Where Should Cold Air Returns Be Located In Basement?

Cold air return is one of the key components of your HVAC system. Knowing the right place to install it will determine your house's overall thermal comfort. So where exactly should I put the cold air return in the basement? Wonder no more because we have the answer below!

Generally, the cold air return needs to be on the ground of your basement, not the ceiling. This is because cold air is much denser than hot air; cold air loves to be on the floor.

The return air duct outlets on your house's upper floor should also match your supply ducts. Doing so will help the HVAC system serve your home with sufficient airflow.

Hang tight! We know you've got a lot of follow-up queries in your mind. This post covers the air vent's ideal sizes, the consequences of insufficient return vents in your home, and more. With that said, let's dive right in!

Basement with pipes and ventilation tubes, Where Should Cold Air Returns Be Located In Basement?

Are Air Return Vents Important?

Your HVAC system needs air return vents to function correctly. They are responsible for removing air from the house and bringing it back into the system.

Air return vents also cleanse and help in keeping cozy temperatures all over your home. Additionally, they aid in removing extra moisture from the air, keeping your house from feeling sticky or damp.

What Size Should An Air Return Be?

Usually, an air return vent's ideal size is around 16 by 20 inches. In contrast, a supply vent is typically four by 10 to 12 inches.

Homes typically have two or even more supply return collecting outlets with filters that connect before returning to the heating unit.

Can An Air Return Be Too Big?

An air return vent cannot be too large unless there are extreme cases, like when a closed space is suddenly experiencing negative air pressure.

Any HVAC system needs return vents to maintain the area's air pressure, remove debris, and operate effectively.

HVAC Return Air Wall Register Vent

Should Supply And Return Ducts Be The Same Size?

Return ducts are often larger than the supply air ducts to ensure your space has a balance and efficient airflow. Your return ducts should be larger because your system usually has more supply ducts than return vents.

Thus, an equal balance airflow is necessary.

Do I Need An Air Return Vent In Every Room?

Modern house rules are increasingly requiring the presence of air return vents in every room of the house. You only need one return air vent on each floor or a significant portion of the house.

The return vent should centrally link to draw air from every part of the area effectively.

What Happens If There's Not Enough Air Return Vents In A House?

Your HVAC system needs enough return air to operate correctly. A lack of air vent strains the system and increases the risk of freezing your evaporator coils.

This issue occurs when the heat transfer is prevented from reaching the evaporator system.

Is It Okay To Put A Cover On An Air Return Vent?

You must never really cover your air return vent to ensure optimal airflow in your space. Keep the openings away from drapes, curtains, and furniture by about 10 feet.

Moreover, keeping the space in front of your air return vents unobstructed is crucial. Otherwise, your air system will run less efficiently and requires more energy.

In addition to raising costs, this might wear down your system earlier than intended. As a result, your system demands a costly repair or, worst, damaging the whole system.

Male placing a paper cover over part of an air return intake vent to increase air return in another vent

Vent Cover And Vent Register Distinctive Functions

Functionality divides a vent cover from a vent register. The ability to change the airflow route or wholly or partially close the vent using dampers.

It's a tiny lever that can switch back and forth and is only available on vent registers. Even though both functions to keep larger pieces of debris from accessing your air ducts while enabling proper airflow.

The Main Difference Between The Supply Vents And Return Air Vents

There are two different vents on your basements if your house has central heating and cooling.

Supply Air Vents

Air vents that push cold air into each room of your house are called supply vents. The conditioned air leaves your HVAC unit through the ducts and exits to the supply vents.

You can easily recognize these vents as this typically found on the walls or ceiling in your house.

Return Air Vents

What exactly are return vents? These vents draw air from every room and return it to the heating or cooling system. The air pressure in the room is raised when an HVAC system supplies air to it.

Moreover, you won't be able to feel air coming through return vents because they are often larger than supply vents. Return vents are usually found underneath the floorboard, but it also depends on the settings of your ductwork system.

What Happens If You Block A Return Air Vent?

The air pressure is altered when vents are closed in a system. No sensor in your HVAC system can inform it when the vents are closed. Furthermore, it will continue to send the same air volume in that direction.

Your ducts are likely to develop leaks as a result of higher pressure inside of them, which will raise your energy bills and reduce energy efficiency. This will also shorten your HVAC system's lifespan due to overheating.

Does An Return Air Vent Need A Filter?

Generally, every return air vent should have an air filter. The filters will protect the HVAC system from air particles such as dust, pollen, pet dander, and hair. Having a filter will also enhance the air quality in your home.

Man cleaning air ducts in home

Most HVAC specialists say to clean your air filter every 90 days. If you have a pet in your house, it's best to replace it every 60 days.

NOTE: Consulting your HVAC technician will help you determine the ideal filter that fits your need.

Check out this air vent filter on Amazon.

How Do I Know If My Air Return Vent Is Working Properly?

You can use this easy test to see if the return air vent is functioning since it draws air from a room and pushes it back into its ducts.

  • Hold tissue or a thin paper in front of your return air vent.
  • When you see the paper being carried away in the direction of the vent, you know it is serving its purpose.

Benefits Of A Return Air Vent

What else you could ask for than having an HVAC system that works properly. They maintain a suitable temperature in your house or even in your working place.

There are three main benefits of properly operating return vents; it includes as follows:

It Maintains Good Air Quality

Your home is prone to accumulating allergens like dust, pollen, and pet dander. When your HVAC unit absorbs air, it will also capture extra dirt to maintain the air quality in your home.

Furthermore, it's essential to have an air vent to ensure your home has adequate air ventilation. A home with proper ventilation improves air quality and lowers air particles flow in your house.

A filty dirty air duct

Regulates Air Pressure

An HVAC system is a looping pump that circulates heated or cooled air inside a house. The existing air in the home needs a place to exit as conditioned air is pumped in.

Return air vents help to draw air in and reintroduce it to the system for this function. This is what keeps a home's air pressure at a healthy level.

Reduces Power Bills

Your duct is one among many major systems in your house, and it must be leak-free to be effective. Leaking air ducts in your home can lead to your power bills surging.

Ensuring every leak-free vent in your home will determine how power efficient your house is.

To Wrap Things Up

Basement with pipes and ventilation tubes

Both return air vents and supply vent is essential in your house. These vents always serve your adequate home air and maintain it to its highest quality.

It's our pleasure to share this vital information, such as where you should find your cold return. In addition, we've also shared with you what size should your air return be and other helpful topics.

We're optimistic that leaving you all of this knowledge will help you keep your house comfortable and power efficient.

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related posts below:

Noisy Air Return Vent? Here's What To Do

How To Install A Return Air Duct In Your Ceiling

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