Air vents fall under the “ventilation” category of heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems. They work in conjunction with the ductwork to move air through homes. Furnaces and air conditioning systems will create conditioned air. Air vents, on the other hand, help to circulate air.
When inspecting your home’s HVAC system, though, you may notice that return vents are only installed in some rooms. Each room may have one or more supply vents, but some of them may lack return vents. So, are return vents needed in every room?
The Basics of Return Vents
Return vents live up to their namesake by returning indoor air back to the HVAC system. Air vents can be classified as either return or supply depending in the direction in which they circulate air. Air circulates out of supply vents, whereas air circulates into return vents. In other words, air from the surrounding room is sucked into return vents where it’s then transferred back to the air conditioning system and furnace.
Problems Caused By an Insufficient Number of Return Vents
You may notice problems with your HVAC system if it features an insufficient number of return vents. Both furnaces and air conditioning systems rely on return vents to create conditioned air. Air must blow over each of these systems in order for them to create conditioned air. As a result, an insufficient number of return vents may result in less heating and cooling power.
A frozen evaporator coil may indicate an insufficient number of return vents. The evaporator coil contains coolant. Normally, warm air will pass over the evaporator coil where the heat is then transferred to the coolant. With an insufficient number of return vents, the coolant will remain ice-cold, which may cause it to freeze inside of the evaporator coil.
Return Vents Typically Aren’t Needed in Every Room
While an insufficient number of return vents can cause various problems, they typically aren’t needed in every room. Having at least one return vent in every room is certainly ideal, as it helps to regulate the indoor air pressure. As long as there are return vents in most rooms, though, it shouldn’t have a negative impact on your HVAC system.
If you’re worried about an insufficient number of return vents causing problems, you may want to get more of them installed in your home. Return vents are relatively easy to install. A professional HVAC technician can add more return vents to your home to improve airflow and circulation.