You may not always think about your vents when you are cranking up the air conditioning during the summer, but your vents work hard to keep your HVAC system running smoothly.
A Well Balanced AC Relationship
There are a lot of parts that make up your HVAC system. All of them have to work together to maintain your comfort all year long. Your HVAC unit may be in charge of cooling or heating air, but that air still needs to find its way into your home.
Your duct system is the highway that air uses to navigate through your home. If your ducts are the highway, then think of your vents as the exits that air takes to dispense air into rooms of your house.
Supply and Return Vents
You have supply and return vents in your home. Both are equally important in ensuring comfort and maintaining high HVAC efficiency. Without one, the other couldn’t do its job!
Supply vents are connected to, you guessed it, supply ducts. They’re responsible for getting cooled (or heated) air to the areas in your home that need it. These vents are smaller than return vents and can be identified by the slats located on the front. These slats or “grilles” are used to alter the direction of airflow.
Return vents are the opposite of supply vents. They pull air that isn’t cooled or heated and sends it back to your unit to be cooled or reheated. Return vents are slightly larger than supply vents and don’t feature slats since air direction doesn’t need to be controlled. These vents should be located near the ceiling because warm air rises.
Return vents are responsible for two main things: air pressure and filtering. The amount of air that is supplied should be equal to the amount of air that is being pulled out. This maintains equal air pressure in your ductwork. Secondly, return vents promote filtration of your air. If you are changing your filters like you should, then air will be filtered out before it goes back to your unit, meaning cleaner air that requires less work on your unit.
Common Problems with Your Vents and Duct System
Both supply and return vents should be working for you and your unit. When they are acting up, it makes it a lot harder on your unit to get air into your home. Plus, it drives up energy costs and could lead to large repairs since your unit is kicking into overdrive. You can tell there are issues with your vents if you notice:
- Uneven temperatures in your home
- The airflow coming out of your supply vents is weak
- Ducts have moisture or debris
- Air is leaking from your vents
The number one reason that vents are not working as they should is that they are blocked. Whether it’s supply or return, vents that are blocked by furniture or curtains can’t do their job properly. Supply vents can’t get air into rooms if their entry point is blocked and return vents can’t remove the air that needs to be cooled or heated. Do your unit a favor and make sure your home’s furniture isn’t the cause of your HVAC woes.
Closing Off Vents in Unused Rooms
Another problem that homeowners inadvertently cause on their HVAC system is closing the grilles on supply vents in rooms they don’t currently use. Maybe that back bedroom you are using for storage doesn’t seem like it needs to get AC. Choosing to close your supply vents is extremely bad. Pressure will build up in your ducts and can cause duct leaks that affect your entire home. Leaking air from your ducts compromises your comfort and makes your energy bills spike. Open these doors for better air circulation or invest in solutions like ductless mini-splits or zoned heating and cooling to help the cause.
Dirty vents, like dirty AC filters, are no friend to your HVAC system. Not only do they contribute to potential allergens and debris that build up in your ducts and unit, but they also make it harder for air to flow in and out of vents. If you notice a buildup of dust or dirt of the front of your vents, simply wipe them off. Your unit will thank you!
Improper Ductwork Design
Your home’s ductwork could also be the culprit when it comes to poor HVAC efficiency. If there aren’t enough supply and return vents located throughout your home, then your air will not be supplied or pulled out at the frequency it should. Having your HVAC system installed correctly will save you a whole lot of money in the future.
HVAC and Ductwork Maintenance with Crystal Air & Water
Your vents are just one component of the heating and cooling process. Your HVAC unit may get all the credit (or blame) when it comes to comfort in your home, but it’s important to keep an eye on the vents in your home.
If you notice your HVAC efficiency isn’t where you’d like it to be or you are noticing any problems mentioned, please call us today. We’d be happy to inspect your home and your HVAC system to make sure everything is working! We offer a variety of HVAC solutions including our HVAC maintenance plan, duct cleaning, and AC tune-ups!