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How to Fix a Sagging Bathroom Vent Cover

Author:

Tom Lohr is an avid home DIY enthusiast. He prefers to spend the money he saves on new tools and gardening supplies.

An annoying gap between fan cover and ceiling

An annoying gap between fan cover and ceiling

One of the last things you want to see while in the bathroom is something sagging. It's bad enough all of the sagging you see in the mirror after exiting the shower. One of the main culprits of bathroom aggravation is when the cover on the vent fan starts becoming less than flush with the ceiling. It's unsightly and annoying.

While that sagging you see in the mirror will cost you a gym membership and dedication to resolve, the sag your vent cover can easily be fixed at no cost. There is a quick and simple solution that only requires a ladder or step stool.

One mainly encounters vent fan cover sagging under two conditions:

  1. The fan has been there forever and, between age and changing light bulbs, the tensioning mechanism has become worn.
  2. You are doing a new install and find that after the hassle of mounting the fan, the tensioning mechanism just doesn't pull the cover up far enough to become flush with the ceiling.

Here is how you correct the sagging in your vent cover.

Tensioning pongs on backside of cover

Tensioning pongs on backside of cover

Remove Current Cover

While some vent fans are peculiar, the vast majority have covers that are held in place by two sets of prongs that are shaped in a “V.” When installing, you simply squeeze both sets of prongs together and guide them into their dedicated slots on each side of the fan housing. Then the prongs spread out, lifting the cover with them. Removal is just the reverse, with the exception that you have to pull down on the cover until it has a decent-sized gap between it and the fan housing. Then you squeeze both sets of prongs together and ease it out.

Before bending

Before bending

After bending. Notice the difference in angle at the bends in the middle

After bending. Notice the difference in angle at the bends in the middle

Bend Each Prong

There are four prongs in two sets. Notice that instead of a straight “V” there is a small bend about half way up the prong that separates the two prongs even further. It is that bend that produces the tension that holds the cover in place.

At the point in each prong where the “V” is slightly bent, bend it to a more extreme angle. You can do this with your hands. Don't over-bend. Try a slight bend first and then reattach the cover to the fan. If there is still too much gap or sag, repeat the bending little by little until the prongs provide enough tension to hold the vent cover flush and snug against the ceiling.

Inspect the Cover

There is a chance one or both sets of prongs have somehow broken. If this is the case, start shopping for a new cover. Otherwise, make sure the prongs are in good condition. If your fan is older, use a rag to wipe it down.

While you have the cover off and the ladder in the bathroom, this is a great time to vacuum out the fan housing. If it has been there a while, this is an important home maintenance task

Nice and flush, the way it should be.

Nice and flush, the way it should be.

Pat Yourself on the Back

That is all you have to do. Three easy steps to get the sag out. Now put away the ladder, step back, and admire your handiwork. Be sure to avoid the mirrors.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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