The AC system has many components that need to work in harmony to remove the heat from our homes. One of the more important and least understood parts is the return vent. In this article, we will take a closer look at the return vent and how it affects your home.
A Brief Primer on AC Return Vents
The air conditioning return vent is a pretty simple component, but it’s an essential part of the entire system. The return vent is designed to draw indoor air from a room and push it out to the blower compartment. The removed air is then cooled before it’s returned to the home and distributed via the ductwork system and/or vents. This system works in a circulatory manner. The cycle will continue to maintain the home at the temperature set on the thermostat. The optimal location for an AC return vent is the area of a room that tends to get the best airflow. This will make the process easier and the cooler air will flow more efficiently throughout the home. If the return vent is blocked, it can cause a number of problems that will degrade performance or even cause damage to other components.
3 Key AC Return Air Vent Benefits Explained
There are three main air conditioner air vent benefits that we will explore in more detail here. They are:
1. The Maintenance of Air Pressure
The easiest way to think about the operation of an HVAC system is that it’s circulatory in nature. Essentially, it’s a recirculating pump system that moves warmth out of the air to cool it in the case of air conditioning and it distributes heated air when the weather turns colder. Air tends to travel to areas where it will encounter the least resistance and that’s why it’s crucial to seal around doors, windows, and attic areas where air can escape. The return air vents are an easier location for the travel of air, they pull the air in and then direct it back into the AC system. When the air pressure is maintained and the airflow is improved the entire AC system works more efficiently.
2. Reducing Energy Bills
In these trying times, most people are trying to lower their costs to save money and energy bill costs always seem to rise. The best way to lower your energy bills is to make your home more energy efficient by preventing air leaks. When the ductwork is correctly sealed and there are adequate levels of insulation, you can make a real difference. If you want to maximize your energy savings, contact your local heating and cooling specialist and ask about an energy audit for your home.
3. Improving Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Even the cleanest homes have a certain level of dust present on surfaces and in the air. When sunlight shines through your windows, you may notice the dust circling in the air. These airborne particulates are not limited to dust. There could be other contaminants present, including dirt, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and more. If you have a clean air filter, some of these contaminants will be captured there because the air circulates through the filter multiple times per day. Switching to a high-efficiency air filter can trap more, but there is a tradeoff because extra power is needed to force the air through the smaller filter pores. Removing debris from the air will improve the IAQ and it will protect sensitive components, such as the compressor and the blower motor unit. Keeping the AC return air vent clear will help with this process because it promotes efficient airflow throughout the home.
Potential AC Return Vent Problems
The main indicator that there is a problem with an AC return vent is a lack of cooled air at the vent. In certain cases, you may notice that the room doesn’t seem to be cooling as normal. There are other possible causes of a lack of cooling but the return vent may be the culprit. As we mentioned above, the return vent must be kept clear of obstructions to work efficiently. But, if the area looks clean and clear there could be a problem with the vent that needs to be fixed by your local heating and cooling specialist. If you own pets, it’s worth bearing in mind that the AC return vents are very attractive areas for sleeping when it’s warm outdoors.
5 Ways to Keep the AC Return Vent Working Efficiently
It’s important to keep the AC return vents working at optimal efficiency. Here are five ways that you make a real difference. They are:
- If you have a cat, keep their little box away from the AC return vent. The best solution is to place it on a different wall that’s well away from the area.
- If the room where the AC unit is located has a ceiling fan, turn it off. The fan could push the treated air around too much and this can degrade the performance of your AC system.
- Try to keep children’s furniture and toys away from the AC unit fan areas. This is especially true if they are not on wheels because they can drop into the vent and block the airflow.
- Keep power cords away from the AC return vent.
- Keep the return vent areas clean and free from clutter.
The AC system absorbs the warm air and the moisture in the air and moves it outside and away from your home. This makes the home feel cooler and less humid and the return air vents bring the treated air back indoors. This air recycling is crucial to make the entire system work efficiently and if the vents are blocked it can cause problems. Remember that the key to avoiding many potential problems with your HVAC system is to keep the air flowing. If you’ve taken steps to keep the return vents clear and there are still cooling problems, it’s time to call your local heating and cooling specialist.