Adequate ventilation is crucial to control temperature, humidity level and to evacuate smells from cooking; that’s why we installed a Roof Fan (faroutride.com/fan-installation/). The job of the roof fan is to take air from inside the van and pull it outside the van. The evacuated air needs to be replaced with fresh air or the roof fan won’t be able to do it’s job! If the fan is located in the rear of the van, the front windows could be used as air intake. If, like us, the roof fan is install in the front of the van, there should be some intake somewhere in towards the rear of the van. Here is our approach on that matter:
1- Add an air intake under the fridge, so the fresh air helps reduce the workload of the fridge (and save on electricity). This is covered in this article:
2- Add an air intake at the back of the van to cool down our bedroom. This is covered in this article, keep reading!!
We installed a duct from the floor vent to above the bed, because we realized that fresh air would not come up above the bed; it was really hot up there! The duct is attached with velcro straps so it can be easily detached, extended and located almost anywhere on the bed; it’s a cool feature when we’re reading or just chilling on the bed!
Before you go ahead with the floor vent, please read our “On Second Thought” at the end of this page!
TIME SPENT ON THE JOB: 8 hours
TOTAL COST : $80 USD without fan, $130 USD with fan.
- Valterra Slip Hub, 3″ (Buy on Amazon)
- Powertec Splice, 4″ (Buy on Amazon)
- Powertec Blast Gate, 4″ (Buy on Amazon)
- Powertec Dust Collection Hose, 4″ (Buy on Amazon)
- Powertec Hose Clamps (Buy on Amazon)
- Plastic Coated Hanger Strap (found at Home Depot)
- D-Ring picture hangers (Buy on Amazon)
- Velcro Straps (Buy on Amazon)
- Aluminum Tape (Buy on Amazon)
- 3M VHB double-sided tape 1″ width (Buy on Amazon)
- Silicone II (Buy on Amazon)
- Wire Mesh (Buy on Amazon)
- Mosquito Screen (we used leftovers)
- Dust Filter (Buy on Amazon)
*Disclosure on the fan: This is a bilge air blower fan. It’s designed to push A LOT OF AIR for engine compartment of boats. It’s VERY NOISY and draw a lot of current (6.5A at max speed, but it’s similar to a computer fan at low speed ). If you choose to install it, be aware that it’s too loud to be run at night and make sure to install a Speed Controller because it will only run at full-speed (like, crazy-supra fast). We think it’s not mandatory to install the fan, but it’s kind of nice to have when it’s really hot.
- Power drill (Buy on Amazon)
- Drill bits (Buy on Amazon)
- Milwaukee 4″Hole Saw (Buy on Amazon)
- Milwaukee Hole Saw Arbor, 3/8″ (Buy on Amazon)
LET’S DO THIS!
Let’s first make a hole in the floor. We don’t mind making hole in the van anymore, we’re getting used to it! 🙂
HINT: Start with a small pilot hole (like 1/8″ or such), so if you’re slightly offset (go look under the van to confirm the hole location) you can start over; the 4″ hole will “swallow” your first miss located pilot hole…
Drilling into the van metal floor exposed edges to corrosion, so as usual we sanded the bare edges and applied primer + paint + clearcoat. We sourced them from our local Auto Parts Store (It’s better to use a can. Spray it into a jar and use a Q-Tip to paint the edges).
The Valterra Slip Hub (3″) will be installed under the van. But first, let’s get rid of the small flange; it’s useless to us (and will prevent us from installing a mosquito screen):
There is also an “inside flange” (for a lack of better term) that we can trim away; trimming it will increase inner diameter = more air flow!
This is looking from inside:
We want the floor-vent to be easy to close/open, so we’re adding a Blast Gate Valve.
It will be stuck to the floor with 3M VHB Tape (and act as a sealant against water spill). The Blast Gate’s flange that is inserted inside the floor hole is a bit too long, so we trimmed it away:
Then the Blast Gate is just pressed against the floor to secure it in place:
(the following pictures were taken once the van was completed…):
A duct will run from the floor hole to above our bed, so we drilled a 4″ hole in the platform bed and inserted a 4″ splice:
We then attached (with Powertec hose clamps) the in-line fan and the duct from the floor vent to the bed platform (if you chose not to install a fan, well, don’t install a fan just route the duct):
The duct is held on the wall with plastic coated hanger straps.
Then we attached the top duct with D-Ring picture hangers (Buy on Amazon) and velcro straps (Buy on Amazon). We located the fan speed controller so we can access it from the bed or from the back of the van:
We added a dust filter, because we learned the hard way that dust will get sucked in on dusty roads… The filter just holds with the mesh screen sharp ends:
ON SECOND THOUGHT
September 2018 Update
So we just went through a summer and it was a HOT one! Here are our thoughts:
PROS: The floor vent is great for when we leave the van alone (in the city or when riding or bikes); indeed it’s super safe, there’s no potential for thief through that, nice. If we had a window instead of the floor vent, we’re not sure if we could leave it opened in urban areas…
CONS: It’s not much effective as passive vent because the hole doesn’t have enough surface area. When it’s super hot outside, we wish was had a slider window in the back to get more ventilation without having to start the inline fan (as we mention the inline fan is a little noisy). We consider adding a window in the back for next summer.
DUST: The floor vent located at the back of the van collects a lot of dust! We need to clean our dust filter quite often. However the fridge floor vent is not that bad since it’s located near the front.