Every homeowner must understand a few things about their HVAC system for it to serve them well. Regular maintenance goes a long way in ensuring that the air conditioner is in good shape. This is the secret to having a system that works for you without forcing you to incur many expenses at any particular time. However, there are several components in the air conditioning unit that one must pay close attention to. One of these is the vent system.
In many homes, a popular vent system is the return vents that can either be placed in every room or located centrally. Most of the time, they are located high off the ground on the interior side of the wall. Return vents help control the air pressure and airflow throughout the house. Seeing how functional these vents can be, one must understand the installation process to get it right and minimize the potential for constant repairs in the future. Read on to discover the details you need to bear in mind when installing return vents.
Figure Out the Possible Places to Fix the Ducts
Return vents are meant to help suck back the air into the system. This may push some people to imagine that having them located near supply vents would be ideal. While this is my work, it is not necessarily feasible or suitable. HVAC experts discourage putting return vents in bathrooms and kitchens. To filter easy odors out, installing return vents in the kitchen and bathrooms can be disastrous. This may mean re-circulating smells in the kitchen and bathroom, which is not something you want happening.
It even gets complicated when a two-story building is involved. Experts would advise homeowners always to follow the rule of thumb to have the return vents installed close to the thermostat. This is because most thermostats are often centrally placed within the home. Additionally, it gives the thermostat a better chance of adequately monitoring the circulating air temperature, which is much more critical.
Consider Balancing the Return Air
Consider having dampers installed on both the supply and return vents. This is how you can get the most out of the vent system. Have the HVAC technician come in and do this after the initial installation process is done. All you have to ensure is that you have adequate access to the ducts located in the crawlspace, attic, or basement. Dampers are helpful since they allow you to choke down a room located close to the vents since they are likely to suck in most of the air due to their proximity to the vent. Choking them down allows for better air circulation to the rest of the house. Some people also use grill covers to minimize or open the airflow.
Look into the Duct Size
The location of the ducts makes a huge difference. However, they are not the only determinant of how effective this system works. You also have to look at the duct size and HVAC system size. Please make sure you choose a duct size that matches the HVAC system size to avoid overworking either of them. Working with a professional HVAC professional is advised when determining the correct dimensions.
In most cases, a 12-inch return vent is best when installing one or two vents in a unit that is 2-ton or less. You need a 14-inch duct if the unit is 3 tons, and 16-inch vents work best when the unit is 4 tons and above. 5-ton units would need vents that are 18-inches and more.
Ease of Cleaning
Note that the vents need to be clean at all-time for them to serve you best. They are likely to affect the quality of air in your house and, as such, may affect your energy bills at the end of the month. When choosing the return vents that are ideal for your home, consider their cleaning requirements. You need to have better and easier access to the vents once they are installed. This should allow you to do regular cleaning during your maintenance practices.
It should also be easy for the professional HVAC technician to come in when conducting regular tune-up sessions. Your return vents should not be located in a place that would be cumbersome to get to for cleaning. Note that leaving the ducts dirty is one of the easiest ways to let in allergens and other disease-causing organisms that can affect your health.
Installing return vents in your home can be an easy and cheap way to regulate the temperature in your home. However, it is not the easiest way to achieve this if you are not keen on sizing and location. Since all these are not easy to master, have an HVAC professional or contractor come in and assess the situation. They are likely to advise you on whether or not a return vent would benefit your home. No one wants to make an investment that will bring no value. You can avoid making such costly mistakes by having professional guidance from the start.