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Prevent Future Issues With Your Dryer By Replacing Your Outdoor Vent Hood

While there are a variety of problems that your dryer can experience, a common occurrence is related to a failure of the dryer vent hood outside your home. When this cover gets damaged—perhaps becoming cracked and brittle due to the weather—critters such as squirrels, mice, and chipmunks can get inside the vent. These pests then make nests that impede the flow of air and possibly cause your dryer to overheat or, worse, result in a fire. While you can certainly call an appliance repair service to replace a broken vent hood, it's also possible to do this work yourself. Here's how to approach this task.

Make Safety A Priority

On some homes, the dryer vent hood outside the home will be at ground level; for other homes, it will be high enough that you'll need to access it with a ladder. If you're dealing with an elevated vent hood, you'll need to either use a ladder and have a family member or friend hold the bottom, or else rent one or two flights of scaffolding from your local home improvement center so that you can complete the job safely.

Remove The Old One

Depending on the degree of damage to the old vent hood, it may be possible to pull off with your hands. Otherwise, you'll typically be able to remove it with a screwdriver; although vent hoods differ in style and manufacturer, they're often just attached to a bracket with a set of screws. When you remove the screws, the vent hood will come off in your hands. You can then visit your local home improvement center and buy a replacement. It's worthwhile to take the old one so that you can buy a new one of a comparable size and with the mounting holes in the same location.

Install The New One

While you should always check the installation instructions on the packaging, installing your new vent hood is a simple process. Hold it up against the opening in the wall where the old one was situated, and make sure that you line up the screw holes. Then, it's simply a matter of driving the screws through the cover's mounting holes and into the bracket in the wall. When it's mounted correctly, the new vent hood's cover should hang down and cover the opening. Have a family member turn on the dryer, and you should see the force of the hot air blowing the cover open, but when the dryer is turned off, the cover should return to the closed position.