Room Design Plays a Big Role in Your Home’s Airflow

Keeping HVAC in mind when making decisions about room design supports consistent temperature control and energy savings. Air quality in rooms also benefits from balanced airflow. The two-way circulation of conditioned air throughout a home comprises both supply airflow and return airflow. Here are some ways room design helps achieve these goals:

Vent Placement

Effective room design must accommodate a specified volume of cooled or heated airflow. Conditioned air enters rooms through a supply vent and is removed and returned to the central AC or furnace through a separate return vent. Both vents must be placed and sized for optimum air circulation.

  • In a typical design, the supply vent providing cooled or heated air is located on an upper portion of a wall, near the ceiling. The return vent, which takes air back to the system air handler for cooling or heating again, is usually on an opposite wall close to the floor.
  • For optimum airflow balance and circulation, a dedicated return vent may be included in every room with a supply vent. To reduce building costs, however, many homes do not include individual returns. Instead, a large common return vent in a central hallway conveys return air from multiple rooms back to the central air handler.

Air Volume

Conditioned airflow entering a specific room is calculated according to the square footage of the room. This specification is called “air changes per hour,” and it represents the number of times per 60 minutes that the entire air volume inside the room is removed by returns and replaced by supply air.

  • With typical room design, a bedroom would require five to six air changes per hour, while the specification for a bathroom would call for seven to eight air changes per hour.
  • Airflow into individual rooms may be balanced by varying the diameter of supply ducts, the size of room-vent openings, and the use of adjustable dampers installed inside ductwork.

For more about how room design interacts with HVAC performance and efficiency, contact Paitson Bros., serving Terre Haute homeowners since 1922.

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