7 Things You Should Know About Your Home's Return Air Vent

Homeowners give a lot of credit to the supply of registers as they help deliver conditioned air to significant corners of the house. But a considerable part of the cooling system that gets less attention is the return air vent system. And according to the surveys so far, the air vent system is a major part of the house. Do you know what precisely the return air vent is? Most importantly, what role does it have to play for the overall cooling process?

Well, if your house has an installed central air system, you already understand that there are so many ducts running through the house! They pass air, let it enter, and exit through vents and are the significant parts of the ventilation, air conditioning system, and building’s heating.

And there are two variants of vents. While one is the supply vents, another is the return vents. And this is your guide to understanding seven facts and truths about your home’s return air vent. Let’s read on without further delay.

1.    There’s A Sheer Difference between Supply Ducts And Return Vents

When the indoor air handler is the central system, supply ducts become the arteries. In that respect, the return ducts become the veins. Although they are biological terms, they can help you get a fair understanding of supply ducts and return vents. Supply ducts transport the air from the system to the rooms, whereas the return ducts pass air from the rooms to the system.

Supply vents get connected to the supply ducts, thereby blowing conditioned air into the indoor spaces. The air return grille connects to the ductwork, allowing air to return to the cooling system and are smaller than the return vents.

A majority of vents have slats or louvers that allow you to direct airflow. You may identify the supply vents in the home by switching on your system’s fan and holding a paper or the hand right in front of that vent. When it blows out, it’s the supply vent.

On the other hand, return vents get connected to the return ducts that pull the air out of the indoor spaces. They are larger and don’t comprise louvers.

7 Things You Should Know About Your Home's Return Air Vent

2.    You Must Not Block Return Vents

When you turn on the cooling or heating system, it is not just blowing the conditioned air, but sucking the air out too. And when the supply or return vents get blocked, the entire balance of the system is switched off.

It might look like you are saving your electricity bill, but you are increasing the air pressure in your duct system, which contributes to the leaks. Blocking or closing vents would not decrease the energy use as the HVAC system runs at the same pace. Moreover, by keeping the vents free of obstruction, you can ensure proper airflow and a humid-free environment within the abode.

3.    Their Installation Is Easy

Return air vent gets installed in either of these ways:

  • Every room must have the return air vent installed
  • They get centrally located return vents on every floor of the home

It’s always better to return the air vent in each room than to have it located centrally. Cooling the home is more efficient with the air return vents in each room as it gives an allowance for adequate airflow to and from the cooling system.

4.    Maintaining the Return Air Vents

A couple of things are there that ensure the air return vents are in good working condition. First off, you would want to clean it periodically due to debris and dirt that easily get collected on its return grille. As a result, it restricts the airflow of the unit. Filter the debris to maintain the air quality.

Additionally, it becomes quite significant to ensure that the air can flow freely through the vents. For this reason, ensure that the return grilles are far from the large furniture or any other obstructions. Also, if you place any wooden furniture or upholsteries in front of the vents by mistake, they will catch mold and mildew, leading to total damage.

7 Things You Should Know About Your Home's Return Air Vent

5.    Cleaning the Vents All By Yourself Is Possible

Although most HVAC systems are not meant to clean without professional assistance, return vents are somewhat different. You only require pulling off its metal grate and washing it more often. If you want to change its filters, always take the vacuum hose and clean the debris accordingly or use a cloth to clean its interiors.

6.    Your House May Not Have Enough Return Vents

If the contractors installed the central air after building the house, they might put a big return vent in the center. It might not be the most effective system. Comprising multiple return vents in each room results in creating consistent air pressure. Do you have a single return vent? Don’t worry; because your house is working fine! You only need to keep your doors open for the air to circulate properly.

7.    They Save both Money and Energy

All the HVAC systems measure the movement of air based on the ratio of continuous input and output from supply vents to return air vents, and its unit is CFM or cubic feet per minute. These systems use a similar quantity of energy, irrespective of whether the system is open or closed. Thus, the CFM ratio stays stable when the air can enter your abode from various points, and all the return vents remain open. As a result, you can reduce the energy needed for the HVAC system, which eventually saves the cost.  

7 Things You Should Know About Your Home's Return Air Vent

Summing Up

Keep in mind that when the air return vents don’t work properly, it might indicate that the entire system has reduced the functionality and efficiency of working. Blocked vents may impede the flow of air. As a result, it causes the unit to work ineffectively and inefficiently. Besides this, the incorrect placement of the vents may also affect the overall cooling system of the house. So, to maintain the temperature, it is essential to consult a professional to check whether or not the vents are installed and working correctly.