How to Install a Basement Exhaust Vent

Getting the Air to Flow Through Your Basement

An indication that your basement is needing an exhaust vent is, the fact that the air in the basement smells musty and moldy. It should be just as fresh smelling as the rest of your house. If your basement has the typical few windows that do not open very much, installing an exhaust vent can simply be a matter of replacing one of the windows with a basement exhaust fan. If you choose to keep all the natural light that you can, then cutting an opening the size you will need for the vent you choose, is what you will have to do.

About six or seven years ago my husband and I bought a small house intending to use it for investment purposes. It was a darling, well maintained house; and we felt that we just could not pass it up.

The basement in the house appeared as well maintained as the rest of the house, and it had recently been cleaned. There is no mistaking the power and smell of Pine Sol.

Even though the basement had been kept clean, there was an unmistakable smell of dirt and mold. We set about with plans to better ventilate the basement.

Our son, who is a contractor, came out and taped a piece of saran wrap to the lower outside corner. He explained to us; if after a few days the wall side of the wrap shows condensation, then we had a seepage problem. If that were the case, we would have to have the basement waterproofed. If there was condensation on the outside of the wrap, then we would need to install a ventilation fan. Thank goodness all we needed was the exhaust vent.

We purchased our basement exhaust fan a Home Depot; took it home, and measured on the back wall just where we wanted it placed. I drew a rectangle on the wall with a carpenter’s square and level. My husband drilled a hole in each of the four corners so that I could fit my Sawzall blade into it and cut each line with ease.

With the hole made, we framed it with 2×4’s and caulked between the frame and wall to seal it. The rest of the job was pretty easy. We mounted the fan into the opening, securing with bolts, and then caulked again between the louver housing and the wall.

The wiring for the fan went smoothly because the instructions that came with the ventilation fan were really easy to follow. Basically, it was a matter of running a cable from the junction box to the switch box, and from the switch box to the fan. Actually, it is not quite that simple, but that was the job in a nutshell. Our son, who is the contractor; has a lot of experience working with electricity, did this part of the job for us.

To give the basement room greater appeal, my husband took his router and made a groove from the exhaust fan to the switch box, and from there to the junction box. We then put the wiring into this recess and patched over it. After the room was painted you could not tell that adding the basement exhaust vent was an after-thought. It looked as though it had been put in when the house was built. It also kept the basement warmer than it would have been with windows left open just a little.

If you are considering installing a basement exhaust vent yourself, make sure that you purchase one that comes with good instructions; and when doing the wiring, make sure the power is turned off.


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