Should Air Vents be High or Low?
Air vent placement isn’t something homeowners think about unless there’s an issue or they’re building or remodeling. But where the vents are located affects how well your home heats and cools.
Let’s discuss the types of air vents in your home, pros and cons of their placement location, and whether it does matter in the scheme of things.
Air Supply Register and Return Grill Basics
Every HVAC system relies on air vents to deliver conditioned air to a home effectively and with relative ease.
How do supply and return vents work?
The supply vents send or deliver conditioned air from the HVAC unit into the home through a network of ducts. You’ll know it’s a supply air vent if you hold your hand in front of it and feel air blowing out.
Return air vents pull the used or flat air from the home and return it to the HVAC system to be reconditioned. Most of these vents are larger than a supply vent and have a grill installed over the opening. Since returns pull air in, you may notice dust, hair, and fur collect on the grill over time. Make sure to keep it clean so the air flow isn’t impeded.
Each room should have a supply and return vent
Because the supply and return vents work together to circulate the air, every room should have at least one supply and one return. While some homebuilders opt to not install a return and instead leave a gap at the bottom of the door, we recommend having a return installed.
Where the vents are located in each room goes into the larger discussion topic, but for optimal comfort, supplies should be on outer walls and under windows. A return should be across the room on an interior wall. If the vents are too close to one another, the conditioned air is pulled into the return before it properly circulates and warms or cools the room.
For the best air circulation in a room, keep this in mind:
- Don’t block the vents with furniture, drapes, curtains, rugs, or other household objects; and
- Leave the supply vents open in every room, to avoid increasing the air pressure inside the ducts.
What’s the Difference Between Registers and Grills?
An air register is the cover to a supply vent and has moveable flaps or a damper to control the amount of airflow and direction. A grill, as mentioned, usually covers the return vent and has stationary slats which can collect things floating in the air.
Floor Vent Pros
Since heat naturally rises, homes that prioritize heating often use floor vents. Other benefits include:
- Blend into decor: Floor vents can blend in with the home’s decor because of their general contemporary look.
- Give back ceiling space: Using floor vents is a good way to regain ceiling space in homes with flat ceilings or that need plenty of ductwork
Floor Vent Cons
On the other hand, floor vents have drawbacks, such as:
- Not aesthetically pleasing: Most floor vents are painted metal, usually the same color as the doors and trim. If the paint chips, the vent may stick out like a sore thumb.
- Sudden noise: Unless floor vents are properly installed, they may rattle and make noise when the HVAC fan starts and while blowing air through the ducts.
Ceiling Vent Pros
Homes in warmer climates, such as southern parts of the United States, usually prioritize cooling. Other benefits of ceiling vents include:
- Appearance: Ceiling vents take up less space than floor vents and are easier to blend into your home’s decor. Plus, their higher location means most people won’t notice them after a while.
- Effective cooling: Because ceiling vents have less airflow resistance, they deliver cool, conditioned air more quickly and with slightly more efficiency.
Ceiling Vent Cons
Drawbacks to ceiling vents include:
- Inefficient heating: Since heat rises, it won’t effectively sink to the living area. The blower fan in the HVAC system won’t be able to compensate for this natural occurrence.
- Reduced airflow: Homes with low ceilings or short ductwork connecting between the furnace and overheat vents can have up to 15% less airflow. This causes a reduction in heat transfer.
It all depends on your personal needs
Ultimately, where the air vents are located in your home comes down to your personal needs and preferences. Keeping the vents near the center of a room does help the HVAC system efficiently and effectively deliver conditioned air. But whether they’re on the floor or the ceiling is up to you. You can improve the indoor air flow by replacing the air filter every two to three months, and scheduling regular HVAC tune-ups.
There’s no perfect place for air vent placement other than where they provide you with the most warm or cool air in your home. Call Proskill today to schedule an HVAC tune-up appointment.