Furnace Room Door Vent

By Robert Robillard on Home Repairs And Remodeling


Photo by concord carpenter. [Notice vent in upper door.]

Problematic Furnace Room Door Vent Location

This door leads to a mechanical room that is located in a barn converted into a house.

The room is accessible from the outside only and it’s design and set up has been problematic from the beginning.

When I was called to replace this rotted door, I immediately noticed several other contributing factors that had contributed to the door rot as well as the customers mentioning that she had problem with frequent freezing of the water pipes in this room.  The Furnace Room Door Vent had a vent that allowed freezing air to freeze pipes.

Someone had installed two vents in this room for “make up” air for the furnace. One vent was installed in the door [glass pane removed] and the other to the right of the door at floor level. [see photo above and below]

I clocked the vent pictured above with plywood. The vent was not removed so as not to disturb the siding.

This house has had frequent frozen pipe situations. One reason for this was the door was rotted / swollen and did not close properly. The other reason was due to the location of the two air make up vents.

In the winter – the air vents “pull” freezing cold air into the furnace room. When the furnace was off frigid wind blowing through the vents and into the mechanical room froze the pipes.

The best solution was make this mechanical room weather tight and to find a location to install make up air vents into the house that would pull “warm air” from inside the house.

The door is a wood “out swinging” door with no overhead protection from the elements. An out swing door is installed on the weather side of the door jamb. An in swing door is usually installed 4-5″ away from the weather side jamb edge.

I tried to convince the owner to install a fiberglass door with an aluminum sill to deal with the extreme weather this door sees, but they wanted to stay with wood door.

Another problem was that this house does not have gutters. Rain water cascades down the face of this wood door and oak sill.

I convinced the owner to allow me to install a copper rain diverter, “Yankee Gutter” above this door. The diverter stops roof runoff from falling on the door and shoots it off to the side.

I used 16 oz. copper sheet stock and my metal brake to fabricate the rain diverter. The diverter is installed under the first course of shingles and is tilted to the left or right to shed the roof water. [see photo]

When I started to remove the door it fell apart.

The foundation sill also was rotted and needed to be removed.

The sill was replaced with 4×6 pressure treated wood rated for ground contact.

The replacement door is a six panel fir door with an oak sill and weathers tipping. We discussed installing a door closer to ensure that the door is not accidentally left open during winter temperatures but the owner decided against it.

After the door was installed I turned my attention to finding a better location to get “warm make up air” for the furnace.

In the wall behind the furnace was an office with a bookcase. The top and bottom were open and there was just enough room to cut in air return vents.

Grill installed. Still needs to be painted the wall color.

Bottom of bookcase: furnace make up air vent.

Picture below shows upper vent located above the furnace.

The old insulation was damaged, missing and not installed properly. New insulation was installed.

Lower vent pictured above – behind furnace.

Old exterior vent on right was sealed and covered with insulation.

~ concord carpenter

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzzr As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising-the-bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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