Add a Vent Fan to a Suspended Ceiling

Lead Image for Add a Vent Fan to a Suspended Ceiling
  • 2-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 30-75
What You'll Need
Vent fan kit
Drywall saw
Wire nuts

If you have a suspended ceiling, you might find it a bit difficult to add a vent fan, ceiling fan, or any other type of device that requires electricity or weighs too much to hang from ceiling tiles. There are ways around this problem, though.

Decide the Placement for Your Vent Fan

The first step is to decide where on your suspended ceiling you would like your vent fan to go. You’ll need to anchor the vent-fan system to a ceiling joist. Therefore, examine the layout of your room, choose a ceiling joist, and decide what position along the joist to install your fan.

Consider Your Options

You can find air vents that are specifically designed for suspended ceilings, but if you want a normal vent fan you can certainly use it as well. You simply need to block out the space between the fan and the suspended ceiling with extra drywall.

Safety First

You would be shocked at how easy it is to electrocute yourself so don’t forget to shut off all power to the area where you’ll be working. Put on a face mask and goggles before cutting the drywall and the suspended ceiling tiles to make room for your vent fan.

Installing the Vent Fan

Read and carefully follow the directions that come with your vent-fan kit. Of course, you’ll have to make adjustments due to the suspended ceiling, but assembling the vent fan properly is still a necessary step. Take the relevant suspended ceiling tiles down and cut holes in them using the drywall saw. Attach the vent fan to the ceiling joist.

Wiring the Vent Fan

Wire the vent fan to the wiring up in the suspended ceiling. All electrical wiring is color-coded, so you should be able to figure out the wiring diagram with the help of the instructions that come with the vent fan. Use a pair of wire strippers to expose some of the wire and connect it with a wire nut. You may need extra wiring since you are wiring it for a suspended ceiling.

Finishing the Suspended Ceiling Project

You’ll need to use the extra drywall to make sure your vent fan is connected to the part of the fan that is attached to the ceiling joist. Make sure you vent the fan and connect it to the proper exhaust above your suspended ceiling. Put the cover of your vent fan on, if you have one, and complete the project. You’ll also need to wire the vent fan to a switch if you plan on using it on a regular basis. Once this is completed, you can restore the power to the working area and try out your new vent fan.