How To Hook Up A Dryer Vent In A Tight Space (My 5 Steps)

Do you want to find out the best way to install a dryer vent in a very tight space?

You are in the right spot. A dryer vent installation can be a pain even if you do all the right things, but with the right steps (and tools), it can be done smoothly.

In this guide, we will go over...

  • flexible metal vents versus aluminum foil vents
  • why rigid elbows sometimes get in the way (and are unnecessary)
  • how a simple drill attachment helps the install tremendously
  • why metal tape helps it become a solid connection
  • how to make sure the vent is positioned correctly
how to hook up dryer vent in tight space

Step 1. Pull Out The Dryer

The first step is to pull out the dryer, and unplug the unit.

When the dryer is in a tight space, there really is no other way but to climb over the appliance to get behind it.  Pull out the dryer as much as possible so you can have some space to work. If you need to use a step ladder in order to climb behind the dryer, then use it carefully.

If you can pull out the dryer far enough so you can get behind it without climbing over, then that's even better.

Sometimes when we do a DIY job, such as fixing a dryer, we spend a lot of time and money — and then end up hiring an appliance tech to fix our mistakes. That's why I created my Contractor Search Tool, so my readers can get free quotes from local appliance contractors who are licensed and pre-vetted.

I invite you to at least see the pricing from a few trusted appliance techs—there is no obligation—and then you can decide whether to go ahead with a DIY job. Get your free quotes with my contractor search tool right here.

Step 2. Disconnect The Old Vent

Now that you are behind the dryer, disconnect the old vent. If you are in a tight space, it may be difficult to unscrew the metal clamp holding the dryer vent to the flanges.

To make this part easier, I like to use the TOOLTOO Flexible Drill Bit Holder because it allows you to reach those awkward areas behind a dryer. This drill bit holder can even remove a duct screw with a 90-degree bend.

TOOLTOO Flexible Drill Bit Holder

You may also have to remove old metal vent tape (or heaven forbid, duct tape) from the old vent connections. A utility knife will come in handy.

Also, don't forget that you can re-use the old metal clamps on the new vent.

Read Also: How To Size A Bathroom Exhaust Fan (The Best Method?)

foil type dryer vent in tight spaces

Step 3.  Install The Best Dryer Vent Hose For Tight Spaces

For dryer vent installations in tight spaces, I highly recommend installing the flexible foil type of dryer vent instead of flexible metal. The flexible metal vents are great dryer vents --- very high quality --- but they are terrible in tight spaces, and not worth the grief.

I have seen many flexible metal dryer vents that were installed in tight spaces, and they were crushed, warped, and damaged. And usually, the homeowner wasn't even aware of how distorted and crushed the vent actually was.

The best vent in my opinion to use when there is a close clearance is the Aluminum Flex Dryer Duct because it is such a low profile dryer vent. This type of dryer vent is much more flexible, and it is very easy to install.

Aluminum Flex Dryer Duct

Now that the flanges are clear, first put the metal clamp over the flex vent. Then, you will want to put one end of the dryer vent over the metal flange (on the dryer or from the wall). In a close clearance, I would discourage using any type of rigid metal elbows --- they are simply unnecessary with the foil type of dryer vent.

I always recommend homeowners to also stay away from offset dryer vents. These are the flat dryer vents that have a rectangular portion to it. The rectangular part is just a few inches thick, and it is a very dumb product in my opinion. Dryer vent connections should always be at least four inches wide and circular. Anything less than a 4" circle will greatly restrict air flow.

I have seen many problems caused by these periscope dryer vents. Don't do it!

If you don't have a metal flange coming out of the wall, then that is a problem in and of itself. The vent going through a wall/ceiling cavity or crawlspace should always be rigid metal!  Flexible dryer vent hoses are only suitable for very short lengths from the back of the dryer to the wall.

After the end of the vent is over the metal flange, then move the clamp into the right position, and tighten using the cordless drill. Repeat for the other end of the flex vent.

Step 4. Install Foil Tape

I always recommend putting one layer of aluminum foil tape over the metal clamp and flange to give it a very tight seal. Especially in a tight space behind the dryer, you don't want the connection coming loose so you have to do it again. I recommend the TapePlus Aluminum Foil Tape because it will stick to pretty much any surface and is great for dryer ducts.

TapePlus Aluminum Foil Tape

Step 5. Push Back Dryer And Check Vent

Now it is time to push the dryer back into the space. You want to do this step very carefully, because you don't want to crush or damage the dryer vent. Do it slowly, and periodically check the dryer vent. You can use a mirror if you can't lean far enough to see it.

I highly recommend that you use the end of a broomstick to maneuver the dryer vent into an optimal position for the most airflow --- before the dryer is totally pushed back. It is important that there isn't a kink in the hose that prevents air flow because it may become a fire hazard.

Read Also: Venting a Bathroom Fan Into An Attic (My Detailed Guide)

Sometimes when we do a DIY job, such as fixing a dryer, we spend a lot of time and money — and then end up hiring an appliance tech to fix our mistakes. That's why I created my Contractor Search Tool, so my readers can get free quotes from local appliance contractors who are licensed and pre-vetted.

I invite you to at least see the pricing from a few trusted appliance techs—there is no obligation—and then you can decide whether to go ahead with a DIY job. Get your free quotes with my contractor search tool right here.

The Bottom Line On Dryer Vents in Tight Spaces

It can be a tough job, but with the right tools, and taking it step by step --- installing a dryer vent in a tight space is a doable job. For me, I will want a small cordless drill, two metal vent clamps, a flexible extension drill bit holder, metal foil tape --- and the most important of all --- a flexible foil type dryer vent (not the flexible metal).

And don't forget to carefully push back the dryer into position, using a broomstick to push the dryer vent into an optimal position for the most air flow.

Other Home Guides

Looking to learn more about home maintenance? Check out our other informative home product reviews and guides!

Image Product Top Pick Top Pick Winflo Wall Mount Adjustable Chimney Two LED Lights 30-Inches

Read More »
how to remove bathroom exhaust fans

Do you want to learn how to remove a bathroom exhaust fan? Removing a bathroom exhaust

Read More »

Image Product Top Pick Top Pick IKTCH Under Cabinet 900-cfm Gesture Control Steel Baffles 900-cfm

Read More »
top best rated 36_ range hood reviews

Do you want to find the best 36-inch range hoods for your kitchen? The 36″ wide

Read More »
do range hoods have to be vented outside

Do you want to learn if range hoods need to be vented to the exterior? Range

Read More »

Do you want to find the best bathroom fan switch? There is always the standard toggle

Read More »

2 thoughts on “How To Hook Up A Dryer Vent In A Tight Space (My 5 Steps)”

  1. Where space is limited, an adjustable offset dryer vent is used. It’s also called a periscope dryer vent. Offset vents allow the dryer to be installed closer to the wall than a typical basement installation, using a 90 degree 4-inch duct elbow on dryer’s discharge vent. (Some models allow a 3-inch clearance from the dryer to the wall.) It also allows the dryer to be connected to a fixed vent connection in the wall since it allows both an offset adjustment and a height adjustment in the vent connection duct.

    Reply
    • Hi Karen,

      I have a particular disdain for periscope vent adapters. Due to their rectangular shape, they restrict air flow and frequently get clogged with lint. Anytime you add an extra bend, or change it from a perfect 4-inch cylindrical shape, it will impede airflow. Whoever designed this ‘rectangular’ adapter has never seen a dryer fire.

      Cheers,
      Arie

      Reply

Ask Me A Question!

Arie Van Tuijl

Arie Van Tuijl

Arie is the founder of Home Inspector Secrets, an online resource dedicated to helping people understand how homes work. He is a licensed home inspector in two U.S states and owns a residential and commercial inspection company (read his full bio on the About page). To ask Arie a question, please use the comment box at the bottom of the relevant article.

Like? Please Share With Friends

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit

About Home Inspector Secrets

Home Inspector Secrets is an online resource for owners, buyers, and sellers to understand all aspects of home maintenance. We have detailed home guides, product reviews, inspection advice, and much more.