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Everything there is to Know about HVAC Vent Covers

They might not seem like much and often times might even go unnoticed, but vents and vent covers play an important role in your home’s heating and/or cooling system.  While some might see vent covers as just an eyesore to their home’s décor, they can actually cause much more serious problems if they’re not maintained properly.

How Vents Work

Depending on the type of HVAC system you have, you will likely have two kinds of vents in your home – supply and return. Supply vents heat or cool the air in your home while return vents get the air back to the system to continue regulating the temperature inside your home.

Return vents are either centrally located in the home or dispersed throughout in every room. An optimal system will have vents in every room to maintain an even temperature throughout the home. These vents are usually placed on interior walls close to the ceiling; they control the air pressure and flow throughout your house.

Like return vents, all rooms should have a supply register vent as well. These passageways enable the air from your HVAC system to flow to the rooms and change the temperature to your desired setting which is regulated by your thermostat. These types of vents are usually found on outer walls, under windows, or on the floor. These supply vents should be placed away from return vents, as to not recirculate old air.

Vent Covers

All of your supply and return vents should be fitted with a cover, otherwise known as registers and grilles. These covers often have additional filtration abilities and come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles to fit your home’s décor.

Regardless of the type and style of your vent system, a clean vent is necessary to maintain good air quality in your home. Professionals recommend that you have your air ducts and vents cleaned once a year. The average cost in the US is around $327, a small price to pay for healthy air in your home.

If you live in a “high-traffic” home, have a lot of pets, or are located in an area with bad air quality, you might want to consider some personal cleaning measures in-between visits from a professional vent cleaner.

Maintaining your Vent Covers

Vents in the floor might be among the dirtiest as it’s easier for dirt and debris to fall into these. If your vent covers are metal, you can easily unscrew them and run through the dishwasher. Just be sure to temporarily cover your vent while you do this so as to not let dirt and objects fall in which can cause damage to the system. Vinyl or wood covers should be cleaned manually with the proper cleaning solutions for its material.

Like floor vents, baseboard vents are high-traffic areas that collect a lot of dust. Start by vacuuming around the area to remove built-up dust then follow the steps above. Note: in older homes, baseboard covers may not be removable; in this case, use a washcloth and hot water to clean the cover.

For wall vents that are standard sizes, it might be a good idea to simply replace your vent cover on a yearly or bi-yearly basis. They are usually affordable and easy to find at HVAC supply houses like US Air Conditioning Distributors or through your HVAC technician.

Your vents and vent covers play an important role in your home’s HVAC system. They require proper care and regular maintenance like other areas of your home. Don’t forget these tips to keep them looking and working their best!