What is a Glass Block Vent?

Koren Allen

Glass block windows are a beautiful way to allow natural light into an interior space, while providing privacy without the need for window dressings. One problem with glass block windows is that, because of their solid construction, they cannot be opened to allow for air flow. A glass block vent solves this problem; vents are sized to match common glass block sizes and are incorporated right into the design of the window. Vents are commonly available in several styles. Some can be added to existing windows; others are part of a prefabricated window that installs similarly to any other window.

Glass block vents can be used for venting clothes dryers.
Glass block vents can be used for venting clothes dryers.

Glass block windows can be used in any room of the house, but they are most commonly used in basements, bathrooms, and garages. Without proper ventilation, moisture can accumulate in these areas, providing a fertile place for mold to grow. Indoor pollutants can also accumulate in any area where there is little or no ventilation. Installing a glass block vent can keep your home healthier by allowing fresh air to circulate and drying out spaces that have a tendency to stay damp.

Without proper ventilation, mold and can grow in any number of places.
Without proper ventilation, mold and can grow in any number of places.

Hopper-style glass block vents are the simplest design. They consist of a single pane of glass that is hinged either at the top or bottom; they pop open to allow air flow when it is needed, then close again when it is not. Typically, these vents are rectangular and take up the space of two glass blocks in the window.

Sliding pane vents, as the name suggests, consist of a single pane of glass that slides open horizontally when fresh air is needed. They generally run the full width of the window and are installed above or below the window itself. This type of glass block vent provides maximum airflow without disrupting the design and privacy of the window itself.

Another type of glass block vent is the dryer vent. This vent is specially designed for venting a clothing dryer out the window; this is a cost-effective alternative to cutting a hole into a basement wall or other exterior wall. They are typically square and take up the space of one block in the window design. Like other dryer vents, most have shutters that open when the dryer is in use and close again to keep insects and rodents out.

Power vents come with a small fan to assist with airflow in especially damp areas such as basements. The size of the vent will vary depending on how many fans are installed; units are commonly available with one, two, or three fans. Each fan typically takes up the space of one block, so a unit with double fans would replace two blocks in the window. The power unit simply plugs into a standard wall outlet and require no special wiring. Similar to all glass block vent designs, power vents have an exterior insect screen that can be removed for cleaning.

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