When was the last time you cleaned your heating, ventilation and cooling system’s (HVAC’s) return vents? Also known as return grilles, they are essential to your HVAC system’s operations.
Whether you have a furnace and an air conditioner or a heat pump, air must travel through your home so that your HVAC system can cool or warm it. Your HVAC system will draw this air through the return vents, at which point it will warm or cool the air. Your HVAC system will then send this newly conditioned air into the ductwork where it’s distributed throughout your home via supply vents. You can maintain return vents by following these tips.
Check for Obstructions
At least once a year, check your HVAC system’s return vents for obstructions. Obstructions will restrict or prevent air from being sucked into the return vents. Maybe there’s a sofa in front of a return vent, or perhaps there’s a wall decorating covering a return vent. Obstructions such as these should be removed so that air can travel into the ductwork and, thus, reach your HVAC system’s equipment.
Return vents require cleaning. Due to their design, they are a haven for dust. Supply vents are designed to push conditioned air out of the ductwork and into your home. Return vents, conversely, are designed to pull unconditioned air into the ductwork. As air is drawn into the ductwork, dust and other forms of airborne debris will collect on the return vents.
You can easily clean return vents. Make sure your HVAC system is turned off, after which you can use a dust or wand attachment on a vacuum cleaner to clean the return vents When finished, use a lint-free cloth to clean any remaining dust.
You may need to tighten the fasteners on the return vents. Return vents are typically installed with fasteners like bolts. Over time, these fasteners can work their way out of the holes in which they were driven. And if a return vent has loose fasteners, it may leak.
Leaking return vents will struggle to provide your HVAC system with a sufficient amount of air. Rather than entering the ductwork, some of the air will leak around the sides of the return vents and into the walls, attic or crawlspace.
Using a screwdriver or wrench, go around your home while tightening any loose fasteners on the return vents. Ensuring all of the fasteners are tight will protect the return vents from leaks.