The vents that pump out conditioned air throughout your home likely come to mind when you consider HVAC air distribution. The cold air returns are just as important, though, and making sure that they're free from obstructions is vital to keeping your entire HVAC system operating reliably and efficiently.
The Purpose of Your Cold Air Returns
The return registers draw stale air into the ductwork, where it's pulled through the filter to capture dust and debris and then delivered back to the HVAC equipment for reconditioning. However, the most important function of the cold air return registers is ensuring ample airflow through the HVAC system.
Dangers of Blocked Cold Air Registers
It used to be common for forced-air HVAC systems to have supply vents in every room, but only one return vent on each floor. If your HVAC system is designed this way, blocking off a single return vent can wreak havoc on the system and lead to:
- Pressure imbalances that let allergens and pollutants get pulled into your air supply from unconditioned areas.
- A drop in HVAC equipment efficiency, which results in an increase in energy consumption and operating costs.
- Additional strain and wear on the HVAC components, making them more vulnerable to breakdowns or a premature failure.
- A decline in output from the supply registers, which makes staying comfortable more difficult.
Tips to Prevent Airflow Issues in Your HVAC System
Keeping your cold air return registers unobstructed is the first step in maintaining proper airflow through your HVAC system. Make sure that the return vents are never blocked by furniture, area rugs, long drapes, large toys or other household items. Additionally, vacuum or dust the vent covers periodically to remove any collected debris. To promote good airflow you should also:
- Check the system's air filter monthly and replace it as needed.
- Avoid closing doors to infrequently-used rooms or shutting any supply registers.
- Get your HVAC system assessed to see it has enough cold air return registers.
If you have questions or concerns about your Fort Wayne home's cold air returns, contact us at Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about cold air returns and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 260-376-2961.