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HVAC Basics: Installing And Replacing Foundation Vents

Passive airflow in your home is the unsung hero that keeps your indoor environment fresher, and foundation vents achieve that by inhibiting mold and mildew growth. As we previously mentioned, those with allergies would be most vulnerable to mold and mildew growth in the home and thus, the importance of foundation vents cannot be understated.

When you’re waiting on a new house to be built, it’s a good idea to talk with the site boss about proper basement or crawl space ventilation. While the foundation is being laid, the builders will already have a blueprint to work with based on the specifications that were discussed or to model.

However, if you purchased an older home with a basement that is dank and musty, it may be a good idea to reevaluate the foundation vents and determine whether they need to be replaced and/or if more need to be added.

How to Replace Foundation Vents

Say you get lucky and the only thing you have to do is replace the existing foundation vents. The tools you will need for this job include:

  • Safety Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Wire Brush
  • Bucket
  • Hammer
  • Trowel
  • Cold Chisel
  • Quick-Drying Mortar

After putting on your safety goggles and gloves, proceed with the below steps.

  1. Remove the Existing Foundation Vent. If a foundation vent is barely hanging on, it can be as easy as simply pulling it out of the foundation from the outside. However, if it is still mortared in place, chisel the mortar along the outside of the vent until it is loose. It may be necessary to chisel some mortar off on the inside. Pull on the center of the vent to remove.
  2. Clean the Foundation Vent Hole. Use the chisel and hammer to remove any remaining mortar. Once the bulk of it is removed, scour the remaining mortar off of the perimeter of the hole with the wire brush.
  3. Prep for New Vent Installation. Mix water and the quick-drying mortar to manufacturer’s specifications. The consistency of the mix should resemble thin pancake batter.
  4. Install New Foundation Vent. Apply a ¼” thick layer or mortar along the inside perimeter of the hole. Insert the foundation vent into the hole, and then apply a layer less than ½ of an inch along the outside of the vent. Optimal coverage should overlap the edges of the vent as well as well as inside the foundation vent hole an inch on each side.

Proper Vent Maintenance After Installation

To get the most from your foundation vents, be sure to open them during the summer to prevent the buildup of moisture in the crawl space or basement. In the wintertime and in heavy storms, close them to prevent both freezing pipes due to cold winds or potentially flooding the basement, respectively.

How FAMCO Can Help

FAMCO is one of the largest manufacturers of HVAC accessories and home ventilation products. We have a wide variety of foundation vents, some with dampers included, others painted, and come in painted, galvanized, and aluminum. We also support everyone from the weekend DIYer to firms building a new subdivision. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

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