We're getting proposals to add central air conditioning to our house. We currently have no ductwork so adding ducts and vents is part of the project. One possible duct location is on the ceiling over these kitchen cabinets, roughly where the star is:

Possible vent location - ceiling in corner

This is a convenient location for a vent, because it's easy to reach from upstairs (the air handler will be in the attic). It seems like a good location for cooling the kitchen. There is a 6 1/4" gap between the top of the cabinet frame and the ceiling.

Is this an OK place to put a vent? One contractor said that placing a vent close to the cabinets will ruin the cabinets, so we'd want to run it elsewhere. Another said that the cool dry air will just flow over the cabinet and would not damage it at all. I don't see how cool dry air would damage a cabinet; am I missing something? Are there other reasons this is a good or bad idea?

  • This would be an exhaust, right? An intake in the kitchen would worry me due to smells and smoke being circulated. Jul 24, 2016 at 15:04
  • Yes this is an exhaust / supply, blowing out cold air. Jul 25, 2016 at 0:28
  • Also, use a clear plastic register air deflector to direct the air into the room rather than have it bounce around aimlessly on top of the cabinets.
    – JS.
    Aug 2, 2016 at 22:20
  • An update: We've had the AC for 2 years now. The installers were able to run a bend in the ductwork through the ceiling, allowing them to position the vent just past the cabinet. I think that's better for airflow, and it turned out to be easy enough to accomplish. But I'd have been comfortable installing it over the cabinets otherwise. The cabinets are in great condition, too. Nov 1, 2018 at 20:55

3 Answers 3


Sorry I don't have enough points to comment yet so have to put this reply in the answer.

I had a vent coming out under the cabinets in the kitchen of my house for 20 years with NO PROBLEM (i.e. at the floor level where the kick-plate is). This wasn't even ductwork under the cabinet, but rather the vent exhausted into the frame under the cabinets, which then vented out the kick-plate.

My system would push out gas fired hot air in winter, and integrated AC in summer. He had a HRV.

No splitting in the cabinets, no peeling of the veneer, no warping of the frames.

I'd say go for it.

  • 3
    But just for the extra security (or maybe peace of mind), I would suggest putting a (loose) board on top of the cabinet (under the duct) to act like a shield against abrupt temperature changes. Jul 26, 2016 at 12:50
  • I'm with you on this one Ben
    – Levi
    Jul 26, 2016 at 15:46
  • Good idea. I was thinking of using a sheet of polystyrene insulation for this purpose. Jul 26, 2016 at 18:32
  • 1
    @ShimonRura polystyrene sounds good if you happen to have some laying around (provided that it doesn't blow around)... I wouldn't spend any money on this, though. Even cardboard could work (not that there needs to be any), but I would opt for something that either looked nice or wasn't visible (and without spending time, money, or effort). One more idea (maybe a little OCD)... if you angle it like a ramp, the air flow in the room might be more efficient. A foam wedge just came to mind, but whatever. Jul 27, 2016 at 13:02

Nonsense... there's no way the output from the AC will damage a modern cabinet. The carcass of the cabinet is undoubtedly plywood or MDF which is plenty dimensionally stable. If you're still worried, add louvers and point the exhaust away from the cabinets, but I wouldn't give it a second thought.


Absolutely rubbish nothing will happen to cabinet with AC's output unit. Moreover this is the best place because it's close to ceiling so it will keep room cooler than lower height unit.

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