How to Install a Dryer Vent That Keeps Out Pests

Updated: Jan. 02, 2020

Keep energy in and mice out

FH01MAY_DRYVEN_02-2Family Handyman
Cheap dryer vents with flimsy flaps break or clog up with lint and dirt, causing energy leaks and allowing access for pests. Keep them out with a dryer vent upgrade.

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The new vent fits the same opening

Photo 1: Pull the old vent

Remove the old vent by unscrewing the four corners, pulling out the vent a few inches and loosening the hose clamps around the old ducting. Vacuum out old lint (and clean out nests) from the ducting.

Photo 2: Attach the elbow to the house

Connect the old dryer ducting to a 4-in. metal duct collar and insert it into the bottom of the new elbow. Install the elbow base by laying a bead of latex caulk around the flange perimeter, then hold the elbow level and attach it to the house with four 1-in. galvanized sheet metal screws. Wipe off the excess caulk.

Photo 3: Add the top

Slide the vent body onto the elbow and screw it to the house with two 1-in. galvanized sheet metal screws. Drop the floating vent closer (or cup) into the vent body and pop on the weather lid. Every three months, remove the lid and vacuum any lint from the floating cup, the elbow and the outer ducting.

A dryer vent with a loose or broken flapper invites drafts and mice into your house. And when clogged with lint, vents not only trap moist air but also become a fire hazard. Replace that old dryer vent with this sturdier unit that:

  • Allows easier outside access for vacuuming lint.
  • Provides a better seal to keep out vermin.
  • Saves energy by allowing waste dryer heat to radiate back into the house once the dryer’s cycle is complete.

The dryer vent installs in 20 minutes (Photos 1 – 3). It’s available at home centers, hardware stores, and internet sites.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Caulk gun
  • Cordless drill
  • Drill bit set
  • Shop vacuum

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Acrylic caulk
  • Dryer vent
  • Galvanized screws