Which Vents Should Be Open In Summer?

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Summers are great because you can enjoy a lot of outdoor activities. However, the soaring heat can make your home uncomfortable. Other than using the AC, opening the vents can help cool your home. But, which ones should you open, and why? We researched to bring you the answers. 

To keep your home cool during summer, adjusting the vents is necessary, which is done in the following ways: 

  • Opening your upper vents
  • Closing your lower vents

If you still have some additional questions about opening the vents in summer, don't worry. In this post, we'll discuss the topic in more detail. Continue reading to uncover why you need to open the upper and not the lower vents in your home during summer and the benefits of doing this. 

Mature male peering inside an upper wall white grid air duct on a silver wall near a white ceiling, Which Vents Should Be Open In Summer?

Which Vents Do You Need To Open In Summer? 

Air vents for heating or cooling on the wall

Since hot air rises from the bottom to the top, opening the upper vents is imperative. It lets out the hot air, cooling your home. At the same time, the lower vents need to be closed.

There are two types of ventsreturn vents and supply vents. The return vents pull air out of your home, while the supply vents blow air back into your home. 

Normally, the return air vents are located near the ceiling to let out hot air. They have slatted openings and are much bigger than the supply vents.  

Older homes usually have one large return vent located centrally in the home. If this is the case in your home, open the doors of the rooms for better circulation of air.

Better still, you could have more return vents installed in your home. Ideally, one return vent in each room would be very effective at cooling your home.

But if this is not possible, having two or three return vents strategically located in your home would suffice.

How Can You Identify A Return Vent?

It's important to know the return vents in your home to avoid confusing them with the supply vents. You can do a simple test. Turn on your AC system and hold a piece of paper close to the vent. If the paper gets pulled towards the vent, then it is a return vent.

Similarly, you can identify a supply vent. Turn on the AC system and hold a piece of paper close to the vent. If the paper blows away from the vent, then it is a supply vent.

How Do You Open Or Close The Return Air Vents?

Now that you know how to identify the return air vents, the next step is to open them at the onset of summer.

The steps to follow are:

  1. Take a step ladder and place it under the vent that you plan to open. Lock it into place for a steady balance. 
  2. Climb the ladder until you reach a height comfortable enough to work on the vent. 
  3. Locate the dial or switch that is on the vent. The square or rectangular vents have a switch that is found either on the left or right side of the vent. You open it by moving the switch up or turning it clockwise to open the vent. To close it, move the switch down, or turn it counterclockwise.
  4. Circular vents have dials in the center that are turned to the right to open or to the left to close. 
  5. Repeat the process with all the other vents that need to be opened.

Which Vents Should You Close In Summer?

HVAC Return Air Wall Register Vent

As you open the upper vents, do not forget the lower vents should be closed. As seen earlier in this post, this will allow the hot air to rise and come out through the upper vents to provide a cooling effect.  

Moreover, the upper and lower vents should not be opened at the same time. This is because it will interfere with the proper cooling and heating of the AC system. Additionally, you shouldn't close both vents simultaneously because the air will not circulate.

Benefits Of Opening Your Return Vents In Summer

Static vent installed on a shingle roof for passive attic ventilation

The summer heat can create an uncomfortable environment. But opening the return vent can counteract this, which comes with extra benefits, including:

Comfortable Home

This is the first benefit that you experience. When it's cool, it becomes more comfortable for the occupants in the home during summer.

Save Money

Opening the return air vents allow more airflow, which means the AC system will not have to work too hard. This will help you save on energy bills.

The Risk Of Condensation And Mold Is Reduced

Opening the return vent improves air circulation which subsequently reduces the risk of condensation and mold. If the air condenses, it turns into moisture, which can lead to the growth of mold. Remember, mold can damage your furniture and other items.

So, when you open the return vents, you prevent moisture problems that would otherwise cause a lot of damage.

Even Heating And Cooling Of Your Home

The conditioning will be even in all the rooms when you open the return vents in summer. Thus, some rooms will not be less comfortable than others; they will be equally cool.

How To Maintain Your Vents

Residential HVAC Duct Cleaning with a Power Brush

It is important to have an HVAC professional check your conditioning system at least once a year. And, while it is better for a professional to clean the whole HVAC system, you can clean the vents yourself. 

Tools needed:

  • Gloves
  • Screwdriver (use a suitable one for your type of vent)
  • Vacuum with a hose
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Bucket
  • Soap
  • Duster

Before you begin, switch off the HVAC system. The steps include:

Remove The Vent

You can either pull it off or use a screwdriver to remove it. Place it on the side. 

Get Rid Of Dust From The Ducts

Place the vacuum hose into your duct and vacuum as much dust and debris as you can. Don’t place the hose too deep, but concentrate near the vents. 

Once again, remember that, to clean the entire HVAC system, call a professional. Don't attempt to clean it, as you might cause damage. 

Dust And Wash The Vents

With a duster, wipe off the dust from the vent. Pour a little water into a bucket and mix with dish soap. Lather it well. Soak the vent in the soapy water for about 15 minutes to loosen gunk and grease. 

Finally, scrub it gently. Rinse and dry it with a dry towel. Reinstall the vent and turn on the HVAC system. 

To learn more about cleaning the AC vents and ducts, take a look at this post: How To Clean Central Air Conditioner Vents And Ducts

The Cost Of Installing Vents

Workers Installing Complex HVAC Galvanized Duct Sections

Replacing vents costs between $250 and $500 depending on their location within your home. If you have to install extra vents, the HVAC system needs to be upgraded to a more powerful one. The installation costs will be higher in this case. 

Vents go hand-in-hand with the ductwork of the AC system, so if you have to replace it, the costs will be higher. Generally, it costs $25 to $55 per linear foot of ductwork.

It might interest you to read this post: Why Is Air Coming Out Of Vents When AC Is Off?

In Closing

The sweltering heat of the summer can make your home uncomfortable. In addition to using your HVAC system, opening the return vents will help cool your home in the hot season. Other than cooling your home, other benefits of opening the return vent include better air circulation and lower energy bills.

One of the ways of maintaining it in good condition is to clean it often, which is quite easy if you follow a few simple steps mentioned in this post. Good luck!

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