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Building code requires my kitchen to have a 15cmx15cm vent (besides the kitchen cook-top vent). This vent is basically a hole in the wall that reaches to the outside. The vent has grating on both sides.

It is very cold in the winter and cold air seeps right into the kitchen, very possibly undermining the ground floor's heating. Can this hole-in-the-wall be insulated somehow ?

The vent cover looks like this:

enter image description here

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"Besides" the kitchen cook-top vent? Is this an air intake, does your cook-top vent not go outside, or does your code really require two vents? The standard answer for an exhaust vent is an exhaust fan and damper that would automatically close when not in use, but you may not have room for that if it's contained in a 6" wall cavity. –  BMitch Mar 11 '13 at 21:21
People often forget that if you pump air out (via powered cooktop vent fan) you must replace it or the vent fan will work as badly as a clogged vacuum cleaner. I assume this vent he complains of is intended to supply makeup air. As such, it should be allowed to install a motorized damper that only opens when the vent fan runs. –  Philip Ngai Mar 11 '13 at 21:33
There's obviously no room for a damper in a through the wall installation, but a duct extension may be possible on either the inside or outside to incorporate a damper. Ugly? Yes, but also functional. –  bcworkz Mar 11 '13 at 21:56
@PhilipNgai, with all the leaky windows and doors in my house, it's easy for me to forget, lol. With the new energy efficient building designs, an HRV/ERV that HerrBag mentions is often included, typically as part of the HVAC. Personally, I've never seen an intake vent in a kitchen, but there's a first for everything. –  BMitch Mar 11 '13 at 22:07
I'm guessing the reason for this extra vent is actually because you have a gas cooktop. Where are you located? it seems a little excessive. Might pay to double check the building code requirement for your particular setup. –  Matt Jul 10 '13 at 9:29
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2 Answers

You need a HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator) or an ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator)

You will be shocked by some of the prices, but know that you are saving energy dollars(riats, rupees, etc) any time you have spent resources to condition your indoor air with respect to the outside air.

If you have forced-air furnace/airconditioning, the cold air plenum can function as the HRV and condition the air. You must discuss this option with your code authority.

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I am looking to cover my bathroom wall exhaust vent when not in use, because we also have large draft of cold air coming in. I am going to make a cover with insulated fabric and attach it with Velcro that way we can just pull it off when showering and using the fan and stick it back on when not in use, which is about 90% of the time.

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