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Old 10-27-2009, 10:37 AM
 
Location: Derby, KS
3,832 posts, read 7,506,154 times
Reputation: 1541
Default Open Exterior Vent In Basement???

I was doing some renovations in my basement and noticed that there is a Vent between the floors of my house that sticks outside the house. It's like a dryer vent that isn't hooked up to a dryer....know what I mean?

Well...it's just open to the outside air. There is no baffle to keep freezing cold or scortching hot air from coming in!!! And what's more is this vent is right next to the plumbing in my master bathroom! During the winter in this area it can get very cold....cold enough to freeze pipes! This is a new home that was built roughly a year ago so it's only been through one winter. But I can only imagine how much energy I wasted last year heating because I had this 4 inch open hole in the side of my house!

Can somebody tell me if I'm actually crazy and there is a legitimate need for this open hole for being there. In the mean time I plugged it with some fiberglass insulation.
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
8,112 posts, read 11,103,225 times
Reputation: 7071
It's not hooked to anything on the inside of your house - a bathroom exhaust fan, for example?
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Old 10-27-2009, 02:47 PM
 
74 posts, read 339,013 times
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Does it terminate anywhere near your utility room? I am guessing you probably have a hot water heater and gas furnace in the basement. Maybe it is there to provide combustion air? If that is the real reason for it, then it should be run all the way in to the utility room with the gas appliances and that room should be property insulated as to shield it from the rest of the house/basement.

Or, as CHTransplant says, it could be there for a future addition to the basement (such as a bathroom).

If the basement is unfinished, then you should have more than enough combustion air and plugging it with insulation should be fine.
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Old 10-27-2009, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Derby, KS
3,832 posts, read 7,506,154 times
Reputation: 1541
Quote:
Originally Posted by CHTransplant View Post
It's not hooked to anything on the inside of your house - a bathroom exhaust fan, for example?
All of my exhausts are connected (even the bathroom exhaust downstairs.

It's a 4" diameter tube like a Dryer vent tube. It's all of 8" long...connected to nothing. On the outside of the house its just a downward turned vent like you'd see used for a Dryer exhaust. You can look through it and "HELLO" you see the basement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlDad View Post
Does it terminate anywhere near your utility room? I am guessing you probably have a hot water heater and gas furnace in the basement. Maybe it is there to provide combustion air? If that is the real reason for it, then it should be run all the way in to the utility room with the gas appliances and that room should be property insulated as to shield it from the rest of the house/basement.

Or, as CHTransplant says, it could be there for a future addition to the basement (such as a bathroom).

If the basement is unfinished, then you should have more than enough combustion air and plugging it with insulation should be fine.
It is kinda close to my utility area downstairs. But not close enough that you would think it was actually associated with anything to do with the HWH or Furnace. They are both located in a large storage area....i'm talking 200 sq ft at least. So I don't think they need more air than what they already have. And they both have their own exhaust vents out the roof (I think).

It's as though this was installed by accident because the dryer is actually at the opposite end of the house and upstairs. I mean maybe they were doing me a favor and giving me options for installing a washer/dryer downstairs in the future??? who knows????
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Old 10-27-2009, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Pacific Northwest
590 posts, read 6,193,157 times
Reputation: 1153
Default We have this up here in British Columbia, too.

Apparently some provincial bureaucrat (with their head planted firmly up their rectum) in our "BC Building Codes" division decided in his/her infinite wisdom that, due to the ever increasing energy efficiency built into the newer tighter sealed homes, we the great uncleansed masses were not getting nearly enough ventilation in our houses. It stood to reason, therefore, that we would all soon be keeling over dead from asphyxiation due to the acute shortage of fresh air from within the confines of our now draft resistant dwellings.

So, what's a dog (bureaucrat) to do? He/she has to justify their hokey paycheck somehow, right? Well, out comes this stroke of sheer brilliance on the part of our all protecting governing body: "Like, we'll jes' get dem guyz to put a hole in da wall to let in some air, eh? Ya...dat'll work...for sure for sure...! Makes sense ta me, anyhoo! (eh?)"

And yes, we here in Beautiful British Columbia now have a code requirement to install passive ventilation (read: "Put a hole in, eh?") into the outer walls of newly constructed dwellings.

Of course many would ask, "Why not just open up a window a bit when it gets a little stuffy inside?"

But of course, that would require a bit of common sense and logic on our part and, as the (much more intelligent and learned than you or I will ever be) government will quickly tell us, "That's asking a lot of the populace".

Oddly enough, there seemed to be an ever so slight problem with the energy efficiency of the new residences once this was done. The answer from our intrepid bureaucrat, "Awright den, now weer gonna only build houses wid 2 by 6 outer walls, an inslate dem better. So, no more 2 by 4 outer walls you guyz, OK?...ya dat'll fix it all better! (eh?)".

Yup, that's right; all new residential construction must now have energy efficient 2" X 6" exterior framing.

On the other hand (in your jurisdiction) it might just be that someone forgot to hook something up when your house was built last year.

Ron

...
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Old 10-28-2009, 06:03 AM
 
Location: Chicagoland
43 posts, read 55,632 times
Reputation: 29
It is most likely for combustible air for your mechanicals. Only your HVAC Company would know if you need to pull make-up air for furnace and water heater or if building code.

I will give you quick example. I built identical homes, but in two locations, I had same HVAC contractor at both subdivisions. On one subdivision he did not pull make up air on the other subdivision he did, because the building codes dictated it. So Identical equipment, Identical homes, but different installations. I would check with your HVAC contractor that installed your equipment.
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Old 10-28-2009, 07:46 AM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,310 posts, read 19,916,152 times
Reputation: 6605
That's weird.

Why don't you replace it with a model that has a damper and keep the tube plugged with fiberglass insulation? Should be a <$20 project. That way you have it if you need it in the future.
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:08 PM
 
Location: Derby, KS
3,832 posts, read 7,506,154 times
Reputation: 1541
Quote:
Originally Posted by buildordie View Post
It is most likely for combustible air for your mechanicals. Only your HVAC Company would know if you need to pull make-up air for furnace and water heater or if building code.

I will give you quick example. I built identical homes, but in two locations, I had same HVAC contractor at both subdivisions. On one subdivision he did not pull make up air on the other subdivision he did, because the building codes dictated it. So Identical equipment, Identical homes, but different installations. I would check with your HVAC contractor that installed your equipment.
Well the funny thing about that was we had the Furnace/AC guys at the house to do some work and I pointed it out to him. He just told me to stuff a rag in it. So obvoiusly he was clueless about it as well.

So I think I'm just going to leave it plugged. It's not like I need more ventilation than I already have. My 3 yr old son is constantly leaving the front door wide open.
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