Cabinet cooling


Active Member
Has anyone had experience cooling down a cabinet filled with home theater equipment? Currently my cabinet only contains:

1 - Dell P4 computer (I use Beyond TV) using TV as the monitor
1 - Scientific Atlantic Cable box for Cox cable
1 - DVD player
1 - VCR

I will be adding an Onkyo 703 receiver as soon as I can afford some speakers.

Even without the receiver, it gets quite warm inside the cabinet as compared to the temperature outside the cabinet. It seems to be OK if I leave the cabinet doors open but then my Wife Acceptance Factor drops significantly. I have already purchased an IR repeater to be able to close the cabinet to satisfy my wife. The cabinet backs up to an outside wall. I was thinking I could use something like a laundry room dryer vent with a quiet PC fan.

Any input would be appreciated.
Thank you for your reply. Mine is a wood cabinet built above our 65" Big Screen HDTV. I think I need to suck the hot air from the cabinet to the outside and blow cooler air from the room into the cabinet. I am concerned about pulling air from the bottom of the cabinet, as the TV being located directly under the cabinet, will be warming the air. I can't put anything on the front of the cabinet. My wife won't allow it.

not sure what your cabinet looks like, but you need air in and air out pathways . .

. . if you place them with some thought, you may not need a fan . .

Pete C
Can you cut out the entire back of the unit where the gear is?

That approach has worked for me. I was able to eliminate fans in cases where I could just expose the whole lot of the gear on one side.

I also created airflow in one cabinet (not on I have anymore) but using those little rubber door things to create a 1/4" (or so) air gap on the front doors when closed. It wasn't noticeable on this cabinet. Of course, the back was cut out, too.
Thank you all for your suggestions. I have included a couple of pictures to help to describe my environment. Left picture is with the cabinet doors closed. Right picture is with the cabinet doors open.

The TV is located in our great room, just to the left of a fireplace. The cabinet is mounted above the TV in a niche. Behind the cabinet and TV is drywall. On the other side of the wall behind the TV and the cabinet is the outside.



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hmmm... not too big... bottom shelf generally hidden by the TV... could probably just put open vents (read "holes cut in it") on the bottom shelf and slots at the top back and get some good airflow.

I worked with equipment in the past that got rid of fans by using the basic "heat rises" premise to create airflow. In this case, small slots at a lower corner edge and small slots at a higher corner edge created actual "flow" (that you could feel) without fans.

Of course the size of those slots... that's an experimental thing. ;)
Since it appears that you have clear glass doors, why not just remove them? The view of the equipment will be the same, you won't get anymore dust than you would with a blower, the cost is zero and no messing with moving equipment to cut holes.

Thanks for the suggestion. The doors are solid wood. The picture on the left shows the cabinet with the doors closed and the picture on the right shows the cabinet with the doors open. I agree it would make sense to leave the doors off if they were glass doors. My wife does not like the fact that I leave the cabinet doors open all the time right now.

What is above the cabinet? If that is a soffit area with dead space you might want to vent out there and into the room in the winter (after all you are paying for all that heat) and vent outside in the summer).
I used 4' duct work with x10 powered duct fans from smarthome. You may want to consider vents for the TV as well. If the wall in back of everything is hollow you can cut vents in the wall directly and use the path way between the studs as you duct work,that might make things a bit easier. That way you could cut a vent in the bottom of the cabinet and one inside on top back and use a HVAC powered duct vent to move the air.