With every home that has a central air conditioning system, there are ducts that run through the house distributing cool and heated air. Air vents are located in places throughout the home where the air enters and exits the central air system.

Some of the vents bring air into the system and some push air out of the system. Air ducts that carry the conditioned air and the vents where air comes in and exits are part of the home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, referred to as the HVAC system.

There are times when these vents should be replaced to ensure the efficient flow of air in and out of the system. It is best to allow a professional at Comfort Systems to inspect your central air system to determine if the vents or ducts need to be replaced. But first, let’s review the two types of vents that make up your system. They are known as supply vents that bring air into the system and return vents that send air out of the system. If you consider the indoor air handler as the heart of your system, think of the supply ducts as the arteries carrying air to the handler and the return ducts are the veins carrying air to the different areas of the house.

The condition of your vents and ductwork is very important because they are responsible for delivering warm or cool air to every room in your home. If your vents are not working properly or are damaged, this will impact the performance and reliability of your central air system. Troubles with your air vents and ducts can shorten your HVAC system’s life by forcing it to work harder, and it can make your home less comfortable. A Comfort Systems professional can take care of many problems, but a replacement of vents and ductwork is often simpler and less expensive.

Know the difference between air vents

Your central air system’s supply vents are connected to your supply ducts, which carry either heated or cooled conditioned air into different rooms of your home. The supply vents are typically smaller than the return vents in your home and there are more supply vents. They typically service individual rooms and have louvers that can be open or closed to regulate the flow of conditioned air. Supply vents can be identified by turning your system’s fan on and holding a piece of paper in front of the vent to feel if air is blowing out.

The return vents are connected to your return ducts, which carry air from your indoor spaces to the central air system. These vents are larger and typically do not have louvers. Return vents can be identified by turning your system’s fan on and holding a piece of paper in front of the vent to feel if air is sucked inside.

How vents serve your home’s central air system

When your central air system is heating or cooling your home, it is blowing conditioned air out and sucking air into the system all at the same time through the vents and ductwork. This is why it is important that your vents should never be blocked or damaged, because they play a pivotal role in the operation of your central system.

Your central air system works in a balanced manner, distributing air and pressure through the duct system equally throughout the home. It is designed to work as efficiently as possible, so if a vent is damaged or closed this can affect the balance of your HVAC system and affect energy efficiency throughout the home.

Your return and supply vents and ducts are supposed to maintain a balanced air supply. This means there should be an equal amount of air entering and leaving your HVAC system. If there is a difference in pressure, expect comfort and efficiency problems. Poor vent and ductwork design and obstructed airflow can lead to similar problems.

It does not help to block or close vents to unoccupied areas of your home and it may actually damage your central air system by increasing air pressure in the duct system. This can lead to large duct leaks, which decrease the efficiency of your central air system. The experts at Comfort Systems can inspect your system to ensure it is operating in a balanced manner at peak performance.

When you should replace your vents and ductwork

Older ductwork

Most homes begin to experience problems with the ductwork after 10 years. If your ductwork is more than 15 years old, it is likely time to replace it. Older ductwork can experience leaks, collapse and other problems that lead to poor performance of your central air system. You should replace your vents when you replace your ductwork to ensure optimum performance of your new system.

High utility bills

If you notice higher utility bills out of the normal average for your home, this could be a sign of problems with your central air system. A Comfort Systems professional can inspect your system to determine if there are any leaks in your ductwork. You should also inspect your supply and return vents to ensure they are open and not blocked.

Bad air quality

When you experience more allergies and asthma symptoms, this could be caused by gaps or holes in your ductwork. These problems can allow dust, pollen and other pollutants to bypass your HVAC system’s air filter and circulate through your home. This problem can also spread mold through your vents and ductwork, and ultimately through your home.

Contact Comfort Systems to help with repairs, replacements, and new installations of your vents and ductwork. Comfort Systems can also help maintain and inspect your central air system on a regular basis.