Spring is just around the corner, which means it's time to start thinking about spring cleaning, updating your spring decor, and the like. Vent covers are probably not on your radar, but maybe they should be this year if you live in Cary, NC.
While vent covers are often designed to be fade into the background, they're essential to our everyday life, especially if we want to keep warm in the winter or cool in the summer. Available to fit a variety of shapes and sizes, their sole purpose is to deliver temperature-regulated air throughout the home. Unfortunately, if they're left unattended for too long, they can impact your health.
With that in mind, today we'll discuss two different types of vents and the reason that vent covers are so important to your Cary, NC home if you plan to effectively maintain your HVAC system.
2 Types of Vents in Every Home
Air ducts and vents are part of a home's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. And inside every residential HVAC system, there are two types of vents: return and supply vents.
A return vent, connected to your return ducts and also known as a return vent or register, pull air out of your indoor spaces to deliver to your heating and cooling system. They are typically found in every room of your home, or are larger and more centrally located (often found in the main living spaces of your home). You can often find them raised up off the ground and on an interior wall. They can often be eyesores, especially the larger ones. If you're not sure whether or not you have a return vent, turn on your system fan and hold your hand or a piece of paper up. If the paper is pulled toward the vent or you feel any suction, it’s a return vent.
A return vent helps control air pressure and provide necessary air circulation throughout the home. They also help reduce the build-up of pressure inside a room and reduce moisture. If they function as they are intended, they will draw in the air closer to your home’s desired temperature instead of pulling heated air.
By contrast, supply vents are connected to your supply ducts, which blow conditioned air into your indoor spaces. Supply vents allow air from your HVAC system to enter each room and control the temperature to your desired comfort level.
Supply vents are typically smaller than return vents and are located on outer walls, often underneath windows and along the floor. While you can have a supply vent in the same room with a return vent, they should be spaced far enough away from return vents such that the air coming in isn’t immediately recirculated before impacting the air in your room.
If you're not sure which is which, hold that same piece of paper or your hand in front of the vent. If you can feel air blowing out, then you know that it is a supply vent.
What about Vent Covers?
Since return and supply vents both play such critical roles in your home, it's equally important that they have vent covers. Without covers, not only would you have ugly holes in your walls and floors, but you'd also have a potential safety hazard. Vent covers most basic job is to block the hole. Available in a variety of styles and colors to coordinate with your home's aesthetic, vent covers potentially offer added benefits that help improve air quality inside your room.
Vent Cover Maintenance
Just as you should regularly clean your ducts to keep your HVAC system running efficiently, you should clean your vent covers regularly to remove any build-up that naturally occurs over time. Depending on the style and material of the vent cover, you can remove it and wash it, or simply vacuum out the dust it to keep it clean.
Whatever you do, do NOT block or close your vents!
When your HVAC system is running, it not only blows conditioned air. It also simultaneously sucks the air out. When either the return or supply vents are blocked (or closed), it throws the system off balance.
Furthermore, you may think you are saving energy (and money) by closing off the vents in unoccupied rooms, but you're actually increasing the air pressure in the duct system which could cause large duct leaks and your system to breakdown. Closing or blocking vents does not decrease your energy use and should not be done. Period.
With that in mind, you should go around your home and make sure none of your vents are closed or blocked by furniture and/or other objects. If you want to improve air movement around your home, you should also open any closed doors around your house.
Call CHOICE Heating & Air Conditioning today to check that your furnace, heat pump or boiler are all working effectively. HVAC systems that are regularly maintained will last longer. Why? Tune-ups are designed to ensure optimum performance and to spot potential failures. When a part fails, the system is under undue strain. The strain causes other parts to work harder and, in turn, damages them as well. Don't wait for the system to fail.