Dryer transition vent connectors

Dryer vents  needs routine maintenance for fire safety.

The lint from dryers is flammable and can build up on the insides of ducts. Especially problematic are the types of dryer ducts that are corrugated or flexible. The worst of these is the white plastic ones that are no longer allowed on dryers due to their high risk of fire. If you have this type of vent pipe on your dryer get it changed now.

Another very common type of dryer vent is  flexible metal foil type vent pipe.

Foil Type Dryer Transition Duct

Foil Type Dryer Transition Duct

This foil covered plastic vent pipe and is only marginally better than its cousin the white flexible plastic duct. The interesting thing about this pipe is that it is “UL Listed” for installation on dryers—but only as a transition from the dryer to the smooth wall pipe in the wall or floor. This is the main reason we are seeing it installed, and even approved by jurisdictional building inspectors, even though, it is expressly forbidden by the installation instructions of most dryer manufacturers. Maytag does not allow it and here is a picture of what Whirlpool’s installation instructions have to say about it:

Don't use foil type vent pipe on dryers

Don’t use foil type vent pipe on dryers

Keep in mind that in a “pissing match” between “Building Codes” and “Manufacturer’s Instructions”—the Manufacturer wins.

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Comments

  1. That corrugated foil thing ain’t a vent. All of the dryer manufacturers allow that stuff as a dryer transition duct; just not as a dryer duct.

    The installation instructions you show in the photo call for a “rigid or flexible heavy metal vent”, but there is no such thing as a ‘flexible heavy metal vent’. I wonder what they’re talking about?

    If you don’t like the foil stuff, what do you recommend using between the dryer and the duct?

  2. Charles Buell says:

    Reuben, yes it is confusing—have you ever seen what happens to the foil under a flame? It just goes poof. I have smooth wall metal pipe on mine and they make a smooth wall adapter with a slip-sleeve that seems pretty good. If all else fails the corrugated flex metal duct seems OK—-better than the foil. It is not really clear to me whether they are considering the transition to be part of the vent or not.

    • Charles Buell says:

      Reuben, to clarify this issue I spoke with Whirlpool today and they stressed that when they are talking about “vent pipe” they mean from the dryer to the point of termination with no distinction made for the “transition connector.” They said “no foil type duct anywhere in the vent.”

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