How to Install a Wall Register Into a Heat Duct


Wall registers installed into a heating duct can divert warm air to areas that need extra air flow. Adding a register close to the air handler reduces air pressure in the ducts, which reduces the potential for duct leaks. Register grills with curved blades and extended dampers reduce air flow noise and diffuse air better than flush mounted registers. A wall register and a floor register look identical except for the two screw holes on the side of the wall register that hold it in place.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Marker
  • Flat screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Tin snips
  • Torpedo level
  • Drill
  • Measure the damper size of the wall register. The damper extends out from the back of the register and limits the air flow through the register.

  • Draw the damper opening on the duct with a marker using the damper measurements as a guide. The distance from the edge of the duct to the damper opening must equal or exceed 1 1/2 inches to keep the register flange within the duct. The flange area, found on the register's face, acts as the trim and has at least two screw holes.

  • Place the sharp corner of a flat screwdriver 1/2 inch inside the damper opening drawn on the duct. Strike the screwdriver with a hammer until the screwdriver opens a 1-inch slot in the duct. The slot must stay within the damper area.

  • Place the blades of a set of tin snips into the slot created in the duct. Cut from the slot to the marker line. Cut out the damper opening along the marker lines with the tin snips. To make cutting easier after the first turn, pull on the loose sheet metal with your hand.

  • Push the register damper into the hole until the register flange fits flush against the duct. If the damper does not fit, trim as needed.

  • Place a torpedo level on top of the registers flange and adjust the register until its level.

  • Screw the register in place with a drill. Use the screws supplied with the register. The screws go through the holes on the sides of the register and penetrate the duct.

Tips & Warnings

  • To avoid burrs when cutting sheet metal, do not completely close the blades of the tin snips. Instead open them once they have reached the 3/4 closed position. Maintain blade contact by sliding the tin snips forward while opening the blades.

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  • Photo Credit rusted vent image by Karin Lau from
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