We often give a lot of credit to our homes’ supply registers because they are responsible for delivering conditioned air to different parts of our home. However, one part of your cooling system that doesn’t get as much attention, but is equally as important, is your return air vent system. So what is a return air vent and what role does it play in the cooling process?
After cool air has been delivered to an area of your home, it will eventually warm up again and need to be reconditioned. A return air vent is the part of your HVAC system that allows that warm air to flow back to your air conditioner. Not only will that air be cooled again, but it will also be cleaned by your air filter or air cleaner.
A return air venting system can be installed in one of two ways: either every room with a supply register will also have a return air vent, or there can be centrally located return vents on each floor of your home.
For a few different reasons, it’s better to have a return air vent in every room than it is to have a centrally located return vent system. For one, more air vents make it easier to achieve neutral pressure in your home. You want the air output of your HVAC system (measured in cubic feet per minute) to be equal to the amount of air that is sent back through your return vents. This can be much more easily achieved when return air vents are near a room’s supply registers.
Cooling your home is also more efficient and effective with air return vents in every room because it allows for easy airflow to and from your cooling system.
There are a couple different things you can do to ensure that your air return vents are working properly. First, you want to clean them periodically because dirt and debris can easily collect on the return grille as it leaves a room. That dirt will build up on your air filter, which will restrict your unit’s air flow.
It’s also important to make sure air can flow freely through your return air vents. Make sure that your return grilles are away from any large furniture or other obstructions that could block air flow.
If you have any questions about a return air grille, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Louis area heating and cooling company.