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Venting an enclosed closet

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I've been looking at all of the various solutions and threads for cooling equipment racks. I have a 2'x2'x8' enclosed closet that will have a face frame solid door on the front. Since this in the basement, I did not finish off the closet ceiling and have access to the floor joists above. The rack I'm putting in there will essentially be similar to a MA-Slim 5 without any sides, top, or back walls. I'm leaning towards putting in a vent in the bottom of the closet and a quiet bath fan in the top. My question is: can I put the fan at the top and then duct the exhaust into the space created by the floor joists above? Is there a better way to cool this space? I left the ceiling of the closet unfinished to access my cable runs and to allow the heated air somewhere to go. Because of the open ceiling, I've toyed with the idea of putting a few computer fans near the top to suck the warm air from the closet and blow it into the joist space between the basement ceiling and floor above.
post #2 of 13

I have an idea for you. My rack is in a typical coat closet and I just changed my cooling setup for the better. Originally I had a bathroom fan in the ceiling that vented into my laundry room and was controlled by a line voltage attic fan thermostat. This had several major downsides, the fan was too loud and the line voltage thermostat when reaching the set temp would cycle on and off for a few minutes making clicking sounds and sending surges through the electrical.

What I replaced it with was this:




Two of those fans fit perfectly in a standard 6x10 ceiling vent grill from Lowes. I cut out the drywall between my closet and adjoining room (laundry) and bent some sheet aluminum to form a channel between the wall cavity. I installed the grills on each side with the fans inside the closet side grill blowing out. The fans each are rated for 60 CFM so I am getting 120 CFM as opposed to 80 with the bathroom fan.

The control unit is great, It is digital and you can set the on and off temps separately. I have it set on at 80 and off at 75 right now.

This cools my closet very well and is super quiet!! all for about the cost of a decent bath fan itself.

I will be updating my build thread soon with pics.

Hope this helps!
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
I like that idea and will likely go with it but I just wanted to validate your approach. In the picture I've attached, you can kind of see what I have for a closet. There is no drywall on the inside of this closet. I have the studs and everything open and painted black. The ceiling of the closet is open and I have the space between the ceiling and the upstairs floor open.

If I understand your post correctly, you cut a hole in the wall (towards the top I assume) for the ceiling vent grill and then vented the closet air into the adjoining laundry room? I won't need to deal with the aluminum since I will only need to cut into the one piece of drywall. I could do that but will I end up with an air vacuum since the front of this closet will have a glass door on the front and likely have face plates over the open rack spots? I plan on putting a grill in the adjoining room which is a toy room right now (you can kind of see it on the left side).
post #4 of 13
That is correct, so in your case you need to put a second vent grill with no fans somewhere near the bottom as a fresh/cool air intake. I did not do that as there is already a large enough gap between the floor and the bottom of my access door. I will try and post pictures soon.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
All right, that is what I thought I might have to do. I was really hoping I could just put in a vent at the bottom and then put the fans at the top and aim them so that they would blow the air into the joist space between floors. That way I would only have one grill showing vs. two.

But if that won't work, I could probably put a vent in one room and then the exit vent in another room and it would not be as noticeable. If anyone has any other ideas, I'm open to it. Another option I may have is that the rack door will have three separate pieces of glass (two tall pieces with one wide piece on top) and maybe I could substitute some kind of open grill instead of glass for the tall slots.
post #6 of 13
If you're putting a rack door on, many of the doors, even with plexi, have vents. A better option might be the perforated mesh door... (The choices for the Slim-5 are more limited, and neither of those options work - but you said "like the slim-5", so check with your rack vendor)

Couple that with some vented blank plates and you can probably do with the one exhaust vent. And you'll also be pulling air across the components, which is what you'd like anyway.

Also, an intake vent below the rack door wouldn't look bad, either...

post #7 of 13
Here's another possible source for you:
post #8 of 13

Check these guys out. I have used these products many times with great success. Reasonable prices, extremely quiet, thermal switching.
post #9 of 13
Yankee and all,

I have updated my build page with pics of my setup, head on over and check them out!

post #10 of 13
This topic is just what I was looking for.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Putting a small grill on the lower right side of the media closet would not be too bad. Yes, the rack I have is more of a DIY type. I ordered 4 rack rails and will connect them into a rack via angle iron. All 6 sides will essentially be open air except part of the front where I will likely be putting plate covers over the blank spots. In some of those cases, I will likely use perforated mesh as a cover plate vs. solid metal. You won't be able to see anything in the back by doing this. The door is a custom door that I'm having made and will have three sections that I had planned on putting glass. That will look kind of like:
___ ____
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
|__| |__|

For the two vertical sections, I may put in perforated mesh instead for make up air. I would then put a grill towards the top in the toy room for exhaust.

I did think of one other possibility. Since I have access to the joist area, I may be able to run some 4" duct along the toy room wall (above the drywall) and vent the air into a small closet I built around the sump area. I just need to see if I can snake the duct through there. Any potential problems venting into the sump closet?
post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by Yankee1423 View Post

For the two vertical sections, I may put in perforated mesh instead for make up air.

+1 vote for the mesh. It looks good and IMO better than plexi (because of the lack of reflections)...


I did think of one other possibility. Since I have access to the joist area, I may be able to run some 4" duct along the toy room wall (above the drywall) and vent the air into a small closet I built around the sump area. I just need to see if I can snake the duct through there. Any potential problems venting into the sump closet?

If the sump closet is a small enclosed space, it won't be helping, as you need to push the air into effectively an open space. Big room where the air pressure has plenty of places to go.

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well I ordered the fans, module etc.. that Cheezeit recommended. (Thanks for the links!). I'm going to go with the mesh in the door and have vents for all open rack spaces. I'll monitor the temps and see how it works. If that doesn't work then I'll add some more fans on the AVR and DVRs and maybe add a vent towards the bottom of the right hand side. That all will allow the air to blow over the components since the rack sides will not have any plates. I don't think I'll have much of a problem to begin with b/c I only plan to have my Yamaha 667, a blu-ray, and a Dish DVR in there and potentially add another DVR from upstairs if I can figure out the IR extenders. Thanks again for all the help. This site has been great for ideas and getting answers as I finish out my basement room. Now I just need to have the cabinet guy get the door done so I can install the rack and get everything buttoned up.
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