How to Install Air Vent Covers

Homes and businesses with forced-air heating systems typically rely on floor or wall vents to circulate hot air throughout the space. Floor registers or metal plates are used to cover these vents. They often have decorative designs though some are adjustable with slits that help air flow in one direction or another.

Learning how to measure, remove, and replace these types of vent covers is simple. With this skill you’ll be able to keep your system’s vents clean and in working order. Or, you might consider replacing your existing vent covers for something more decorative. 


Step-by-Step Guide to Removing and Replacing Vent Covers

With these steps you can learn to remove your current vent covers, measure for new ones, and determine whether or not you want to replace them. Before you start, grab a screwdriver, measuring tape, and step ladder if needed.

Step 1. Remove current vent cover

Before you start, make sure your system is off. You’ll need a screwdriver to remove the screws, and a step ladder if your vents are located higher up. Most decorative or heavier plated floor registers don’t have screws, but you may want a flathead to help lift it from the floor. 

If your vent covers are higher up, be sure to keep a firm hand at the center to stabilize the cover as you unscrew the screws. Be mindful that some debris may fall out while you are unscrewing. You can wear goggles to protect your eyes if you’re required to look up while unscrewing. Once you’ve unscrewed or lifted the vent cover, gently bring it out without pulling too hard. 

Step 2. Measure the space

It’s important to measure the length and width of the vent hole in your wall or floor when you’re looking to replace your existing vent covers. Don't use measurements from your old vent cover as this could leave you with an inaccurate measurement. 

Step 3: Match your measurements

Use your recorded measurements to find new vent covers or floor registers. Some websites will allow you to search by your exact measurements to save time. Be careful to select ones that will fit your needs. If you are buying more than one, you may also need to double-check the measurements for those areas. While most vent covers come in standardized sizes, occasionally you’ll find one that is off. 

Step 4: Install new vent covers

Consider using a rag to clean around your vent area before you install the new vent covers. You might also consider using a vacuum to clear out any residual dust. 

If you’ve purchased floor registers, you likely won’t have to deal with screws. Installation is usually as simple as removing the registers from their packaging and carefully inserting them into the air vent slot. The wider side of your floor register will be facing up so that the lip rests on the edges of the floor, while the more narrow side will face downwards into the hole. 

For other types of air vent covers, use the screws included to re-install your vent covers. If you’re using a drill, be careful not to overtighten the screws and damage the drywall.


You can also use the steps above to perform regular cleaning on your air vent covers. You should consider giving your vent covers a deep cleaning about twice a year, with regular vacuuming in between. 


Considerations When Selecting Air Vent Covers

If you’re still undecided about the type of air vent covers you’d like to purchase, there are a few things worth considering, like the current temperature of the room. If you notice that one room gets cooler than the others, selecting an air vent cover with the option to open or close the vent might be the best option for you. 

In terms of floor registers, some floor registers are designed to be more flat than others. If you have concerns about the location of a register (maybe it’s in an area that would make it easy to trip on), consider getting a register that is more flush with the ground.

Figuring out how to remove and replace your air vent covers can add a new decorative flair to your space as well as provide the best and most filtered air. And luckily, it’s a relatively simple task that requires very few tools. 

Product Compliance and Suitability

The product statements contained in this guide are intended for general informational purposes only. Such product statements do not constitute a product recommendation or representation as to the appropriateness, accuracy, completeness, correctness or currentness of the information provided. Information provided in this guide does not replace the use by you of any manufacturer instructions, technical product manual, or other professional resource or adviser available to you. Always read, understand and follow all manufacturer instructions.