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What is a Baseboard Diffuser?

Diane Goettel
Updated May 17, 2024
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A baseboard diffuser is a kind of slatted grate that fits into a baseboard in order to cover a vent and, in some cases, direct the flow of the air coming out of the vent. Most are are made out of metal or wood, but there are many designs for the shape and orientation of the slats that cover the opening of the diffusers. In some cases, the direction in which these slats send the air can be adjusted with built-in hinges. In most cases, however, the slats that cover the face of a baseboard diffuser are stationary.

The most basic functions of a baseboard diffuser are to fit snugly within the opening of a wall vent and to direct the flow of air in the appropriate direction or directions. Choosing the right size is often rather simple, as there are standard sizes for vents and vent openings. Just be sure to take accurate measurements and check to make sure that all of the baseboard vents are the same size. In order to make sure that the air flow from the vents is maximized, make sure that the slats in the diffuser point in a few different directions. This will cause the air to diffuse out into the room instead of simply pouring in from one direction.

In most cases, the materials that are used to build a baseboard diffuser and the style of the slats are chosen based on the room in which the diffuser will be installed. For plain or austere spaces such as professional offices or public buildings, a very basic diffuser might be the best choice. For a living room or similar interior space in a residence, it might be better to choose a more ornate baseboard diffuser. In addition to choices of material and style, people can also choose baseboard diffusers based on finish and color.

When choosing a wooden baseboard diffuser it is important to choose a kind of wood that can stand up to the regular flow of heated air. Warm air can quickly dry out wood that has not been properly treated. This sort of dryness can cause the wood to become brittle. For this reason, it is usually best for the slats of a wooden diffuser to be a bit thicker than the slats of a metal one. The thickness of the slats helps to protect against brittleness.

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Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel , Former Writer
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"

Discussion Comments

By Mammmood — On Mar 19, 2012

@MrMoody - Regardless of whether you are using metal or wood for your baseboard diffusers, you should clean them regularly. The air vent can collect dust over time and if you don’t clean it then it’s just spewing dusty air into your room.

If you suffer from allergies this can make the situation even worse. What you want to do is to remove the slats and clean out the dust in between the grill, using a soft cloth.

I would clean inside the vent too, as much as you can. Of course if you really want to be thorough then you can call a professional to come in and thoroughly clean your ducts, inside and out. But this at least should get you started and bring some improvement to your air quality.

By MrMoody — On Mar 18, 2012

Choosing the right size for a floor air register can be a challenge, especially if you own a very old home. The sizes for houses built in the 1950s for example are different than what you find for the modern homes.

It’s not an impossible task, but I would recommend that you look online if you can’t find what you need in the local home improvement stores.

I am assuming that you probably don’t want to take a modern diffuser and try to remold it to fit the space that you have. The best thing is to find a perfect fit; online shopping is the way to go in my opinion.

Diane Goettel

Diane Goettel

Former Writer

"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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