Can I Install a Furnace Intake Vent?

The furnace intake vent is one of your HVAC system’s most important components. Therefore, you may want a professional to install one for you. But you don’t always need a specialist for this. We’ll provide step-by-step instructions below so you can understand what the project entails.

Why Do I Need a Fresh Air Intake?

Furnaces require fresh air because, like people, they need oxygen. In a furnace, oxygen is crucial for combustion to take place. A lack of oxygen decreases efficiency and can cause combustion issues that can lead to the release of carbon monoxide. A consistent supply of fresh air improves furnace performance and helps remove pollution that can cause breathing difficulties and respiratory problems.

The intake allows in fresh air from outside to prevent these issues. Connected to a vent on an outside wall, it’s usually right outside your basement, but it can be anywhere near your furnace (for an updraft furnace, it’s usually near the bottom). Tighter building codes have led to newer homes having multiple fresh air intakes to address air loss, pollution, and energy efficiency.

Installing a Furnace Intake Vent

The intake vent consists of an air duct that leads outside. Installing it correctly is crucial to achieving proper airflow; here’s a look at how to do so:

  • Choose Where to Install the Intake Hood: This should be away from the furnace, exhaust, and dryer vents from where dangerous gases could be recirculated. You’ll need to find a separate entry point somewhere in your basement.
  • Begin the Installation: To install the intake hood, first drill a hole with a hole saw. Then push a pipe to a location above where the air intake hood will go. Use screws designed for wood exteriors to secure the unit. After it is in place, seal any gaps with exterior caulking.
  • Prepare the Return Duct: Create a 6-inch hole in the return duct, adjacent to the furnace pipe, using a pair of aviation snips. Next, install a metal collar that will secure the pipe, ensuring it is stable before you continue.
  • Install the Intake Duct Line: Insert the duct between the inlet lid and the pipe at the collar. The joints fixing the duct in place must be properly secured for fresh air to circulate. Fit the joints with a crimper if a joint cut is required. For durable results, use a galvanized duct.
  • Install a Barometric Damper: Install the barometric damper directly onto the intake hood. It’s what prevents fresh air from entering the duct before the furnace starts running. During installation, the damper’s arrows should be lined up so they point at the furnace. This indicates the direction the air will flow.
  • Hang the Galvanized Duct: Choose a galvanized hanger strap with the tensile strength needed to maintain tension and tolerate temperature changes. This part must be of high quality. It needs to be strong enough to support the weight of the duct.
  • Verify the Furnace Intake is Airtight: Apply caulking to every duct joint, and use foil or other types of duct wrap to insulate the duct. Duct wrap prevents sweating in cooler weather, makes it airtight, and prevents air leakage.

Contact Black Hills Home Services for Assistance

If you need help installing or servicing a furnace intake vent, the professionals at Black Hills Home Services will be glad to assist. We’ve been successfully installing furnaces and heating systems in Olympia and Thurston County since 1993. To request service, contact us online or call 888-688-7358 today.