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What is a Rod Hanger?

By B. Turner
Updated May 17, 2024
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A rod hanger is a device used to fasten heavy support wires, or rods, to the ceiling or roof structure within a building. The hanger allows installers to quickly and securely install the rods, which are then connected to mechanical and electrical equipment within the ceiling space. While rod-hanger design can vary by model, most contain a hole for the rod to fit through along with a series of holes for screws or nails. The hanger may slide over one end of the rod or may contain threads so the rod can be screwed into place.

Builders use rod hangers for a wide variety of applications. A pipe hanger rod supports piping that carries water and waste throughout the building, while a sheet metal rod hanger supports duct work or related equipment. Rod hangers also support items such as light fixtures, artwork, and light-weight architectural features.

To ensure a secure installation, builders must choose the correct rod hanger for the job. Each hanger features a rating that provides the maximum weight the hanger can safely support. The size of the rod should also be matched to the size of the opening on the hanger, and installers should distinguish between threaded and non-threaded rods. The material the rod hanger is made from should be matched to the application. For example, galvanized or stainless steel hangers can resist rust and corrosion, while fire-rated hangers should be used to maintain support during a fire emergency.

Rod hangers come in a number of different shapes and sizes to accommodate different building designs. Hanger plates can be straight or offset so that installers can choose to hang rods directly below support beams or off to one side. When the hanger rod is fastened to the intersection of two ceiling members, an L-shaped corner hanger may be used, while a triangle hanger can be joined to three different ceiling members. An infinite number of angled plates are also available to fit into any kind of support beam configuration.

While rod hangers commonly come in the form of a metal plate, some units are threaded or looped instead. Threaded rod hangers use a series of sleeves to support the rod, while looped versions feature a circular support that wraps around the perimeter of a pipe. Some very basic rod hangers can be clipped to the support beams in the ceiling then pounded in place with a hammer instead of relying on screws or nails.

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Discussion Comments
By Catapult — On Dec 03, 2011

@widget2010- I didn't realize that hanger rods were so important until a friend told me a similar story. When I started trying to do work on my own basement, I didn't even know what rod hangers were- I kept picturing clothes or curtain rod hangers. I'm glad it's at least easy for people like me, who are pretty clueless, to find someone to help with things like that.

By widget2010 — On Dec 03, 2011

My aunt and uncle moved into an old house about ayear ago. It was supposed to be well-maintained, and the last owners had done a lot of maintenance work themselves. The first big thunderstorm my aunt and uncle had, though, there was a lot of bad wind, and it shook the house, knocking down most of the pipe hanger rods in the basement...not only did they have to replace those, but some of the pipes needed patching too.

It's so important to make sure, even if you do something yourself, you get someone to help tell you what needs to be done.

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