Add a Vent Fan to a Suspended Ceiling

What You'll Need
Vent fan kit
Drywall saw
Wire cutter/stripper
Wire nuts

If you have a suspended ceiling you might find it a bit difficult to add a vent fan, ceiling fan, or other types of devices that require an electrical hookup and weigh too much to hang from ceiling tiles. There are ways around the problem of installing a vent fan in your suspended ceiling.

Step 1- 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 want a ceiling joist to be above the place where you want the vent fan to go, because you’ll need to attach and anchor the vent fan system to a ceiling joist. Also, think about the layout of the room in which you’re installing the vent fan.

Step 2- 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. You would simply need to block out the space between the fan and the suspended ceiling with extra drywall. Ideally, your vent fan should be secured to the ceiling joist.

Step 3- Safety

Don’t forget to shut off all power to the area where you’ll be working. Wear a face mask and goggles when cutting the drywall and the suspended ceiling tiles to make room for your vent fan.

Step 4- 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. Cut a hole in the selected suspended ceiling tile for your vent fan using the drywall saw. Attach the vent fan to the ceiling joist based on the directions that come with your vent fan.

Step 5- Wiring the Vent Fan

Wire the vent fan to the wiring up in the suspended ceiling. Wiring is color coded, so you should be able to figure the wiring out with the help of the instructions coming from the vent fan. Use wire cutters to expose some of the wire and connect it with a wire nut. You may need extra wiring since you are wiring for a suspended ceiling.

Step 6- 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.