How To Hook Up A Dryer Vent In A Tight Space? (9-Step Guide)

Licensed Inspector Arie Van Tuijl
Licensed Inspector Arie Van Tuijl

🕖Last Updated On May 10, 2022

Do you want to find out how to hook up a dryer vent in a tight space? You are in the right place.

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 and safely.

In this HomeInspectorSecrets.com Guide, we will go over:

how to hook up a dryer vent in a tight space
  • Using an offset dryer vent when your dryer has little space
  • Why a long, flexible drill bit can help in tight spaces
  • Securing the vent with metal tape for a tight seal
  • Why you should clean the dryer vent regularly

Keep reading to learn the 9 steps to installing a dryer vent in a narrow space!

What You Need To Know About Hooking Up Dryer Vents In Narrow Spaces?

Hooking up dryer vents close to the wall can be a difficult job. But with the right tools and supplies, it can be made much easier.

Offset Dryer Vents

The most important thing to know is that you may need an offset vent.

This flat vent has a very narrow profile so that you can push the dryer close to the wall.

It is essential that you verify with the manufacturer how long the periscope vent can be pulled out. Some offset vents can only be adjusted several inches, but other periscope vents can be pulled out a foot or more.

how to hook up a dryer vent in a tight space

Offset Dryer Vent

Dryer Vent Cleaning

With offset dryer vents, they need to be cleaned regularly at least once a year.

If the dryer vent gets clogged, it can restrict airflow. The restricted airflow results when lint builds up and can even result in a fire.

Unfortunately, since these flat vents have a rectangular shape, they are even more prone to a buildup of lint. You may need to even it every 3-6 months so it doesn't restrict airflow. 

If your dryer takes a long time to dry, or if it gets extremely hot, you may need to clean the periscope vent. You can also periodically check the exterior hood on the outside to see if there is reduced airflow when the dryer is on.

Don't forget that you will also need to clean the entire wall duct once a year and not just the offset dryer vent. Having the dryer duct cleaned regularly cleaned by a professional is highly recommended.

Read Also >> Why Is There Water In My Dryer Vent Hose?

Supplies You'll Need When Installing A Dryer Vent In A Tight Space

The most important part of installing a tight spaced dryer vent is the offset vent. But there are a few other parts that make the job a lot easier, such as a lightweight cordless drill and a flexible drill bit. Here are the most important supplies you will need.

  • Offset (Periscope) Dryer Vent - Offset dryer vents are a special type of vent designed for dryers in narrow spaces or with an overlapping wall vent. These periscope vents have an adjustable length and can be rotated 360-degrees.
  • Metal Clamps - Clamps are used to secure the offset vent to the wall duct and to the collar behind the dryer. You may already have these clamps securing your old dryer vent hose and you can re-use them.
  • Metal Foil Tape - Metal foil tape is used to secure the duct collars as well. The metal tape is wrapped around the clamp to give it a tight fit and an air seal.
  • Screwdriver Or Drill - A lightweight powered drill or screwdriver will be needed to remove the old dryer vent hose clamps and help install them on the new vent.
  • Flexible Drill Bit - A flexible drill bit is highly useful in narrow dryer spaces because it can make a 90-degree bend and still work. These long bits (up to 8-inches in length) are very useful to get to the duct clamps.

How To Hook Up A Dryer Vent In A Tight Space (9-Step Guide)

  1. Pull Out The Dryer and Unplug It
  2. Loosen the Old Clamps Holding The Old Vent
  3. Remove Any Tape Securing The Vent
  4. Measure Center-To-Center the Wall Vent to the Duct Collar
  5. Adjust The Length And Direction of the Offset Vent
  6. Connect End of Offset Vent to Back of Dryer
  7. Align The Offset Vent With Wall Duct
  8. Push Back the Dryer and Connect Offset Vent To Wall Duct
  9. Secure the Wall Duct With Clamp and Metal Tape

Step 1 - Pull Out The Dryer and Unplug It

Pull out the dryer as much as possible, and unplug it.

When the dryer is in a tight space, there really is no other way but to climb over the appliance to get behind it. You may need to use a step ladder in order to climb behind the dryer.

Hopefully you can pull out the dryer far enough so you can get behind it without having to climb over.

Step 2 - Loosen the Old Clamps Holding The Old Vent

Disconnect the old vent from the wall collar and from behind the dryer. 

There will likely be a metal clamp on each end of the old dryer vent, and you will need to loosen the screws holding them in place.

To make this part easier when the dryer is close to the wall, I like to use a long, flexible drill bit because it allows you to reach those awkward areas behind a dryer. Flexible drill bits can be as long as 8-inches, and flexible up to 300-degrees in multiple directions so you can reach the clamp screws.

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

Read Also >> How Do You Vent A Dryer Without Outside Access?

Step 3 - Remove Any Tape Securing The Vent

Remove any metal vent tape (or duct tape) that is securing the old vent in place.

To do this, simply take a utility knife and cut around the tape. Once the tape is cut into, you can pry it up and just pull it off.

how to hook up a dryer vent in a tight space (1)

Step 4 - Measure Center-To-Center the Wall Vent to the Duct Collar

Use a tape measure to measure the distance from the wall vent collar to the center of the dryer collar.

Step 5 - Adjust The Length And Direction of the Offset Vent

Adjust the length of the periscope vent to match your measured distance from the wall vent to the back of the dryer.

For most offset vents, you can simply pull it out to extend it. Periscope vents can be pulled out up to 5-inches or more.

You should also rotate the offset vent to match the orientation of the wall vent.

The wall vent may be above the dryer duct collar or it may be to one of the sides.

Read Also >> How Do You Repair A Dryer Vent Hose?

Step 6 - Connect End of Offset Vent to Back of Dryer

Connect the larger duct collar of the periscope vent to the back of the dryer duct.

The larger duct of the offset vent is designed to fit over the dryer duct.

Once it is fitted, you need to secure it with one of the metal clamps that you removed earlier.

It is also a good idea to put metal vent tape over the clamp to make it even more secure. Metal vent tape is different from regular duct tape and it is designed to withstand high temperatures.

Step 7 - Align The Offset Vent With Wall Duct

Align the offset vent with the wall duct by twisting the periscope vent until it matches the location.

Periscope vents can swivel on an axis, and you should align it with the wall duct so that when you push back the dryer it will fit.

Step 8 - Push Back the Dryer and Connect Offset Vent To Wall Duct

Push back the dryer towards the wall.

Once the dryer is close to the wall duct, check behind the dryer to make sure the offset vent is lining up with the wall duct.

You may need to reach behind the dryer (or use a stick) to make sure the offset vent gets connected into the wall duct. The duct collar of the offset vent that goes into the wall duct is smaller and crimped so it should fit inside of the wall duct.

Read Also >> How Do You Clean A Dryer Vent On The Roof?

Step 9 - Secure the Wall Duct With Clamp and Metal Tape

Secure the wall duct to the offset vent with a clamp.

You should still have the old clamp that you removed earlier, and simply tighten it with a powered drill or screwdriver.

Installing metal vent tape over the clamp will help secure the offset duct from falling off. However, in a really small space, there simply may be no room behind the dryer to install a clamp or tape and it will have to be held in place by the weight of the dryer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Run A Dryer Vent Straight Up?

A dryer vent is sometimes installed vertically or straight up and it is a common way to terminate it to the roof. 

Other times the dryer vent goes straight up and makes one or two bends before it goes to the outside. 

You can learn more about dryer vent code requirements here.

Can You Use A Dryer Without Hooking Up Vent?

A gas dryer should never be used without a connected vent to the exterior. 

The lint, moisture, and gas combustion products are blown to the outside which prevents indoor air pollution, moisture problems, and even carbon monoxide poisoning.

Electric dryers however can be sued with an indoor dryer vent kit. If it is possible, venting even an electric dryer to the outside is preferable for performance.

What Happens If Your Dryer Doesn't Have A Vent?

Homeowners should never use a gas dryer that doesn't have a vent to the exterior.

Electric dryers can be used if it has a indoor vent kit, but the performance of the dryer will be lower than if it vents to the outside.

Can You Use A Flexible Duct For Dryer Vent?

Flexible dryer vents can be used as a transition duct from the back of the dryer to the wall connection.

There are two options for flexible dryer vents: corrugated aluminum foil or metal. We recommend that you always buy a dryer vent that is UL listed so you know that it's safe to use for your dryer.

Flexible dryer vents should never be used inside of the wall.

The wall duct should always be rigid metal.

Final Thoughts On Hooking Up Dryer Vents in Small 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 achievable.

A few essential supplies include a small cordless drill, metal vent clamps, a flexible extension drill bit holder, metal foil tape — and the most important of all — a flat dryer vent (called an offset vent).

And don’t forget to check the airflow outside at the vent hood cover to make sure the airflow is strong. If the airflow ever gets weak, you may need to clean the offset dryer vent of lint.

In addition, make sure that the outside vent flap is working properly, opening when there is airflow, and closing when the dryer stops.

Read Also >> What Are The Code Requirements Of Installing Dryer Vents?

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