Can You Use Duct Tape for Dryer Vents: Which Tape is Best

Duct tape seems to be the solution to almost every issue you have. When you want to keep something together or a quick solution, you’ll typically grab duct tape and forget about it. 

If your dryer flexible duct pipe breaks or gets a hole in it, is it wise to use duct tape? Well, you have come to the right place for the answer!

It is unwise to use duct tape for your clothes dryer vents. The reason being is because it can cause health and safety concerns within your home. 

Duct tape uses a strong adhesive. However, the stickiness from the tape eventually dries out because of the fluctuating temperatures. 

Not to mention dryer gas appliances produce carbon monoxide, which can go into your home due to tears, rips, and cracks within the ducts. 

Keep reading to find out what you can use for clothes vents and which option is the best for you. 

Can You Use Duct Tape on a Dryer Vent? 

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is no, and the reason for this would be the wide range of accidents or hazards that can potentially occur when you use it, never mind how convenient a solution is.

One might be able to argue the point that it would make for an excellent temporary solution, and to that end, you would be more or less correct. 

However, the better choice would be not to utilize it because the hazards can still occur, but it is less likely to do so given the little time frame.

Assuming you have no other options at hand, you would be better off refraining from the duct tape and going to a laundromat or a close relative or friend’s home to dry your clothing. 

Opting for this approach will not only ensure that no further damage occurs to your dryer, but you can avoid harming yourself, your family, and your home for just a few dollars and a bit of extra time.

What if You Want a Quick Fix?

Bearing the above in mind, some people may still want a quick fix. If you cannot or do not want to repair the vent yourself manually, another answer you can potentially work with (depending on the severity of the hole in your vent) would be using aluminum foil tape.

Aluminum foil tape (metal foil tape) isn’t as widely known for its open-ended application for all of life’s troubles, but it makes for an excellent solution to your current dryer ducting problem. 

The primary difference between metal tape and duct tape would be that the adhesive in duct tape will melt or degrade over time, while aluminum will retain its bond and do so without eroding over time.

How to Seal a Dryer Duct

When you initially get your dryer transition duct, you may find yourself in quite the predicament. Fixing a hole that has suddenly formed over time on your vent is one thing, but adequately sealing your vent to prevent any of the excess heat or lint from encasing the rest of your home is a different subject entirely.

Sealing the vent itself will require a few tools of the trade to get the job done correctly. You will also need to familiarize yourself with the understanding that you should not be allowing any airflow to escape from the entrance or exit of the vent itself.

The more knowledgeable you may be thinking that this is what the vent covers are supposed to prevent, and to an extent, you would be correct. 

However, the vent covers only handle your more extensive issues. The more significant problems would be anything ranging from large rodents looking to creep into your home or the more blatantly obvious, extreme heat and lint fluff.

Getting that perfect seal to prevent all insects, dust, debris, and lint from escaping may prove difficult. You will want to apply either some spray foam or silicone caulk around the edge of the dryer vent itself and make a clean seal around the area.

When attempting to rectify this problem, the next step you will want to plan is just how sizeable the gap you are trying to seal. 

We will dive more into the different categories and handle them specifically below.

Tools You’ll Need

1. Narrow Gaps

Starting from the most standard step, you will want to remove the dryer vent cover to gain access to your work area, then take a few moments to clean it up so no excess materials can damage or weaken the seal. 

Next, you will want to trim the tip-off of your tube of caulk and take some time to guarantee the opening itself is roughly 1/16-inch in diameter and you are ready to begin the sealing process. 

Please pick up your vent cover again and attach it directly to your wall. 

Slowly go around the edge of the gap between the two until you’ve gone around the entire outside perimeter of the opening, then use a spare dry cloth to get any excess caulk, and the job has finished!

If you did have more than a little extra caulk come out, and more importantly, let it dry before doing something about it, don’t worry. You can still fix this and have the area looking as pristine as you’d like it to be. 

Take your utility knife to any bumps or heavily caked areas if your fingernail won’t get the job done, then give the more minor spots a dab with some paint thinner, or better, mineral spirits.

2. Medium to Large Gaps

Seeing as we will be scaling up the size of the gap itself, our preventative measures will need to be a bit larger as well. 

In light of this, you will want to have some safety goggles on hand to avoid damaging your eyes and begin using your spray foam.

Before using the spray foam itself, it is paramount to mention that not all spray foams are made equal, and more to the point that all serve a unique purpose and fill a specific need for different jobs that may arise. 

Exercise some diligence and look for a spray foam that specifically states it’s best used for sealing cracks and gaps. 

That way, you can guarantee there won’t be any bad reactions to your seal, and everything goes smoothly.

The application of the spray foam itself is relatively straightforward. You still want to clean the area just as you would when dealing with a narrow gap. 

After that, you place the spray straw into the connective area. You will then attach the vent to the wall in much the same fashion.

When using the spray itself, you want to avoid spraying it directly into the gap. Not spewing it in the aperture is due to the foam itself expanding by roughly 25% or so, and as such, you will want to give the spray a bit of room to do its job.

What Kind of Tape Can You Use on a Dryer Vent?

As we touched base on above, it’s best to use aluminum foil tape instead of duct tape should the need arise. Duct tape is non-foil tape that isn’t suitable for an exhaust duct.

Generally speaking, duct tape is for holding things together that either will not get wet or extremely hot, while aluminum can weather the storm, or at the very least, won’t submit when it gets a little hot under the collar.

Duct Tape vs. Aluminum Tape

They both fill the role of keeping things together by being adhesive, but the most significant difference between them lies in heat tolerance or lack of it, in the case of duct tape.

When exposed to excessive amounts of heat, the adhesive and additional fibers in duct tape can not only crack and peel but, given the opportunity, may even combust if circumstances align just right.

Aluminum tape (metal tape) suffered no such drawback and was made to specifically withstand heat or cover shortcomings and unsightly edges like the corners of your vent or even the tops of screws that are drilled into metal.

Is Duct Tape Flammable?

Traditionally, duct tape is not flammable after initially applying it to an area.

However, after enduring some constant abuse and heat directly, the adhesive that keeps it secured in place will melt away, leaving the remnants of the tape to dry out and eventually become ripe for the kindling.

For this process to even begin, the tape itself has to exceed over 200 degrees Fahrenheit and remain above that temperature for an extended time. 

Only then can the melting process begin, but the tape itself can start to degrade at extreme temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit or more which is common for a dryer hose.

What Temperature Can Duct Tape Melt?

The temperature has to be not only above 200 degrees Fahrenheit but remains so for a long enough time that the adhesive and fibers in the tape itself can begin to melt away properly. 

Other Areas You Should Not Place Duct Tape

While there is a wide range of places you should not put duct tape, some of the most blatantly obvious ones would be areas with water, as the adhesive can dissolve, and heated areas for the same reasoning.

A few other areas where your tape will not hold its name would be in areas with UV lighting, thanks to it slowly but surely damaging the adhesive.

Other areas that have not been evenly distributed may cause a significant strain on the tape or not form the kind of bond you are looking for in the first place.

Conclusion

No circumstance can befall you that would allow using duct tape on your dryer vent the right choice, or better, the safe one. Take some time to consider your options and decide based on safety and cost-effective measures.

Sources

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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