Wall vents and why they matter!

While worrying about wall vents may seem overly picky to some – it’s the small details that make a big difference.

When I say wall vents, I am referring to the exterior wall mounted vent hoods that are the exhaust point to the outdoors for things like dryers, bathroom fans, HRV’s. They can also serve as intake hoods for equipment like an HRV. Typical ones seen on most homes looks something like this:

Typical exterior hooded wall vent
Typical plastic wall vent with flaps

Unfortunately, most of these products are not built to last. They are normally the least expensive and most readily available. They are poorly designed and constructed of very light gauge steel, or worse, flimsy plastic. The louvers break, they warp in high heat, crack in extreme cold, allow back-drafting, and seal poorly against the elements. They are a common source of water leaks. The service life of these hoods is not long. When they fail and need to be replaced, it’s a fairly intense procedure as stucco, siding, trim etc are typically caulked/sealed to them. Often stucco or siding repair will be required as a result of replacing.

Over the years, I’ve found a couple of great alternatives, but none as great as the one pictured below (made by a Canadian company called ventilation maximum). A client of mine actually brought these to my attention, and I am grateful!

Macanta’s preferred exterior wall vent

Available in a number of different sizes and configurations, these hoods are built to last. They are constructed with a heavy gauge rigid steel. Powder coated for durability and a pleasing aesthetic. Most importantly, they are flanged to allow for integration with the house wrap, built with a stand off to allow for a wide array of finishing thicknesses, come with a heavy duty well sealing damper, protected against pests with a heavy steel cage, and perhaps the coolest thing of all- they are designed in such a way to eliminate backdrafts.

Yes – I get overly excited about a wall vent, but they make a huge difference, and they are most certainly worth the upgraded cost which would be measured in the low hundreds for the typical number of them required on an average sized home.