Replacing a dryer vent

How to replace your nasty old dryer vent

Read on to learn how to replace your dryer vent. That ugly plastic dryer vent on the outside of your house doesn’t have to look like an eyesore.

old dryer vent to be replaced

Our home is over 40 years old, and I’m sure this vent has already been replaced once, but it’s gross and smackdab in the middle of our patio. Thankfully replacing a dryer vent is pretty straightforward and requires minimal tools..

Shopping for a Replacement Vent

If you’re ready to replace your exterior dryer vent, you’ll want to shop for a new one that is the same size. The vent size is determined by the diameter of the dryer duct that it covers. 4 inches dryer vents seem to be the most common, but it’s always best to measure before you shop so you don’t pick up the wrong one. Amazon has a ton of selections ranging from a few dollars to around a hundred. A simple plastic dryer vent can be found for under $15. Stainless dryer vents are in the $20-$30 range

We have lots of black, grey, and dark brown colors on the patio, so we chose to use a matching vent. We also didn’t want the dryer blowing in our faces, so we decided on a vent that directed the air down. Here is a link to the one we purchased

new and old dryer vents

Replacing an Exterior Dryer Vent

The old dryer vent was screwed to the concrete foundation. The screws were rusted; one broke when I tried to remove it. Once our new duct cover arrived, I pulled the old one.
After removing all the old screws, the vent came right out. The caulking that used to hold the vent in place had dried up. It wasn’t doing much of anything anymore.

dryer vent removal

Next, it was time to remove years of caked-on caulking. A pretty simple process with a decent utility knife. Brush off the remaining caulking with a wire brush, followed by some hot soapy water to remove any remaining residue. After a few passes, most of the old caulking came off.

removing old caulking

With the exposed dryer duct hole, I got a good look at all the lint and crap accumulated in the duct over the years. Over time this buildup of lint can be a fire hazard. This is an excellent time to clean out as much as possible.

Dryer duct with lint buildup

How to Replace a Dryer Vent

Installing the new dryer vent is a breeze. First, test fit to make sure your new vent will work. It’s hard to return once you get caulking on it.

I just used caulking to hold the vent in place and avoided the screws. You can’t tell from these pictures, but this vent comes apart, so you can screw in the base and snap the cover over the top. Use caulking to hold the vent in place. Replace the caulking every few years. I didn’t take any pictures of the caulking process, but I have a great article on caulking here.

Simply apply some caulking to the underside of the vent all around the 4″ hole. Make sure to place the caulking where it will meet the wall and not the giant hole.

Then stick the new vent in place, and apply more caulking around the outer edges to contact the wall and the vent. After an hour of dry time, it’s ready for use.

replacement dryer vent

This simple dryer vent replacement DIY is a subtle change, but it made a difference on our patio. No more hot air from the dryer blowing in our faces, and the dark brown color compliments all decor.

Before and After – Dryer Vent Replacement

Dryer vent replacement before and after

Along the way, I learned some tips to make DIYs like this dryer vent replacement more effortless.

Did you know that hole on the handle of your caulking gun is actually a cutter used to cut opened caulking tubes? This was a game-changer for me.

caulking gun cutter

Matching the caulking to the vent color makes the caulking almost invisible

new dryer vent replacement

Wire brushes are fantastic for removing stuff from concrete and loosening up the caked-on lint in the duct.

before and after lint removal

Check out our home improvement projects for more simple home upgrades.

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