15. Swedish for “air flow”

Classic problem: You have a new Pax cabinet from Ikea and the perfect place to put it, but there’s a heat vent in that exact spot.

Classic solution: Assemble the cabinet on top and forget it ever existed.

FYI DIYers. that’s not a solution! That’s just how we sneak candy from children: Out of sight, out of mind. (Would you believe that I just had to go out and buy some replacement candy because my husband actually ate ALL of the chocolate bars out of our daughter’s Hallowe’en bowl?!??!?!?!! She’s gonna notice.)

Imagine driving in the winter with your defrost on. What would happen if you threw your wet mittens onto the dashboard to dry them and they covered the vent? You would get a foggy spot on the window above that vent. Well, your cabinet will cause a “foggy” spot in your household heating if you cover it up too. It’s a huge waste of heat, and you are depriving yourself of your own comfort.

In theory, the air flow of your HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning) system is designed for the layout of your space, so if you cover up a vent, you bugger up the system. I’m not preaching. Oh no. I’m just as guilty, which is exactly why this issue has come to light. I just swapped some furniture with my sister, which resulted in moving my giant TV cabinet.

Handsome Heady Handy

(Hand-crafted by my hubby using wood from my great- grandfather’s farm! Oh yes, I am proud of him. Especially given that he is a cognitive psychologist – WHAT! That’s right, he’s book smart AND he’s handy. Hand’s off people, this one’s mine.)

Low and behold a heat vent appears out of nowhere. OUT OF NOWHERE! In our coldest room, we have had a heat vent covered!!!!!!!!

Are you as worked up about this as I am?

Needless to say, I was not making that mistake again. So, in the midst of a laundry/mud room reno, I’m harping to my husband: “Handsome, heady, handyman, you must not cover up that vent!” Of course, it was 3am, which is when I am always thinking about these conundrums, so he groaned and rolled over. Clearly, this would be my problem to solve, so I get to thinking: Why can’t I make my own ductwork?

Homemade ductwork          Setting homemade ductwork in place

Does homemade ductwork fall into the upcycling category? This one’s made out of cardboard that was destined for my recycle bin and shiny duct tape. It’s not fancy like jewelry made out of bike parts, but it sure makes use of seemingly useless cardboard.


My father’s worried that we are pumping hot air up the back of the cabinet and out at the ceiling. Of course not Dad, that would be grossly inefficient, just as you have taught me, Master Craftsman. So people please, do not do as my father fears I have done. Pump out the hot air at the floor and put as few bends in the ducts as possible. Good catch Dad!

Homemade low profile ductwork in place

Homemade low profile ductwork in place

Drilled holes in the cabinet kickplate for air flow

Drilled holes in the kickplate for air flow

Hot tip! Have you ever looked into your heat vents? They are usually full of crap! Vacuum them out regularly to help keep your furnace filter clean. It’s less work in the long run.

Read more tips, that just might work, here.

Live within limits without limiting life

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About ahemmayispeak

Environmentalist Egalitarian Engineer Writer There, I finally said it. View all posts by ahemmayispeak

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