Like a lot of central Tucson bungalows there are no laundry facilities inside the house. Often the washer and dryer would be on a back patio. At our house, the laundry is in a big “shed” (actually more like a workshop and storage building, it’s 230 square feet).

I am in the process of converting half the shed into a woodshop. That means a lot of stuff being stored there has to go somewhere else. I decided to use some materials on hand to build a giant cabinet under the shed’s large porch. To do this, I had to move the dryer vent. I thought it might make a fun story, so here it is.

I grabbed the camera after I had cut the new hole on the inside. I used a Dremel with a drywall bit to cut it, and used the metal collar for the new vent cover as a template.

I grabbed the camera after I had cut the new hole on the inside. I used a long drill bit to bore a pilot hole through the interior drywall and exterior plywood sheathing. I then used a Dremel with a drywall bit to cut the inside 4" hole, using the metal collar for the new vent cover as a template.

This tool is pretty handy for cutting circles that are exactly circles. It doesn't actually cut the hole, but it does score the surface so I can cut it with something else. Like a Dremel or, on the outside, a jigsaw.

This tool is pretty handy for cutting circles that are exactly circles. It doesn't actually cut the hole, but it does score the surface so I can cut it with something else. Like a Dremel or, on the outside, a jigsaw. The center fit in the pilot hole I drilled earlier.

I cut out the insulation with some shears. The jigsaw actually did most of the cutting for me so it was easy to pull it out.

Note that there are water lines and electrical lines in this exterior wall. I had installed them a couple years ago and took pictures before covering them up with drywall, so I knew where the lines were and thus where I could cut the hole for the dryer vent. Always confirm where your utility lines are before drilling or cutting into a wall! (I speak from experience.)

I cut out the insulation with some shears. The jigsaw actually did most of the cutting for me so it was easy to pull it out.

I cut out the insulation with some shears. The jigsaw actually did most of the cutting for me so it was easy to pull it out.

I then test-fitted the new vent cover and it fit perfectly!

I then test-fitted the new vent cover and it fit perfectly!

I put a bead of caulk around the hole and another around the vent cover. I didn't put caulk on the bottom side of the vent cover so any moisture or condensation between the metal cover and the wall would have an avenue of escape.

I put a bead of caulk around the hole and another around the vent cover. I didn't put caulk on the bottom side of the vent cover so any moisture or condensation between the metal cover and the wall would have an avenue of escape.

The vent cover didn't come with any screws, but I scavenged around and found four hex-head galvanized screws with wood threads. They were just the right length for the half-inch plywood sheathing.

The vent cover didn't come with any screws, but I scavenged around and found four hex-head galvanized screws with wood threads. They were just the right length for the half-inch plywood sheathing.

The outside is done!

The outside is done!

Here it is from the inside. First I cut away the insulation and paper facing that got pushed through. I didn't want it to interfere with the collar.

Here it is from the inside. First I cut away the insulation and paper facing that got pushed through. I didn't want it to interfere with the collar.

I put a bead of caulk around the collar, mostly just to hold it in place. I slipped the collar over the duct and stuck it to the wall. The wall surface was a little uneven so the collar didn't sit perfectly flush but it looks okay.

I put a bead of caulk around the collar, mostly just to hold it in place. I slipped the collar over the duct and stuck it to the wall. The wall surface was a little uneven so the collar didn't sit perfectly flush but it looks okay.

Here is the old duct. It was the cheap, thin-wall flexible foil duct. When I did my homework on properly venting dryers most professionals did not recommend this stuff. It restricts air flow, tears easily, and collects more lint. When I shook it out I found more than lint stuck in there, like a clothes pin and a bit of copper wire.

Here is the old duct. It was the cheap, thin-wall flexible foil duct. When I did my homework on properly venting dryers the professionals did not recommend this stuff. It restricts air flow, tears easily, and collects more lint. When I shook it out I found more than lint stuck in there, like a clothes pin and a bit of copper wire.

Here is the old duct. It was the cheap, thin-wall flexible foil duct. When I did my homework on properly venting dryers most professionals did not recommend this stuff. It restricts air flow, tears easily, and collects more lint. When I shook it out I found more than lint stuck in there, like a clothes pin and a bit of copper wire.

The best duct to use is rigid steel or aluminum. But since I wanted to be able to pull the dryer away from the wall, I compromised on semi-rigid aluminum. Much more durable than the foil stuff!

Here is the original duct cover. It's plastic. It worked okay except that the rodent screen on the bottom constantly clogged with lint and needed to be cleaned.

Here is the original duct cover. It's plastic. It worked okay except that the rodent screen on the bottom constantly clogged with lint and needed to be cleaned.

I pulled it off and here is the hole it left.

I pulled it off and here is the hole it left. The yellow stuff is expanding foam sealant I installed when we insulated and drywalled the interior.

Back inside I decided to cover the hole in the drywall left by the old vent. Funny, the piece I cut for the other hole fit pretty well. So I slapped some mud on there and plugged the hole. It'll need a couple more coats but it doesn't need to be pretty.

Back inside I decided to cover the hole in the drywall left by the old vent. Funny, the piece I cut for the other hole fit pretty well. So I slapped some mud on there and plugged the hole. It'll need a couple more coats but it doesn't need to be pretty.

Come to think of it, the insulation I took from the new hole just happens to fit the old one. So I stuffed it in there from the outside. Now all that's left to do is cover the old hole on the exterior. It will get covered by a piece of wood trim when we construct the new cabinet.

Come to think of it, the insulation I took from the new hole just happens to fit the old one. So I stuffed it in there from the outside. Now all that's left to do is cover the old hole on the exterior. It will get covered by a piece of wood trim when we construct the new cabinet.

So there it is, a relocated dryer vent. The new one works noticeably better than the old one because of the higher grade materials: drying time is reduced and there’s less maintenance and risk of fire. I expect it won’t take long to recover the money spent on the semi-rigid duct and the steel vent in saved electricity, as an electric dryer is a major energy hog.

Some external links for more information:

The process for ducting a bathroom exhaust fan is similar, as documented on this site.

I also found some good tips for properly installing a dryer duct.

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