Picking the Right Duct Clamps for a Dryer

Stainless steel worm gear type clamps are an important component of the exhaust duct system for home clothes dryers. Being able to easily loosen and tighten these clamps to access the ducting is an important component of home dyer maintenance.

It is estimated that every year over 2,900 serious home fires result from clothes dryers that have allowed too much lint accumulation in their vent system. The only long term cure for this is regular preventative maintenance which includes cleaning the ducts every one or two years depending on the use of the dryer. Of course, every time the dryer has finished operation it’s a good idea to extract the lint trap and remove any accumulated lint.

If you think that the lint trap will effectively remove 100% of the lint from the system, you only need to inspect a vent system that has been in place 2-3 years to see that this is absolutely untrue. Lint escapes the lint trap and eventually lines the interior of the duct system. Systems with corrugated metal or plastic hose are the most susceptible to high levels of accumulation. In addition to fire hazard, one of the other problems that develop from a clogged home dryer vent system is that excess humidity can build up in the home’s interior. This is especially a problem when inadvertently the dryer vent hose becomes disengaged from the dryer.

There are various situations that indicate when there is failure or blockage in the vent system.

  • The temperature of dried clothes seems hotter.
  • The outside surface of the dryer gets excessively warm.
  • Clothes take longer to dry.
  • There is a slight burning smell in the air after a drying cycle.

Any of these symptoms should be investigated immediately and almost invariably the result of the investigation will be that the vent system is clogged with lint.


In order to correct the situation it is necessary to clean everything in the system from the lint trap to the exhaust louver on the outside of the home.

  • If your dryer has a flexible metal or plastic exhaust hose and you are still inclined to use this particular method of venting the dryer (please note that many new building codes no longer allow this type of ducting due to the fire hazard it presents) you should remove the entire duct, take it outside, and collapse it and clean it thoroughly on the inside. Better yet, buy a new duct and replace it. At this point you should also clean the exhaust opening on the back of the dryer and clean the louver exhaust fixture on the outside of the home.
  • If you have rigid metal duct tubing, you need to disengage this from the back of the dryer, and then use a special duct cleaning brush, which typically is a very soft brush that comes with 24” extensions that can be coupled together to allow you to move the brush through the entire duct system. Keep in mind that this becomes problematic if you have any elbows in which case some of the elbows need to be disengaged for the brush to get free and easy access to the ducts.
  • If you have solid metal tubing, you may want to take a look to see where the tubing is installed. Should the tubing travel through unheated areas of the home and areas subject to low temperatures, you want to make sure that that section of tubing is properly insulated. If it’s not, moisture will condense on the inside of the duct and eventually rot it out, not to mention being able to flow back into your clothes dryer system. Once the ducts have been disconnected and properly cleaned it’s time to reassemble.
  • If you have rigid metal duct work you will need to get foil faced UL approved duct tape, not the cheap plastic or cloth type as that is not adequate for this task and is not fire rated. Use this to seal any joints in the ducting.

It is now necessary to reconnect the tubing at either or both ends. Use 4” or 5” worm gear drive type stainless steel hose clamps. The preferred and most effective way to use clamps is to use two clamps at each point. Set them up so that the heads of the screws are opposed. This type of clamp is readily purchased at Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, and of course online. Since many times you are working in a tight spot and can only get one hand on the clamp, the easiest and best clamps to use are clamps that use a key style toggle that can be turned and tightened with one hand.

There are several brands of this type of clamp: Vivosun, Hilitchi, Lokman, Hydrofarm, Breeze Power, Ideal, Anpro, U Xcell, Rontiex, Lasko, Dundas Jafine, Deflect-O, iPower, Kelaro, Universal, Cambridge, Qualihome, Big Horn, and Tech Team Products. I chose to use Tech Team Products # 703 key drive, 4 inch stainless steel, worm gear drive clamps https://www.amazon.com/Band-Style-Key-Style-Stainless-Collection-Clothes/dp/B079RSJCJN/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1537879464&sr=8-6&keywords=dryer+vent+clamp as they have an excellent rating, are made to exacting standards, and are extremely easy to use.

The Tech Team clamps use a key style device rather than a Phillips style screw to tighten the clamp. This allows you to use only one hand to tighten the clamp. This is a very useful feature when you are working in the tight space behind a clothes dryer. In addition if the clamp needs an additional tightening using a pair of slip joint or linesmans pliers will get the job done. Once you have everything assembled you should check the system before putting the dryer back into place. You will want to do a test run to check that a sufficient volume of air is leaving the vent on the outside. If that’s the case you are good to go. Put your dryer back and you are back in business.


Of course it goes without saying that before you start the process, if it’s an electric dryer you might want to unplug it or disconnect the electricity, and of course if it is a gas dryer, you will want to be very careful moving it away from the wall and turn off the gas valve until after you have finished the process, at which point you can turn the gas back on when you