Return Air Ducts: Why They Are Vital For Your Central AC

Living in a house that will not cool off in the summer can be miserable and may cause you to believe that your air conditioning system is not working properly. While this could be the cause of a hot house, problems with the AC may not be the problem at all. This problem might be caused by issues with the return air vent system in your home, and here are three things you need to know about this.

What Is A Return Air Vent System For?

With central air, the cool air is made in the AC unit and is sent through ducts located in your walls and floors. As the cool air passes through the ducts, it is pushed into the rooms through register vents, and this is what makes a house cool.

When this happens, it fills a room with extra air, which means that the existing air in the room needs to go somewhere. This is where the return air vent system comes into play. The warmer air in the room should exit the room as cooler air enters, and this should take place through the return air vents.

If the system is working properly, the warmer air is pushed out of the room through the return air vents and is sent back to the AC unit. The AC unit then takes this warmer air, conditions it to make it cooler, and sends it into the rooms in the home.

What Happens When A House Doesn't Have A Sufficient Return Air System?

When the process of cooling a house is disturbed, several problems can arise. The main problem is that the AC system might not be able to cool the house off enough, but here are some of the other issues that can occur:

  • AC unit will cycle on and off – This unit will sense from the thermostat that it should be running and it will kick on to meet these demands. The system may soon shut off though because it is not receiving the airflow it needs to keep running. This process will continuously happen over and over, and it could cause the AC unit to wear out prematurely.
  • Drafts – In some cases, an AC unit will pull air from other areas just to get the air it needs to run. If your AC unit is in the basement, it may pull air from leaky windows located in the basement, or it might pull air from the main floor of your home.
  • Moisture buildup – This problem can also lead to a buildup of moisture in areas of your home because of the decreased airflow.

If you believe that your home may have issues with the return air vents, you should contact an HVAC repair company. They will be able to solve this problem for you.

How Is This Fixed?

An HVAC technician will usually begin looking for a solution by analyzing the setup of the system. The technician will look at where the supply vents are located in the rooms, and he or she will look for return air vents.

Some homes have only one central return air vent. If your home has only one vent, the technician will suggest adding more return air vents. Having one return air vent in each room is ideal; however, many HVAC companies will avoid putting them in bathrooms and kitchens because of the smells in these rooms.

Adding more vents generally involves cutting into the walls or ceilings in order to install vents from the rooms to the system, but this is usually the only way to solve this problem.

If you would like to learn more about return air vents, or if you would like to schedule an appointment for HVAC services, call a company that offers these services today.