Installing bathroom vent fan in drop ceiling


I have installed several bathroom vent fans in sheetrock ceiling, but soon I will be doing one with a drop ceiling. My question is does the fan still sit flush with the bottom of the ceiling tile, or does is sit a couple inches above the tile in case you had to change the tile if it got damaged, wet, etc? I would think if you made it sit flush with the bottom, there's no way to remove the tile, other than going through another tile and take apart the fan.
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*You're right that it would be difficult to replace a tile after the fan is installed. The last time that I installed a Panasonic fan in a drop ceiling I did make it flush with the finished ceiling. To replace the tile one would have to cut a new one into two and slide the pieces in from each side. I suppose if the fan was set in a corner of the tile a whole piece could slide in. If the fan is up too high it is difficult to get the fan trim on.
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Mikepier wrote:

You're on the right track. Look at inline ventilation fans. You put the fan/motor assembly somewhere out of the way and run flexduct to the inlet.
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There's no way I can put the motor in the attic out of the way. I like the option of putting the fan in the corner of the ceiling, or at the end of a ceiling grid. You could still remove the tile if you had to.
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Mikepier wrote:

It doesn't have to be in the attic. Some look just like a standard fan housing, except they have duct connections for both the inlet and outlet. It will fit in the joist space in the bathroom.
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Putting the fan in a location where it will be LESS effective at venting the moisture out of the bathroom will only be a large contributing factor to the premature failure and mold growth on your suspended ceiling tiles...
Install it in the area it needs to be installed in, centered in that ceiling tile... If you ever need to replace it you will have to remove the cover on the fan housing and partially disassemble it to move it out of the way to replace the tile it is located in...
This is a fact of life with suspended ceilings, it happens all the time in commercial buildings with various items that penetrate the ceiling tiles... If you think that replacing a tile that has a ceiling fan installed in it in your bathroom at home is a big deal, then you have never seen things like having to replace tiles with a fire sprinkler head in them which requires a round hole cut in just the right place which is large enough for the pipe to fit and still small enough for the sprinkler head trim ring to hide the hole...
Or having to call out a licensed fire alarm tech to move a smoke detector out of your way while you replace the ceiling tile it is mounted in...
You can see for yourself where building management employs skilled people to do this, as you WILL NOT find tiles cut into halfsies to be fitted around some penetration unless it is a non-removable part of the building structure...
Oh, and in most commercial buildings you are working on these ceiling tiles at 10' to 14' above the floor...
~ Evan
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Consider installing a divider in the panel and placing the fan in a 2X2 tile and a separate 2X2 in the other space. That'd let you get to the fan to loosen it in the unlikely event the small tile was damaged. In fact, you might consider using a metal, perforated, tile for that 2X2 area so that it wouldn't be vulnerable to water damage. That'd take away almost all the concern.
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