If it seems that some of the rooms in your home are comfortable while others are too cool, too warm or stuffy, it could be your air returns. Most homeowners don’t really think about the air ducts; as long as your HVAC system seems to be functioning, all is OK. In reality, it could be that inadequate return air ducting is the reason your home isn’t quite as comfortable as you would like.
For the air in your home to feel consistent and comfortable in every room, it is necessary that stale air is drawn out of the room so that heated supply air can enter the room. This is why it is desirable that air returns are placed in all major rooms, such as the living room, bedrooms and kitchen.
When return air ducts are located only in one or two rooms, the newly heated air coming in to your home has to force through the air in all of the rooms, making your HVAC system work harder. This also means an inconsistency in temperatures throughout your home.
We know that you don’t give these details much thought; we simply want you to be aware that air returns are essential to your family’s comfort, and to your HVAC system working as efficiently as possible.
If your home is lacking in return air ducts, consider having more installed. Avoid placing furniture over air returns, or blocking them with wall coverings or other items if located in the wall. Also, consider having a professional check your return air ducts for air leaks and proper air flow. You will save on energy costs, and your family will remain comfortable no matter what room they are in.
T.F. O’Brien services the Long Island, New York area. We strive to educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). You can find more information about air returns and other HVAC topics by downloading our free Home Comfort Resource guide.