Installing a Dryerbox

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:

one DryerBox

foil HVAC tape
Dremel Multi-Max with drywall and metal cutting attachments
utility knife
pencil for marking the hole
joint compound and putty knife (to patch drywall)
painters tape
caulk
pry-bar or hammer
4″ rigid metal duct
Aluminum Flex (Semi-rigid vent pipe)
2″ wood screws
screwdriver
gloves and safety glasses

Step Zero:  Unplug the dryer, shut off the gas, and disconnect the vent hose from the dryer. 
Done.  That was easy.
dryerbox

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. 🙂

Wait…
Step 2: …then by hand, trace the cut-lines 7/8″ in from the outer edge lines on the two sides and 3/8″ from the top line.” 
 
I thought to myself, “Great, now you’ve ruined it”.
Step 3:  Using a drywall saw, cut out the hand-drawn inner cut line on the drywall and the original outer trace line over the baseboard.” 
 
Okay, so I was now facing glitch number one. After looking at the instructions more carefully, (shame on me) I realized that when installing the retrofit box for existing construction the dryer box is supposed to sit flush with the drywall… OMG.  I was supposed to trace the box, then measure inside the line, mark a new line, and THEN cut. OMG. I was so mad at myself. Careless error.  I tried not to scream  worry too much and just thought, “Well I can patch a little bit of drywall after I get this pipe installed”.

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.

source: Dryerbox

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″

 
Seriously?  This says it’s supposed to help you get the pipe into the oval (not round like the vent pipe) opening in the top of the dryer box.  Feeling skeptical, and after reading the instructions very carefully (especially after my earlier mishap) I decided to go for it.  I grabbed my pliers, and as instructed, twisted the bottom of the pipe into what looked like a contorted mess.

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.

After I patched and replaced the drywall in front of the studs where I removed too much the first time (so mad at myself), I cut out a small rectangle of drywall exposing the duct work above my initial cut line.  To join the pipes I purchased a 4″ section of rigid metal duct from my local home improvement store.
dryerbox
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.

dryerbox

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. 🙂

dryerbox

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.

dryerbox

Finally, painted and ready to hook up to the dryer!  Just stunning. 🙂

The first rule when connecting the dryer to the semi-rigid vent hose is don’t use foil tape in this location. The dryer needs to be easily moved so that the duct can be cleaned out periodically and trying to replace foil tape each time just isn’t practical. For this connection I used a clamp that can be tightened with a screwdriver. This makes disconnecting the dryer much easier.  This end was already prepped and flattened from when I rolled it with my PVC pipe earlier, so all I had to do was slip the connector on, hook it up, and tighten the screw.
dryerbox

All hooked up and ready to be more efficient!

dryerbox

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.

dryerbox

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Comments

Installing a Dryerbox — 19 Comments

    • That’s exactly what I had to do to get the courage. Once you tear the wall open and realize no one is there to “save” you, it will happen pretty quick. 😉

  1. I’m so excited to have found this on Pinterest. My dryer current sticks out farther than yours did and is constantly getting banged by the door. I’m certainly not brave enough to do this on my own so I’ve sent your blog page to my dad, Mr. Handy Man. He loves to visit me (live in different states) once or twice a year and do handy projects for me.

  2. OMG! I’m so glad you posted this tutorial. You don’t know how much I needed this tutorial. A while back (about 10 5 yrs. ago) we had our washer and dryer enclosed into individual cabinets. Now the newer dryer I have does not fit in the cabinet. The cabinet doors won’t closed. So, my husband had my brother-in-law makeshift some kind of crappy door that stick out about 4″ pass the other cabinet. It looks terrible. I’ve been living with this crappy door for far too long. I going to attempt to install the dryerbox following your tutorial. Wish me luck.

  3. I experienced similar frustrations with my install. I cut the oval hole out large enough to get the pipe through. In the end it looks good and works good but was not an easy install.

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  5. Im gonna preach here! I’m 70 something yrs young, always been chasing the wolf from the door. I hate waiting to be rescued! I’d go get a ‘how-to’ book and beg or borrow tools. My experience taught me we women underestimate how clever we are. I’ve tiled floors, done lite electrical, plumbing rescues, and building projects. I’ve taught women around my life the same skills, and they zoomed ahead with amazing results! Don’t ever say you can’t! Of course you can! My Mom had an embroidered pillow that read: Don’t Should On Me! I’d say she was giving me the advise I’m giving you.
    Sometimes I look back at what I’ve accomplished in absolute wonder: Did I really do that? Yes I did, and it was done correctly because I did it to my own standards. Zoom ahead!

  6. I have a very small space for my washer/dryer. The last person to install the dryer left the hole open, and I’m now cleaning lint out of the wall. In addition, ince installed I can’t get behind the dryer to connect it. So after some research i found a strong magnetic coupling that will connect itself. Genius invention. But after reading this post now I want a dryer box too. My dryer install is Tuesday, so I have one day to install the box. Wish me luck!

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