The supply registers that pump out conditioned air are probably the most noticeable component of your ductwork system. You may not know that the other side of the system — the return air ducts — play just as big a role in keeping your heating and cooling system performing reliably and efficiently. Once you know how the return ducts function, you’ll find it easier to maintain a comfortable, healthy home environment.
What Do the Return Ducts Do?
The return ducts are necessary to maintain a continuous flow of air through the HVAC system whenever the thermostat calls for heating or cooling. Air that’s pulled in through the return registers gets drawn through the filter to remove airborne debris, then it’s heated or cooled and pushed out through the supply ducts to the different rooms in your home.
Why the Correct Amount of Return Airflow Matters
It’s quite common for older HVAC systems to have supply ducts running to each room, but only a single return register on each level of a home. Well-designed, modern ductwork systems have a return register placed near each supply register to maintain balanced airflow and neutral pressure in the home. Inadequate return airflow can have serious and costly consequences such as:
- Pressure imbalances that pull in allergens and pollutants that erode air quality.
- A decrease in the HVAC equipment’s efficiency, which makes heating and cooling costs increase.
- Added strain on HVAC system components that can result in frequent repairs and shorter equipment lifespan.
How to Ensure Ample Airflow Through the HVAC System
Your HVAC professional is the best source of advice on how to optimize your system’s airflow, but you can start with these basic steps:
- Schedule a semi-annual system inspection, cleaning and tuneup.
- Have the ductwork cleaned, sealed and insulated.
- Check the air filter monthly and replace when you see any evidence of debris.
- Avoid closing registers in seldom-used rooms.
- Clean your registers regularly, and make sure they’re not blocked by furniture or other household items.
To learn whether the return air ducts in your Coastal Bend home are performing properly, contact us today at CCAC.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 361-678-2495.
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