Why You Shouldn’t Block Cold Air Returns

Why You Shouldn’t Block Cold Air ReturnsWhen you think of HVAC air distribution in your home, you probably picture the registers where conditioned air comes out and you may not even think of the return portion. Your cold air returns are the visible part of this portion, and it’s essential to keep them unblocked by any obstructions so your HVAC system can operate efficiently and reliably.

Understanding How Cold Air Returns Function

The return side that makes up half of your air distribution system serves some key purposes. Stale air gets drawn in through the return registers, then it’s pulled through the air filter to trap any debris and delivered to the HVAC equipment where it’s reconditioned. This continuous loop of airflow is vital for your HVAC system to function properly.

Problems Caused by Obstructed Cold Air Registers

Although newer HVAC duct systems have additional returns, many older systems have supply vents in each room and just one return register per floor. If you have this type of system, a single blocked return register can cause serious problems within your HVAC system such as:

  • Unbalanced system pressure that pulls pollutants and allergens into the air supply from unfinished spaces.
  • A loss of HVAC system efficiency and a corresponding rise in its energy usage and operating costs.
  • Added wear and strain on HVAC equipment, which can result in unnecessary repairs or premature component replacements.
  • Less conditioned air output, which causes issues with temperature and humidity control and a decline in comfort.

How to Maintain Good Airflow in Your HVAC System

The first step in maintaining ample airflow is keeping all of your return registers free from any obstructions. This includes furniture, long drapes, area rugs, children’s toys and any other household items. You should also:

  • Vacuum all of your registers regularly to remove accumulated dust and debris.
  • Inspect the HVAC air filter every month and replace it when there’s visible debris.
  • Don’t shut the doors to seldom-used rooms and keep your supply registers open.

If you have concerns or questions about the cold air returns in your Middletown home, contact us at C.R. Wolfe Heating & Air Conditioning.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Middletown, New York about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about cold air returns and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 845-367-4482.

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