Thread Number: 75089  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Roof caps/vents
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Post# 989083   4/1/2018 at 12:26 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

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For some reason as a kid, I was always fascinated by roof vents and caps, such as those put on gas water heater or furnace vents, and also the vent caps on fireplace chimneys. This also carried into the area of roof vents such as wind turbines or those domed attic vent fans.

One of my neighbors had one of those caps on the fireplace, but the chimney was removed. As a kid, I thought those mesh fireplace caps were exhaust fans, but that isn't really the case.

Also gable end vents interested me too.

I was wondering if anyone else was interested in these things.

Post# 989144 , Reply# 1   4/2/2018 at 00:30 by superocd (PNW)        

As a kid, I thought the whirlybird turbine vents were cool. Growing up northwest rural MO we had a lot of high winds and some tornadoes, so I imagine quite a few of those had to have been ripped off from its base due to strong prevailing winds. Nevertheless they were quite popular.

I also thought that the directional rotating chimney caps were cool, the kind that looked like a robin.

As for other vents, I always wondered about the huge grates/grilles/shutters up high on the exterior wall or gables of commercial/industrial buildings. That usually meant there was a huge fan behind it, which of course I was very interested in as a child. I always had a fashlight with me and would try really hard to shine some light through the slats (which were 20+ feet high) whenever the stars aligned and I was near such a building and it was getting dark out (e.g., family night at my grade school which had huge gable slats--definitely a big belt driven fan behind it, or an evening trip to the Hy-vee store, where I would beg my parents to let me try to see what was behind the big grilles high up on the exterior wall behind the store and other stores in the shopping center). We also had a Modine and Nestle plant in town so whenever my parents would drive by it, I'd tell them to slow down so I could see all the different fans and machinery attached to the buildings.

However, even though I was interested in fans, I was kind of spooked about the big industrial ones or any exhaust fan with metal blades, even if it was a small bathroom exhaust fan (weird, I know). I liked them all, I just didn't want to be standing directly under one or near one in the dark. Now as an HVACR tech, I could care less, and I've been near huge ones taller than myself, in the dark, running full speed, some of them a not too far from over my head :)

Post# 989146 , Reply# 2   4/2/2018 at 00:51 by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

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Ditto, on chimney pots, vent caps and the like, fans too. You aren't alone.

I always liked the classic cone shaped rain deflector ones.


Image result for vent roof cap

Post# 989186 , Reply# 3   4/2/2018 at 09:41 by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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Most of the older homes up here had multiple chimneys and during the cold weather, I could tell which chimney had a furnace hooked to it and by the vapor coming out if they heated with oil, gas or wood.

Post# 989190 , Reply# 4   4/2/2018 at 10:28 by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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I always thought of "Duct, duct--GOOSE!" whenever I saw mis-matched roof ducts (yeh, DUCKS!) up there...

-- Dave

Post# 989191 , Reply# 5   4/2/2018 at 10:31 by sambootoo (Moody, AL)        

Yep. Me too! I've always liked the vent caps, chimney caps, exhaust fans, etc. Still look at them when driving around!

Post# 989208 , Reply# 6   4/2/2018 at 14:33 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Speed Queen Richard,

"Heinzman's Heidelberg". If you don't know it, ask your folks. Mount Clemens pottery too. Both had chimeny's.

Post# 989220 , Reply# 7   4/2/2018 at 18:23 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

My Aunt Doris' old house ('63 - '91) in MS had one of the "turbine" vents on the roof. One time I was there when there was a tornado warning, and it got very windy. The vent was making a roaring noise, and we were just sure the tornado was heading right for us. We (my cousins Melanie and John, and I) went into the hall, and put pillows over our heads and wrapped bath towels around our faces. The noise soon stopped, and everything there was OK, except the power being out. The tornado did touch down a couple miles away, though.

Post# 989773 , Reply# 8   4/7/2018 at 14:14 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

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That tornado close call would be very scary.

I remember during the hurricanes in 2004, some of those roof turbines blew off and I haven't seen them much since. I think they stopped using them for the most part.

Bathroom exhaust fans I was afraid of too, mostly the NuTones with the chrome grille with big vent openings. They were often loud too. I wouldn't go in a restroom if one was in there. The only exception was on a field trip, the restroom had one and it was switched separately, I did briefly turn it on to hear it before I left the room.

I remember later though in college the men's restroom in the cafeteria had one. It was a newer one with a white plastic grille but same big openings. The ceiling was low enough to reach it, and I used to brush the dust off the grille and watch it get sucked outside. I wasn't afraid of it, but it was fairly loud as well.

I remember the cone shaped roof caps, and the others had those square arched like things on the four sides to divert the rain off. I've seen those at Home Depot too.

Post# 989859 , Reply# 9   4/8/2018 at 01:07 by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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Speaking of exhaust fans venting through chimneys, it seems that both the kitchen vent hood and the bathroom fan in the basement of my home vent throught the right port of the chimney (as seen on the picture below). I don't quite understand this as the other ones are for fireplaces and I am pretty certain that the oil fired boiler that was replaced with a gas boiler in 2000 or 2001 and that it vented through the chimney that's still being used for the vent hood and exhaust fan.

Since there's no visible duct in the attic and that the ceiling is not accessible anywhere in the basement and that the kitchen cabinets are from 1965 and the basement and bathroom downstairs have been mostly unchanged since the early 1980s, I can't figure how the chimney could have been used for both the boiler, the water heater (which I assume was originally oil-fired) and for the vent hood at the same time. Has that ever been allowed?

The tile roof is also original to the house so I'd be very surprised if there was a vent going through it originally as there are no traces of modifications that I could see (there's not even a vent for the plumbing).

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Post# 989873 , Reply# 10   4/8/2018 at 06:25 by neptunebob (Pittsburgh, PA)        
For some reason as a kid, I was always fascinated by roof ve

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And your parents didn't send you to a psychiatrist? Boys are supposed to be interested in baseball and girls, not roof vents!

PhilR, it is possible that the one chimney on your house contains 3 separate flues, one services the boiler + water heater, one the fireplace, but usually they don't vent fans through a chimney, although I suppose it is possible.

Post# 989888 , Reply# 11   4/8/2018 at 09:35 by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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I have two fireplaces I thought the two other ones were for them, I guess I should try the fireplaces first to see what happens!

Post# 989890 , Reply# 12   4/8/2018 at 09:40 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

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Could the basement bathroom fan possibly be just vented into the ceiling? I know not likely but it's not unheard of to vent fans into the attic or ceiling space, though they never were supposed to be. Or could it be a non-vented type fan?

As for the kitchen hood, not sure. I don't think those were ever vented into the attic though, so unless that's the case, possibly the chimney since you can't see any duct.

I have never heard of venting exhaust fans into a chimney though, but not to say it didn't happen. Chimneys were more rare in FL, so I don't have any experience to go by.

Post# 989954 , Reply# 13   4/8/2018 at 19:10 by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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I know the bathroom and kitchen fans are connected to the chimney as some air escapes from the top of the poorly sealed cover where I think the boiler used to connect to the chimney when either of the fans are on.

You can hear it in the video below when the bathroom fan is on. It would do the same with the vent hood turned on in the kitchen:


The brick wall has also been patched in the heating room where the center chimney is (behind the electric water heater), I don't know why, I think it is for the fireplace in the basement as the fireplace is at the center of the chimney, there is a cleaning door below that patch at the right of the water heater, there's also another cleaning door on the left of the water heater which I assume is for the fireplace upstairs. I have never used the fireplaces, both have fiberglass insulation in their chimneys to avoid heat losses as the former owner of my house didn't use them either and I never bothered to remove the insulation. There is no cleaning door below the cover which I think was used for oil-fired boiler on the right.

The fifth picture shows two covers that block grilles on the side of the living room fireplace and a floor register below. I don't know what they were used for but I think maybe the one of the floor was for an humidifier as there is still the wiring and the humidistat that used to control it.

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Post# 989960 , Reply# 14   4/8/2018 at 19:38 by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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Are those KLH speakers in pix 4? I have a set that looks just like them.

Post# 989992 , Reply# 15   4/8/2018 at 23:25 by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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They aren’t KLH but they were also made by Henry Kloss after he sold KLH. I got the two « New Advent » speakers for cheap and a pair of « The New Smaller Advent » for free and I had them refoamed.

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