mentioned I would wear some gloves to protect your hand from sharp edges on the inside. Considering it's only received a wallop once, you should be able to restore the original diameter (albeit in an ugly crumpled state), however if this happens more often, it might tear. You can only flex aluminium a limited number of times.
    – MiG
    Jul 20, 2022 at 23:18
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    If you reuse the tape, I would put that inside of the clamp when reattaching. And afterward observe it to see if any steamy air escapes. If that happens, you should get some fresh aluminium foil tape. Note that this is NOT duct tape, it is far more heat resistant and long lasting.
    – MiG
    Jul 20, 2022 at 23:22
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    No worries! Do let us know how it went, and make sure to pick an answer below. If you're not applying fresh aluminium foil tape I would check for steam escape regularly for a while btw. It's moist air, so it might have negative effects in the surrounding area. A roll of new tape is pretty affordable btw, think $10-20.
    – MiG
    Jul 21, 2022 at 1:46
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    Whatever you end up doing, take the opportunity to clean out as much pipe as you can reach in both directions. Take your time.
    – Criggie
    Jul 21, 2022 at 22:24

3 Answers 3

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Your dryer will need the full diameter to be able to exhaust its air easily, so yes, you should either replace it, or attempt the fix below.

The diameter is a bit hard to see, but if it's large enough to stick your fist in you can easily manually uncrumple it. There might be a few sharp edges inside, so just in case you should wear simple workman's / gardening gloves. Carefully opening your fist at increasing depths should allow air to pass through again.

The duct is fixed to the pipe with aluminium tape, so afterward you'll need either a roll of that or a duct clamp. It does need to be secured, or it might come off again over time.

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It is held on by duct tape or metal foil tape (metal foil preferred) and/or a simple clamp with one screw. Temporary fix is to remove from wall, clean out lint, push back into shape and reattach. Do not reuse the tape - it won't hold as well. If you can't get it totally off, don't worry about it - just add a fresh layer on top.

Permanent fix is to replace with a length of smooth solid steel duct and (typically) two elbows, one at the wall and one at the dryer.

Flexible duct has an advantage if you move the dryer frequently (most people don't) or in some cases if the ductwork has a complicated path (which is best avoided).

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    Thank you so much. It's got both a clamp and tape. Your answer has saved the day.
    – LLC
    Jul 20, 2022 at 22:57
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    Aluminum is the common material for solid/smooth dryer ducts around here. Steel would be a problem after a short while, since even galvanized steel will eventually rust and become non-smooth (and then perforated) in this service. Stainless steel might work, but I've never seen that sold for the purpose, and it would b a royal pain to cut compared to either of the other options.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 21, 2022 at 3:09
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    @Ecnerwal It looks like aluminum is quite common. But steel is too - e.g., see homedepot.com/p/… for a dryer vent elbow made from galvanized steel, as one example. Jul 21, 2022 at 15:08
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    Plus eleventy for "replace it with rigid duct"~
    – FreeMan
    Jul 21, 2022 at 17:39
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Both other answers are good, but there's another solution.

The vent is an accordion. Not a good one, so you can really only lengthen it. Shortening it take a bit of skill, patience, time, and luck.

But you have loads of spare vent to use, as can be seen in the top picture of the compressed vent. If you can't reopen the crushed section or it pops a seam (which can happen pretty easily), you can just cut off the crushed section and pull out the vent to match the missing length.

Cutting the vent can be a bit tricky, but totally doable with basic tools. A tin snips, aviation shears/side cutters/nippers*, or some fairly hefty scissors can do the job.

You may want to wear gloves, since the vent can be fairly sharp. Losing grip and sliding your hand across the cut edge is an almost guaranteed bloody and ragged gash. My hand just hurts thinking about it.

*There's a lot of names for the same types of tool depending on location, so I just named a few to give a rough idea of what the OP is looking for. Not all regional or official names are for things that would work well, even if they have a possibility to work. And there are other similar tools that would work just as well.

While you have it disconnected

You might want to inspect the inside of your pipe to make sure it's not getting clogged. With the crimped section you have, the flow isn't as it should be, so there could be a lint buildup happening. Lint can build up in these over time anyway, so it's not a bad idea to take a look inside and see if you need to clean it out. A quick swipe with a vacuum hose or a rag on a stick can clean most of it out pretty easily, if it's not too bad.

If it has a serious amount of lint, you might just want to replace the vent, rather than trying to clean it out. They are relatively inexpensive and should be easily found at any hardware or home improvement store. Most appliance stores should have them, too.

A clogged vent can not only reduce the ability of your dryer to dry your clothes, but, in extreme cases, can ignite the lint and cause a house fire. The lint filter in your dryer is good, but not perfect, so we all need to inspect these vents every so often for blockages.

On a side note, there are ventless dryers. They are gaining popularity in the EU, but are not common in the US. From what I read, they are also lower capacity and more expensive, due to being relatively new designs. (I only know about these dryers because I've been looking for a new one.)

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  • My thought as well. Looks like there's enough there to just cut off the damaged bit and reattach. (But replacing the whole thing will mean that it's lint-free for a while.)
    – johncip
    Aug 13, 2022 at 9:24

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