Have you ever wondered why 99.9% of dryer vent hoods appear to be the $5 plastic variety? These dryer vent hoods or vent covers look like someone either installed very tiny venetian blinds on your exterior wall, or that you’re possibly trying to catch small rodents in a flimsy, lint-filled cage. Either way they don’t really convey high style. They’re almost always glaring white, regardless of the color of the home, or what colors might be aesthetically pleasing. They’re also prone to lint blockages and critters finding their way inside. Today, we’re going to propose something radical: replace your cheapie dryer vent hood with something that actually looks good! It’s typically a ten minute job that can have a subtle, but very nice visual impact on your home. We’ll dive into our experience with one particular brand as well as cover some alternative stylish dryer vent products to consider.
Before we get into the in and outs of dryer vent hood alternatives, let’s start with a little public service announcement. Regardless of whether you decide to replace your ugly dryer vent hood, we highly recommend cleaning out your dryer vent. Depending on how your dryer is installed and how long your vent run is, a vent cleaning can be a simple diy job with a basic dryer vent cleaning kit, or something you hire a local company for.
In-O-Vate Dryer Wall Vent
A couple years ago we were covering the National Hardware Show when we stumbled across the In-O-Vate company booth. It was filled with dryer vent products, including their line of sleek Dryer Wall Vents available in white, tan and brown options. They sent us a couple to evaluate, and a prompt 2 1/2 years later, we’re sharing the info!
At first glance, the Dryer Wall Vent looks very simple. Its clean lines hide some of its features, including a magnetic closure to help secure the door automatically, and two small rubber bumpers to avoid the dreaded noise your metal dryer vent hood makes when it flaps shut. The magnets are just strong enough to close the door, but light enough that the door will still swing open easily when air starts flowing from your dryer. The design is elegant and neutral enough to work on both traditional and more modern style homes.
Because there is no “cage” or grill needed to keep critters out, there is also less risk of lint build-up. Aside from a clean design that is aesthetically appealing, it turns out the Dryer Wall Vent’s design results in little to no resistance to the air escaping from your dyer. And, unlike your plastic vent hood, which is probably deteriorating right now, the 26 & 30 Gauge, powder-coated steel design is intended to minimize corrosion. Ours still looks as good as when it was installed more than two years ago. How’s that for
procrastinating long term testing?! The design also makes cleaning your vent readily accessible.
Here’s a quick video covering a slightly more complicated install than ours:
Dryer Vent Hood Installation
Installation was very easy in our case, since the vent was ground level and accessible from both sides of the wall. In most cases, you’ll simply unscrew the existing vent hood and then connect the snug-fitting duct connection on the Dryer Wall Vent to your existing 4″ duct pipe. In-O-Vate suggested installing the Dryer Wall Vent using caulk or a “weather-proof butyl-like sealant / adhesive.”
Somehow I could not bring myself to install in that fastener-less fashion, so I carefully ran four screws through the included screw mount holes, despite their warnings that doing so can skew the frame and interfere with closing. As a result, our vent fails to close all the way at times. I might be able to un-skew the frame, but I haven’t bothered to do so yet. My advice would be to follow their advice – install without screws unless you really feel your dryer vent hood will want to jump out of place.
Dryer Vent Hood Alternatives
Despite our favorable experience with the Dryer Wall Vent, there are other dryer vent cover alternatives out there. For traditional homes and architecture, I’m a fan of using copper for accents. It lasts forever, and it’s hard to match the appeal and warmth of copper and its natural patina over time.
If your home features contemporary architecture, then an aluminum or, better yet, stainless steel option might be preferred. We dig the style on the Seiho aluminum dryer vent hood from HvacQuick, shown below.
When it comes to the appeal of a home, often times the little details can make big impressions. Now that we have hopefully given you a few ideas, splurge a little, grab yourself a fancy-pants dryer vent hood and dial up your home’s style a notch or two. Oh, and don’t forget to clean out all that dryer lint while you’re at it!
In-O-Vate Dryer Wall Vent for $30:
DIY Dryer Vent Cleaning Kit $20-$30: