So my 1 year old decided to start playing with the air vents recently… I had never even thought about these vents before she got into them. Essentially they were just held there by gravity so she could easily just lift them out and then throw stuff down that hole. I think we lost a tennis ball somewhere into the HVAC system… So I decided it was time to babyproof them… here are the steps with some pictures to help…
Tools & Supplies:
- Assorted drill bits
- Vent Covers
- Hot Glue Gun
- Countersink bit
- Screen Replacement Material
- Purchase some new vent covers (I had to do this step b/c my wife wanted new pretty vent covers… you can skip this one unless your wife also wants new pretty vent covers…) Make sure that if you’re buying something that you get something sturdy. I don’t think the all-plastic models would hold up well. I ended up with the 4″x10″ covers from lowes. The inside part is plastic but the whole top was solid metal which seemed fine to me.
- Buy some replacement screen material something like this from Lowes works just fine.
- Buy the screws you want. Now I wanted something that looked decent, but I couldn’t find anything at Lowes. I went to a small hardware store down the road and found some antique black cabinetry screws with a square drive. PERFECT!
- Depending on the screws you get you may also need a countersink bit for your drill (if you got a metal vent in step #1, make sure that the countersink bit you get works for metal too!)
- Fit the vent into the hole and decide where you need to drill so that you will hit the floorboard surrounding the vent. Some of these vent holes look like they were cut with a chainsaw, so make sure that you’re going to be drilling into something. I reccomend looking at each of the holes individually because the guy cutting them was not only using a chainsaw, but was also hammered.
- Decide on the placement and then drill a hole for the screw… pick you drill bit size very carefully. WIth the screws I chose if I made the hole big enough for the thread then the head of the screw could almost slip through. *BUT* the metal was too thick on the top of the vent to thread the screw through like you would normally… The solution? Countersink both sides of the hole so that it makes an hourglass shaped hole for the screw to easily thread throught but still allow the head to have good purchase.
- Now cut a piece of the screen to fit the bottom part of the register. You want to make this long enough so that it will loop over the slats when you open the vent. Once you have this sized properly cut it out and just hot glue it in place. (3 globs of glue on each side was good enough for me.)
- Let the glue set for a bit and then go drill the floor boards and screw them down!