Keep Your Vents Open and Clear of Clutter – Air Conditioning Appreciation Days
Trying everything to stay cool in these summer temperatures? Check your vents! Keeping the vents throughout your home or building unobstructed is not only important in keeping you comfortable, but also in keeping your AC system running efficiently.
There are two kinds of vents, supply and return vents. Supply vents bring conditioned air to the room, while the return vents suck in the hot air and send it back to the unit to be cooled. If either kind of vent is blocked, it can disrupt the proper airflow balance for the system, causing your system to work inefficiently or even break down.
Reduction in Return Air
In an air conditioning system, cold refrigerant runs through evaporator coils. The warm air passes over the evaporator coils and the refrigerant absorbs the heat from the air. This process lowers the temperature of the air which is then sent through the duct work to supply cool air to a room.
If the amount of airflow being returned to the system is limited, there may not be enough air moving over the evaporator coils and they could freeze.
Reduction in airflow could be caused by clogged filters in the return ducts, which is a good reason to check and change your filters regularly. Airflow can also be restricted if things are blocking the return vents in your building. Furniture, plants, curtains, etc. should not be sitting directly in front of return vents.
Reduction in Supply Air
Occasionally, people want to close off their supply vents in rooms that are not being used as a way to reduce energy costs. However, closing too many of these vents could not only increase your energy use but also cause additional problems to your system.
When a vent is closed, the air backs up into the system and tries to go through a different portion of the duct system. However, the duct system was built a certain size for the system and can only handle a certain amount of air at a time. Pushing too much air through a duct system can cause excess pressure in the duct work which in turn can cause holes and leaks to form in the system. If there are rooms that will remain unoccupied, talk to your mechanical contractor about making changes to your duct work.
Objects in front of the supply vents will prevent cool air from entering the room, which will obviously make the room feel warmer. So, keep your vents clear in order to feel the results of your system operating. This will prevent you from spending additional money due to working the system harder than necessary.