Hits and misses of DIY projects, both big and small.

Add to My MSN

How to Block Winter Winds in Your Kitchen: Make a Range Vent Cover

11/27/2012 8:33:07 AM

Tags: range hood, cold draft, magnetic sheet, wind blocker, Ellen Sandbeck

The first winter after we replaced our old, nonfunctional rangehood and fan with a very functional microwave/rangehood/vent-fan, we discovered that the fan worked quite well when kitchen ventilation was required, but unfortunately the vents also ventilated much too efficiently during cold weather, sending gusts of frigid air swooping down into the kitchen even when the fan was off.  

As my toes curled up in protest despite two pairs of wooly socks and a pair of fuzzy slippers, I realized that I had some figuring-out to do. After a fairly short period of contemplation, I came up with the following solution, which I feel is one of my very best: 

   Magnetic Adhesive Sheet Label         Adhesive Magnetic Tape 

I bought a 12-by-24-inch roll of Magnetic Adhesive Sheet at a non-denominational arts and crafts store, and cut two 8-by-12-inch pieces off the roll, which allowed plenty of magnetic overlap when stuck over our 5-by-7.5-inch vents. In order to straighten out the semi-permanent curl of the sheeting, the pieces were weighted down and left to straighten out overnight.  

Because it only sticks well to flat surfaces, the magnetic sheeting must be trimmed to fit the situation. Do not remove the paper backing that covers the sticky adhesive surface on the sheeting — after a couple of years, when the backing paper is good and greasy, you can peel it off and stick a fresh piece of paper to the newly exposed adhesive surface.  

This weekend I replaced a set of vent covers because after several years, they had become untenably brittle and sticky. But first I had to degrease the vent filters and the undercarriage of the microwave/rangefan, because rather astonishingly, magnets are not magnetically attracted to thick, sticky layers of grease. 

   Microwave Vent          Bottom of Microwave 

If you decide to make your own magnetic kitchen vent covers, remember that they must be removed when you need to turn on the kitchen fan. I stick our vent covers to the refrigerator for safe-keeping while the kitchen fan is in use, because I am so absent-minded that if I tried putting the vent covers anywhere less obvious, I’d probably lose them. 

Update, Dec. 24, 2012:

Our son Dmitri came home for Christmas, and thought up an important and valuable innovation: The paper backing had begun to curl and separate from the magnetic sheets, so he suggested that we peel off the backing and stick aluminum foil to the sticky side of the sheets.

In short order the backing was peeled, the magnetic sheets were laid down on aluminum foil and carefully smoothed on, and the foil was trimmed even with the magnetic sheeting with a sharp knife. So now our vent covers are reflective! 

Related Content

Electrolux Design Lab 2010: Is a Sugar-Powered Portable Stove in Your Future?

The Snail, the winner of Electrolux Design Lab 2010 Competition, saves both energy and space by heat...

Wrong About Freedom Rangers

I was wrong about Freedom Rangers. Freedom Rangers are pretty close to Cornish Cross chickens. The F...

The Best Soup for a Cold, Recipe Included

The best soup for a cold should contain proven, immune-boosting foods like medicinal mushrooms (such...

MAX Update No. 88: The Minimum Windscreen

A video demonstration of MAX's windscreen, which deflects air around the driver's face with minimal ...

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Adam Fletcher
1/18/2013 6:10:14 AM
It's good to use vent cover in our kitchen it is reflective also. rug runner

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.