You may have been told never to block your home’s air conditioning and heating vents, but do you know why?
It helps to understand that some of those vents — the ones you can feel warm or cool air emitting from — are for the supply air, while the other vents are for return air, or where the air in the home is pulled into the HVAC system for heating and cooling. Read on for some information on cold air returns and why blocking them is not a good idea.
What Cold Air Returns Do
Think of your HVAC system as the lungs of your home. The supply vents are where the air is exhaled, while the cold air returns are where the air is inhaled for conditioning. Most returns are located in the floor or near the bottom of the wall so they can capture the cool air that has sunk to the floor.
Many homes are designed with minimal cold air returns, resulting in an imbalance between supply and return air, which creates inefficient and uneven heating and cooling. But whether your home only has one return vent or several, you certainly don’t want to impede the intake by blocking it.
Periodically, it’s a good idea to go through your home and look for blockages in front of your vents. Move furniture, tie up drapes and rearrange rugs so that all vents are free and clear. That goes for supply vents as well; no vents should be blocked.
Keep the vents clean as well by vacuuming the grille periodically. Also, you can remove the grille and vacuum around the opening, making sure that the ductwork is connected and there are no gaps.
And while you’re at it, open up your supply vents. Theoretically, you’re saving some energy by not air conditioning or heating unused rooms, but you may also be creating negative pressure in your HVAC, forcing it to run inefficiently.
To learn more about the role cold air returns play in your home, contact Powers Heating and Air of Peachtree City.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.