Return Air Vents for Furnace Efficiency
Correctly sized return air vents are necessary for furnace efficiency as well as for home comfort. Forced air furnaces are designed to recirculate the air in a home. Air that has started to cool is pulled back through the vent and into the heat exchanger where it is warmed and returned to the home through floor registers or ceiling vents. If the return vent is too small, the airflow is restricted making it harder to keep the home at a comfortable temperature.
In older homes, return air vents were often placed in several locations. However, with newer, high efficiency heating and air conditioning systems, the home often has a single return air vent. This vent is normally located in a central location with easy access to the furnace unit.
In new construction, the HVAC professional should install a correctly sized return vent. This will ensure the new high efficiency HVAC unit works correctly for many years. Vents are available in several different materials and colors to match the interior of the new home.
Once the air passes through the vent to return to the furnace, it passes through a large duct and then filter before entering the heat exchanger. It is important that homeowners take the initiative to keep the filter changed regularly. Keeping the filter clean provides cleaner air in the home and protects the heating and cooling coils from the collection of dust. Regular maintenance by a HVAC professional is necessary for best operation of the system.
The return vent should be cleaned and dusted regularly. Often dust will collect on the vent over time. If this dust is not removed, moisture can build up in the dust and lead to rust. The problem is made worse in homes where occupants cook most foods by frying. In addition to dust, cooking fats from the air may be deposited on the grill. Homeowners can improve the looks of the home by replacing older return vents that have started to rust.
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