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Cutting Stucco for Microwave Exhaust Fan Hood


exterior vent coverMany people have a microwave vent hood above their cooktop. It’s a great feature and it saves valuable countertop space. When these are installed, the vast majority are installed so that they recirculate the air back into the living space. Although the air goes through a charcoal filter, you still get plenty of cooking smells thrown back into your face. The answer is to ventilate the unit to the exterior.

Ventilating the microwave hood to the exterior is pretty straightforward as long as the unit is installed on an exterior wall. You will need to rotate the blower so that it redirects the air out of the top of the cabinet rather than through the front vent.

You will need to buy some ducting that will allow you to direct the stream of air up and out of the wall. You will also need to buy a vent cover for the exterior side of the wall.

The vent cover is simply a shroud with some mesh on it (to keep the critters out) attached to a short piece of ducting. Hold the ducting up to your stucco wall in the location where you want it, and draw a line around it. This is where you will cut. A small grinder with a masonry wheel will do a nice job of cutting stucco. Once you have the hole cut, liberally apply caulking around the hole and to the underside of the vent and push it into the hole. This will seal out the weather. Then it is a matter of connecting the ducting together and blowing the cooking smells outside.


Bathroom Exhaust Fan Vent


bath exhaust fanA homeowner called to get a bathroom exhaust fan vent repaired. He had a home inspection and found that the fan was just blowing air into the attic. Exhausting warm moist air into the attic isn’t good. He needed to get this repaired as a condition of the sale.

It came to pass that the exhaust hose had come apart from the exhaust fan. This was a simple matter of resecuring it with a large hose clamp. Problem solved. There are lots of other ways that a vent can break or tear. You typically see these problems where the hose connects to a fitting or changes directions. It’s not the most common thing to see a tear in the hose, although pests and vermin can chew a hole in them. If that is the case, you can either replace that section of hose, or use metal tape to repair it if the hole isn’t too large.

The hose clamp is a good solution in the event the hose becomes disconnected. Hoses are a cheaper method of venting. You may see hard metal vents running from the unit, these can be fixed using sheet metal screws and metal tape. Due to the rigidity of these vents, it is rare to see them separate.


Bathroom Exhaust Fan Not Working


exhaust fanI get a lot of calls to repair bathroom exhaust fans that do not work. Interestingly, many of these calls come from new homeowners. You are going to need a ladder to troubleshoot the fan, but many of these problems are fixed in under one minute.

Pull down the plastic cover on the exhaust fan. It will come down about 3 inches before you need to disconnect it from the housing. Follow the cord from the motor and make sure it is plugged in. This is the number one cause of the fans not working. I assume that the previous homeowner didn’t like the noise of the fans, and so they unplug them. Plug the fan back into the outlet in the ceiling box and if it runs, you’re done.

The other most common problem is that the fan and/or motor is so clogged up with gunk, it is unable to move. We’ve all seen it, look up and the plastic cover is full of dust bunnies. These can make their way to the blades and motor. You can clean this off using a rag and a compressed air canister. If none of this works, you may have to replace the exhaust fan.

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