How to Install a Basement Exhaust Vent

Lead Image
  • 4-8 hours
  • Advanced
  • 100-1,000
What You'll Need
Exhaust fan and vent
Protective goggles
Carpenters square and level
Screwdriver and screws
Caulking gun
Latex caulk
Fiberglass insulation

Installing an exhaust vent in the basement is a must for most homeowners. Many basements don’t have windows or any other type of ventilation; furthermore, water heaters, washers, dryers, and boilers are often located in the basement, which makes it a place where humidity, condensation, gasses, and stale air collect with nowhere to go.

The best solution to this problem is to install an exhaust fan and vent system that channels condensation and stale air outside. Follow these step-by-step instructions on how to do this job yourself.

Step 1 - Buy a Basement Exhaust Fan and Vent

Purchase an exhaust fan and vent system from your local hardware store. Multiply your square footage by 1.1 to determine the correct size fan to purchase. Choose a fan that has a CFM rating of the same number or higher.

Step 2 - Identify a Location for the System

Decide where you want to install the fan and vent. A good location for the fan is near the furnace. It should also be high enough on the wall that the fan will be above ground. Draw a square on the wall where you’d like the vent to go using your pencil, carpenter’s square, and level. Drill a reference hole and go outside to identify where the air will be flowing out from the basement. That is where the exhaust vent will be located.

Step 3 - Install the Exhaust Fan

white vent in a grey wall

Go back into the basement. Drill several holes along the square that you have traced. Use the saw to cut between the holes in order to create a large space in which to install the exhaust fan.

Remember to wear your safety goggles to protect your eyes. Insert the fan according to manufacturer’s directions. Use your screwdriver and screws to mount the fan to the wall.

Step 4 - Install the Basement Exhaust Vent

Install the exhaust vent by going back outside and finding the reference hole. Insert the exhaust vent according to instructions. Seal the vent with your caulking gun and latex caulk. Seal the edges of the vent with fiberglass insulation in order to prevent cold air, insects, and other vermin from entering your basement.

Step 5 - Run the Wires

The final step to keeping the air in your basement fresh and clean is to connect your exhaust vent system to electricity. Turn the power off in your circuit box, then run the wires from the exhaust fan to the basement switch box.

Secure the wires with electrical tape. Turn the power back on in the circuit breaker and test the exhaust fan to make sure that it works. Go back outside to ensure that air is being ventilated back through the exhaust vent in the proper fashion. If you follow these steps, you should be able to mitigate both basement moisture and odors.