Vent Covers and Ports

Fancy grilles aren’t just for classic cars.

Spring has sprung where I live, and that signaled the start of Spring Cleaning, both indoors and out.

It was after cleaning out the garage and attempting to wash away all the grit from winter that I discovered that the hose bib had frost damage, and leaked into the basement when the tap was turned on.

The good news is the leakage was only slight, and there was no major water damage to the drywall in the basement ceiling. I called my plumber and he only needed to cut a small 8-inch by 8-inch hole in the drywall to cut out the old hose bib and replace it.

That meant that rather than having to rip out and replace a portion of the ceiling, and then repaint it, I just had to go to the hardware store and buy a vent cover to conceal the hole in the ceiling.

It’s so nice when a solution is simple and cheap instead of expensive and time consuming.

It also got me reminiscing about how useful vent covers can be in AV work.

They’re especially handy when running lines for retrofit projects in existing structures. In situations where the topography behind the walls and ceilings is complex, being able to cut holes as way stations along the way from source to destination can be the difference between “easy” and “impossible” for longer cable runs.

And then there’s always the special-use category that I like to call “Covering Up Your Mistakes,” otherwise known as “Oops, I cut a hole in the wrong spot.”

I’m only going to admit to this because a lot of time has passed, but on one project in a condo building the technician who did the prewire in the suite got his sense of direction reversed while looking at the plans and ran the wires for the in-ceiling surround speakers backwards, relative to the wall where the TV was going to be mounted.

To make matters worse, we didn’t catch it until the finishing stage.

Re-pulling the wires wasn’t difficult, fortunately. Even more fortunately, the suites in that building already had quite a few vents in the ceiling from the HVAC.

It just happened to be the case that the living room ended up with three more heating grilles in the ceiling….that just happened to be spaced out like speaker locations.