When you think about your home’s ductwork, you probably picture the supply registers that deliver heated or cooled air. It’s important to know that the return air ducts play an equally vital role in keeping your HVAC system operating efficiently and reliably, so it can do it’s job of maintaining your comfort.
The Purpose of the Return Ducts
The return ducts are in place to provide a continuous supply of air whenever your HVAC system is running. Air is drawn in through the return registers and travels through the system’s air filter to trap harmful debris particles, then it’s heated or cooled and sent out through the supply ducts to keep your home comfortable.
How Many Return Ducts Are Needed?
It’s not unusual for homes with older HVAC systems to have an ample number of supply ducts, but only one centrally-located return duct on each floor. Today, it’s understood that each supply duct needs a nearby return duct to keep airflow balanced and maintain neutral pressure inside a home. If your HVAC system doesn’t have sufficient return airflow, you can experience problems such as:
- Unbalanced pressure that draws in pollutants and allergens that can degrade your indoor air quality.
- A decline in your HVAC system’s energy efficiency with a corresponding rise in operating costs.
- Extra wear and strain on your HVAC equipment, which can cause more frequent breakdowns and premature component failures.
How to Maintain Good Airflow Through the HVAC System
There are a number of steps you can take to ensure ample airflow through your HVAC system. First, have an HVAC professional inspect and tighten up your ductwork if it’s warranted. Check your air filter once a month and replace it when there’s any visible dirt build up. Dust or vacuum your supply and return registers regularly, avoid closing registers in seldom-used rooms, and remove any obstacles that block airflow through the return ducts, like long drapes, area rugs or furniture.
For expert help determining if you have the right number of return air ducts in your Grand Traverse County home, contact us at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas 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 231-714-6196.
Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Serenethos/Shutterstock”