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Old 03-23-2006, 02:25 PM   #1
captainfepa
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Closet cooling?

I am new here so forgive me if this has been covered - I didn't see this on my brief perusal.

Many people are filling small closets with routers, security systems, etc that might benefit from some cooling, but bathroom fans are much too large and loud. I've made up wall trim for case fans from picture frame molding, mesh grilles, etc. but this gets awkward. There should be - and maybe is - a very cheap but attractive case fan mount/trim set for drywall partitions - something quiet and small enough to fit, say, unobtrusively over the closet door.

I am thinking for example of two mating pieces of formed plastic creating a square cylinder (short plenum) just large enough within for a 120mm 110VAC fan, each piece about 3 inches long and with a trim flange of half an inch or so. The plenum pieces would be sized so one just fits into the other, with opposing molded ratchet teeth to hold the pieces together when one is pressed into the other. One of the pieces would have snaps built in to hold the 120mm fan; the outer piece would have a trim grille and the inner piece would have just enough grille to keep out bats and fingers. So: make about a 4-inch square hole in the drywall, insert the larger plenum-and-trim-piece from the front, snap in the fan with its AC power cord, and press together the second plenum-and-grille-piece from the inside to secure the fan and enclosure through the wall. Sounds like this should cost less than five dollars (plus fan) and be much simpler to make than in-wall speaker mounts (since both sides of the wall should be accessible); and one basic set of interlocking plenum halves would adjust for any standard wall thicknesses. A deluxe version might have a temperature control or sensor and rubber mounts - but I try to be a very cheap person.

Yes? No?
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Old 03-23-2006, 11:47 PM   #2
qet77
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Default Re: Closet cooling?

You can get really quiet exhaust fans, they use them in bathrooms, in expensive houses. You could put one in the ceiling and just vent it into the attic if you wanted. or if you wanted to vent it into the room the closet was in you could put a light dimmer as it is a standard 120 ACV appliance.
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Old 03-24-2006, 03:45 PM   #3
captainfepa
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Default Re: Closet cooling?

Agreed, get77, that there are quiet bathroom fans... but they are just an order of magnitude too big for what I see as needed. The grilles generally look better in the ceiling than in a wall; they are intended to be vented so they are generally made with fancy trim inside (that would be inside the closet!) leaving you still to arrange some acceptable grille for the exhaust if just running through a closet wall; and they are relatively huge. I have seen very unobtrusive doorbell chimes that mount in a small box that recesses into drywall - I certainly don't want anything bigger. I'd like something that will easily and cheaply fit into the closet wall, either in the very few inches between headers just above the door, or beside it. I really have not seem anything as small and inconspicuous as I would like, and I cannot see any reason that it should not be as cheap and easy to make, to sell, and to use as I have suggested. And now that closets are being impressed so extensively into service as housings for central security and cable apparatus, home theater and lighting controls, and network distribution and NAS items, I would think this would sell well if cheap enough. So this is my little crusade of the month. But then, April is galloping near, isn't it?
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Old 03-24-2006, 07:51 PM   #4
qet77
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Default Re: Closet cooling?

Ok, I guess I sort of missed your point on that one. I agree for the type of cooling and price what you suggested should do the trick nicely
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Old 03-26-2006, 05:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: Closet cooling?

You can work with passive cooling also. Louvered doors, and appropriately sized and placed vents can work well, and if planned well, are quite unobtrusive.
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Old 03-31-2006, 11:20 AM   #6
captainfepa
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Default Re: Closet cooling?

Pro-handyman, your name says it all: It is possible that a pro handyman looks forward to installation of a closet modem and router as a long-awaited excuse for replacing a door with a louvered one (!) and remodeling the wall. And sometimes all of that might be necessary. And there's more than one way to skin a cat. But... my point is that it should be darned simple to make a $5, four-inch-square plastic casing that will provide some modest cooling very easily, cheaply, attractively, and reliably (at least for a four- to eight-year life of the equally cheap, easy-to-replace fan). What I'm hoping by this posting is that cooling afficionados will promote this idea to those in a position to make up and distribute such a device - even though doors and walls could be replaced as an alternative. (And I, by the way, am a pro handyman who actually did build my own house, with my own hands for the most part!)

I understand the alternatives you mention: I did install louvered doors on the basement closets that hold my furnace and my water heater, and a grille panel above the door of the closet that holds my washer/dryer. In another closet I have a cable modem, router, UPS, NAS, wireless phone base unit, and obsolete computer I'm not using yet. If I ever find a use for the old computer (as a network security appliance, physical security monitor, or telephone interface) that seems worth the cost of its electricity even if somewhat strained for practicality, I'd like to add a bit of cooling, and I think the type of gadget I describe should be perfect.
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Old 03-31-2006, 09:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: Closet cooling?

I understand. The greatest threat to many great ideas in home construction and needs anymore are the great building code writers and inspectors.

I do many professional home theater, and related installs, and the greatest attention has to be paid to how the cabling is run and following the NEC, sealing for firestops, and proper cooling without destroying the integrity of fire reductions.

Oh, and even though I call myself a "ProHandyman"; I am a Master Carpenter, along with A+ and N+ cert.


edited for grammer
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Old 04-06-2006, 04:33 PM   #8
bobkoure
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Default Re: Closet cooling?

So... you're looking to vent a closet - and there's very little room over the door (no place for a grill in the place an old-time building would have a transom).
If the closet ceiling, as well, didn't go very far above the top of the door, then simply using louvered doors shoud work - and thermosyphon will pump the air in through the bottom and out through the top. Ditto grills down low and up high in the wall.
If it's a noise issue (so louvered doors are a bad idea as they're pretty noise-tranparent) then, yeah, fans. Had you thought about putting a vent at the bottom with a fan to push air in? Should be quieter - particularly if you put the fan at the end of a short duct, or even just a box.
This is all assuming the air is coming from the room/corridor outside the closet and exhausting back to that area.

BTW, I helped a friend with his server closet setup ducting - but he had three racks in there with a lot of gear. We went to the trouble of setting up two venting systems. One dumps exhaust upstairs (quite a lot of power being disposed of as heat) for the heating season, and a second one dumping exhaust outside for the a/c season (no point in paying to move the heat twice). That was more of a room than a closet, and was in his basement - which made it easy to duct hot air upstairs.
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Old 04-07-2006, 04:47 PM   #9
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Default Re: Closet cooling?

I just happened to see this thread and had a thought...you could look at getting a 240V bath fan, a cheapo none-too attractive model, and run it at 120V. Half the RPM, less than half the noise, and some of these units have very simple grilles that attatch right to the housing. Just a thought.
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Old 11-12-2006, 11:33 PM   #10
nroberge
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Default Re: Closet cooling?

I have to do the same thing. I want also to isolate the the door with foam stick-on rolls to reduce the noise of my rackmount 3U server that has 4 fans (1x pw, 2x case, 1x cpu).

I will have a suspended ceiling in my basement. I want to know is it enough to blow with a 3 inch 120VAC fan into the ceiling below the ground floor or is it better to blow into a small duck and leads out to a grill in the ceiling of another room ?

Will I have to create an intake to keep the air pressure ok ? Should the intake be near the floor ? If I but a grill in the bottom of the door, the server fan noise will be audible, right?

What's the best setup?
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Old 11-13-2006, 08:08 PM   #11
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Default Re: Closet cooling?

I had a couple of servers and a monitor in my closet once and it got quite hot in there. I put a small desk fan in there just to circulate the air around some and that alone helped out quite a bit. One of the servers had 4 screaming loud SCSI drives in it so vents were not really an option as the closet was in the bedroom where I sleep.
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Old 06-16-2008, 07:57 PM   #12
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Old 06-17-2008, 06:17 AM   #13
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Default Re: Closet cooling?

WTF!?! Now spammers are posting in two year old threads?
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