Last year, when I painted the grid of the suspended ceiling from brown to white so it would match the tiles, I took down the ceiling registers, which were half falling out anyway. I’m embarrassed to admit that it’s only now that I’m getting around to trying to figure out how to put them back in so we don’t have four black rectangles glaring at us downstairs.
I finally bought four white ceiling registers yesterday and thought I’d just pop them in today. No problem. Right? Well, small problem. Well, myriad of small problems.
First of all, it turns out that the old ceiling registers were just screwed through the ceiling tiles and not into the metal vent boot above it, which explains why they weren’t very secure. There’s just air above a ceiling tile, so the screws didn’t screw into anything that would hold a register up.(The vent boot is the part of the heating system that exits to the ceiling tile – see the photo below and imagine it upside down, where the rectangle cutout is above you.)
If you know what you’re doing with something called a buttonlock, you can add ears, but that sounded complicated, so I pretended I’d never read that.
Someone else online managed to rig the ceiling register up by drilling little holes in the vent boot and hooking the register to those holes using Christmas ornament hooks, but I don’t know yet if I want to do that either.
Then it turns out that the round part of the vent boot should be sealed to the rest of the duct behind the ceiling tile with metallic duct tape to close off air leaks. Any metallic duct tape in sight on those boots? None at all. Any gaps between those boots and the rest of the ductwork. Oy, yes. Big gaps. That means we’re leaking a ton behind this suspended ceiling. So that’ll be another trip to the hardware store.
And while I’m there, do I just replace these boots with boots-with-ears? Who knows.
So now I have four pristine ceiling registers sitting in a bag downstairs, and four rectangular black holes still staring at me. And a puzzle to solve.
Update: Puzzle solved!