Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, but opinions are 100% mine.
I’ve been working on organizing and fixing the layout of my laundry room and after reading Pretty Handy Girl’s article on dryer vents I went on a mission to change our vent pipe to one that was non-combustible. However, we still had the problem of the dryer sticking out from the wall almost half a foot! I did some research and ran across the beautiful Dryerbox invention. Installing a Dryerbox seems pretty simple when you read at the instructions. So, I was thrilled when my fiancé came home and surprised me with a brand-new, shiny Dryerbox (model 400) . For those of you who aren’t familiar with this product, the dryer box is a ventilation system that houses the duct work in the wall and allows the dryer to be pushed closer to the wall. In our narrow laundry room space is at a premium so an extra 4-5 inches really does help.
In my mission to correct our laundry room space issue and install the Dryerbox, I gathered the following items:
foil HVAC tape
Dremel Multi-Max with drywall and metal cutting attachments
pencil for marking the hole
joint compound and putty knife (to patch drywall)
pry-bar or hammer
4″ rigid metal duct
Aluminum Flex (Semi-rigid vent pipe)
2″ wood screws
gloves and safety glasses
Done. That was easy.
“Step 1: Cut an 8” square investigation hole near the center of the proposed appliance about 10″ off the floor”
Okay, time for the real stuff! Following the instructions, I cut an exploratory hole using a utility knife a few inches above the existing vent to see what was in my wall and make sure nothing would prevent installation. Everything looked good; no issues to report.
“Step 2: Confirming that installation is possible, mark and cut the final rough opening. Using the Dryerbox as a template, place it face first on the wall. Position the bottom edge 3/8″ from floor and then trace the outer edges on the wall an baseboard…”
I went ahead with step number two and traced the perimeter of the dryerbox and cut it out with my Dremel Multi-Max drywall blade. Feelin’ good about my skills. 🙂
“Step 4: Measure and mark the existing vent pipe 1-3/4″ down from the lower top edge of the drywall. Using a Dremel rotary tool with a cutting disc or an oscillating multi-tool with a metal cutting blade provide the most accurate results to remove the existing exhaust pipe.”
I went on to step number four and cut the existing vent pipe a few inches below the edge of the drywall. I also had to remove the metal strapping and blocks you can see in the photo above using a pry-bar. Here’s a photo from the Dryerbox website of what the cut pipe is supposed to look like, because in my frustration over step #3, I did not take one after this step.
“Step 5: With needle nose pliers or a similar crimping tool, crimp the end of the vent pipe by grabbing and twisting the metal in even increments all the way around its circumference. This will narrow the pipe end and assist you when installing the Dryerbox in step #6″
“Step 6: Position the upper end of the Dryerbox into the opening in the wall and align the pipe through the opening in the top port. Wearing leather gloves, reach through the top port and attempt to guide the pipe through the port opening.”
This was not working. This was glitch number 2, 3, 4, and 5. I was really trying not to hate my new dryerbox. After much wrestling and even involving my foot to hold this box up against the wall, while I tried to force this pipe through the narrow, unrealistic opening, I was left with a crunched up, tiny piece of pipe that I could never straighten out again…sigh… I read step 7 for some hope.
“Step 7: Once the pipe is through the top port, continue to push the Dryerbox from the bottom to be flush to the drywall. Use a drywall screw or self-tapping screw to secure the bottom of the Dryerbox to the bottom plate. The top is held firmly against the drywall by the pipe’s penetration. Un-crimp the pipe and make sure it has no burrs or obstructions. Caulk the baseboard cuts and any gaps.”
I couldn’t just leave it like this. I mean, having any rough or bumpy spots along the way would just be a place for lint to accumulate, which could eventually block the pipe all together. The instructions said plain and clear, “Un-crimp the pipe and make sure it has no burrs or obstructions“. Yeah, right. That mangled pipe was not straightening out. I was feeling discouraged. Then, I had an epiphany…
“If I already have to patch drywall, why don’t I just cut the drywall a little higher than the box, cut my pipe off above the box, and feed a new section of 4″ rigid pipe through the oval opening before I install the box. Then I can join the two pipes together!” I prayed.
|new 4″ rigid pipe
source: Home Depot
I cut the new section of pipe to about 8″ long and fed it through the oval opening (seam end on top), with virtually no problem. I put the dryerbox into the wall space and I made sure the seamed end of my new pipe went snugly into the existing pipe. *Note* You always want the male end of the duct pointing in the direction of airflow. Once I was sure they were connected properly, I screwed the dryerbox into place at the bottom. To secure the new section of pipe to the old section I used metal foil tape (not duct tape) and carefully wrapped it around the seam making sure to press it firmly into place.
Holy goodness, I was surprised my plan was actually working!!
To make connecting the semi-rigid flex duct to the 4″ rigid duct easier, I flattened out the ridges on each end of the pipe by using a spare piece of PVC as a rolling-pin like this. It made sliding the flex duct over the 4″ rigid pipe soooo much easier. Last, I taped that joint with more metal foil tape. Applying the foil tape is a lot like applying contact paper – it has a removable backing that covers the adhesive. Thank goodness it does, because getting the tape behind the duct in such a narrow space would have been a nightmare if not for the protective backing. I shimmied the tape behind the metal duct with the backing still on and then peeled off about an inch so I could stick it to the duct. Once it was in place I slowly peeled the backing off between the tape and the duct…whew! I smoothed it out and all was good. 🙂
Wow OMG I felt like a genius! This was so much easier than trying to wrestle a tiny little crunched up piece of pipe through this weird awkward hole!!! It may not be the prettiest thing, but it sure beats trying to straighten out a wadded up pipe that would have almost never fit into that hole for me. Plus I knew if I just left that crunched up pipe like it was and attached the semi-rigid vent pipe to it, lint would have been trapped on all those jagged edges, which is nothing but a fire hazard!
After my miraculous installation, I went on to patch the drywall, caulk, and paint. After I finished patching I decided to use some painters tape to avoid getting any more mess on the edge of the dryerbox. Taping before caulking is much easier than cleaning the edge of the dryerbox. After applying caulk and smoothing it out, I peeled the tape off before it dried, which gave me a perfect caulk line. When the caulk was dry, I taped my edges for the last time, and painted.
Finally, painted and ready to hook up to the dryer! Just stunning. 🙂
All hooked up and ready to be more efficient!
Finally, here is the dryer in it’s new home. I have so much more space it seems! No more do-si-do around the dryer door to load and unload it. Even though this was frustrating to install (mostly my fault) I am pleased with how it turned out.