How to Add a Vent to a Desk for the Computer

Written by james clark
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How to Add a Vent to a Desk for the Computer
Proper ventilation around office furniture can prolong the life of your computer. (computer working image by NiDerLander from

Personal computers generate heat during operation, which is why all PCs and laptops contain a built-in fan and motor for ventilation. When you set up your equipment on a desk or PC hutch, the furniture may enclose the electronics and cause heat build-up. Computer manufacturers typically recommend at least 6 inches of space behind and on the sides of a computer, especially a desktop tower (the CPU, or central processing unit). This may not be practical, depending on the dimensions of the desk. Add a vent if you don't want your tower hanging off the edge of your office furniture.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Hammer
  • Pencil
  • Safety goggles
  • Power drill
  • Hacksaw
  • Sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Pull out the computer tower from the desk, either from inside an enclosed cabinet or on a shelf, to inspect the back of the desk. Some computer desks, especially prefabricated units, are equipped with perforated back panels that can be knocked out carefully with a hammer to ventilate through the back of the furniture. If you have removable vent panels, line up the fan on the back of the tower with the vent area so you know which panel to remove. Tap out the panel along the perforations for instant venting.

  2. 2

    Draw an outline on the enclosed back of the desk with a pencil, marking the area where the vent will be cut if you must add a vent from scratch. Make an oval or rectangular shape on the back panel where the fan motor for the computer tower will face. The outline should not be wider than the computer tower, or you will see the hole from the front of your desk. If the vent is large enough to serve the fan motor, yet not as wide as the tower, the tower will obscure the hole from view.

  3. 3

    Remove the computer, peripherals and desk accessories from your workspace to keep sawdust off your belongings.

  4. 4

    Put on safety goggls before drilling a hole inside the outline for your vent, close to the pencil mark. The hole must be large enough to insert the blade tip of the hacksaw.

  5. 5

    Insert the tip of the hacksaw into the drilled hole, then cut around the pencil mark to create the vent. Remove the cut-out section of the desk.

  6. 6

    Smooth the cut edges around the vent with sandpaper, if desired, then sweep up the sawdust and clean the desk.

  7. 7

    Replace your computer on the desk and reconnect all peripherals. Adjust the positioning of the PC tower so the fan motor directs over the vent hole in the desk.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear safety goggles when working with tools, especially around flying sawdust.

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