Exhausting computer heat out of the room

I live in Central Texas where summers get blazing hot.  We’re looking at 100 degrees every day for 8 months out of every year.  You may have noticed that your computer can really heat up your room making it even more unpleasant.  I’ve been bothered by this for years so this year I decided to do something about it.

Img_0523My computer is on a corner desk in the corner of my room so I started by cutting a 4 inch hole in the ceiling.  This is the part that held me back for all those years because I didn’t want to cut a hole in the ceiling.  Well, Sheetrock holes are not permanent.  They are easily repaired.  Save the piece that you cut out to patch it back in the future when or if you remove the cooling system.  You can put a small board behind it, screw the cut out piece in place and seal it in using joint compound or caulk.  Not a big deal so get over it.

Install a 4 inch vent end thing from Home Depot or Lowes.  Yes. I know it is backwards but the sheetrock is thicker than the tabs.  It will wedge in and work this way just as well.


The next step is to use a piece of thin plywood or cardboard to make a heat box.  I am starting with cardboard which I can use as a template for the plywood if this prototype works out as planned.  Might as well start easily.   Cut another 4 inch hole in the medium of your choice and install another vent end thing and bend the tabs over to hold it in place.

Img_0526Tape the top to the desk.  I didn’t use a lot of tape here because if I was to remove it in a few years, the more tape you use the more gunk you will have to clean off the surface. Keep it simple is a good motto for prototyping your projects.

If your desk is not in a corner it might be even easier because you won’t have to cut any angles.  Look at the sides now and cut a few more pieces of cardboard to complete the “heat box”.


Img_0534Finish off the sides of the box by taping a few more pieces of cardboard. They don’t have to do down really far because heat rises but that is up to you.

Experimentation is good.

Use as much or as little tape as you like.  It doesn’t have to be sealed up perfectly.


Img_0527Now just run your four-inch flexible dryer vent tubing between the end pieces.

You can buy it in an 8 foot length in the washing machine / dryer section of Home Depot or Lowes for about $9.00.

One length is all you should need.

Don’t extend it completely before installing.  Just expand as much as you need.

I overdid it a little but that’s OK.


Img_0528Here’s the finished heat exhaust system with my monitors back in place.

You don’t need a fan because, say it with me, “Heat rises!” Yaaaay!  I can tell it is working because the tube feels warm to the touch.  My infrared thermometer shows that it is hotter than any other surface in the room.  It’s alive!!!!  Alive!!!!

If you are a gamer or a video editor then this project may be for you.

The Spousal Acceptance Factor of this project is -5. No woman will allow this.  On the other hand, the awesomeness factor is +53.

The whole thing costs about $15.00 and 30 minutes of your time.

If it works out for you then make a permanent one using lauan plywood.


It turns out that relying on the stack effect just wasn’t enough.  In order to really pull the heat up the pipe it needs a little force.  I found an old muffin fan in my box-o-fans that could easily be made round by removing the corners with a pair of wire cutters.  I took the fan and put it into the connector up at the ceiling and ran the wire down the tube to the computer.  Now it is more effective.