Certified Home Inspections In Idaho!

Securing Air Filter Grille

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What can I do with my return air filter grille? I know I’m not the only one that has had issue with a filter grille. Yes, the ugly white (or painted) grate that’s screwed to your wall or ceiling collecting dust. It’s actually a very important component to your home’s Heating Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. It returns air from inside the home through the air handler and back into your home in the supply air registers. A good percentage of the grills on the market contain the air filter for your furnace or air handler. So, that means you must open the grill once a month to change the filter.

Why is my grille falling out of the ceiling/wall? Yep, that dirty air filter grille will not stay secured! The reason it won’t stayed secure is because the HVAC contractor didn’t completely frame around the duct work that holds the grille to the ceiling/wall? Some only frame around 2 sides, so that leaves just drywall on the other to sides. Screws only hold in drywall for a short period of time especially if you’re getting into the grille often to change the monthly filter. BTW, the filter is also an important component to your home’s envelope.  

I know the frustration and that’s why I’m here to help. There are a few ways to secure the grille. First, and probably not the most popular is to crawl inside your attic and finish framing around the duct work to give something solid for the screws to bite. Yes, I know that means moving itchy insulation and hoping you don’t fall through the ceiling. This method doesn’t work on the sidewall mount, so I will explain to you an old trick to help.

This method is by far the easiest and is a bulletproof way to end the frustration of that ugly grille falling. You take a small piece of sheetmetal about 3 ½-4 inches long and 1-2” wide. You bend a 90 degree at 1 ½” and another 90 degree at ½” or 5/8” depending on the thickness of your sheetrock. The piece of metal will slip over your drywall leaving a place to secure the grill. Hold the grille in place and mark the holes and drill out with a small 1/8” bit. Secure the grille and be happy! This is just one of the many tips I teach my home inspections clients during the process.

Aaron with First Step Home Inspections