Reasons You Shouldn’t Block Cold Air Returns

Reasons You Shouldn't Block Cold Air ReturnsProper air distribution is vital to your HVAC system’s performance, efficiency and reliability. It’s not obvious, but air distribution through a central HVAC system is divided up into two distinct sides, with supply registers and cold air returns. You may already know that the supply registers should be unobstructed, but it’s just as important keep the cold air returns unblocked too.

What’s the Purpose of a Cold Air Return?

How the return air portion of your HVAC system works isn’t as obvious as the supply side that pumps out conditioned air. It’s not complicated though: cold, stale air gets drawn in through the return registers, it passes through the system’s air filter where potentially-harmful particles are trapped, then it’s delivered to the HVAC equipment to be reconditioned.

Why Unobstructed Cold Air Returns Matter

Newer HVAC systems may have multiple return registers per floor, but older systems often have supply registers in every room, but only one return register on each level. If that’s the case in your home, blocking that register can compromise your HVAC system’s airflow and cause serious issues like:

  • A pressure imbalance that pulls pollutants into your air supply from unfinished spaces.
  • A decline in efficiency with a corresponding rise in energy consumption and utility costs.
  • Unnecessary strain on your HVAC system components that can cause breakdowns and shorten their lifespan.
  • Less conditioned air output from the supply registers, resulting in poor humidity and temperature control and a loss of comfort.

Tips to Maintain Sufficient HVAC System Airflow

Making sure your return registers don’t get blocked by household items like furniture, rugs, long drapes and children’s toys is essential to maintain ample airflow in your HVAC system. You can also:

  • Vacuum all the registers frequently so dust and debris doesn’t build up.
  • Check the HVAC air filter once a month and replace it when there’s any visible dirt accumulation.
  • Keep all of your supply registers open and always leave the doors open to seldom-used rooms.

If you have questions or concerns about the cold air returns in your Long Island home, contact us today at Cool Power.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hauppauge, New York and the Long Island area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about blocking cold air returns and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 631-292-0629.