What Types of HVAC Vents Should You Have in Your Home?

The central HVAC system in most homes integrates several vent types. They differ slightly, but all are critical to proper air circulation. In a typical house, more than 1,500 cubic feet per minute of conditioned air must be distributed to all living spaces, then returned to the furnace or air conditioner. Vent types that get the job done vary according to location and function in order to effectively circulate conditioned air that keeps your home comfortable during winter and summer.

These are home vent types that support maximum system airflow and consistent temperature control:

Supply Vents

Typically located on the upper portion of the wall or on the ceiling, supply vents deliver conditioned air directly from the furnace or air conditioner. They usually have two notable characteristics:

  • The supply vent is usually somewhat smaller than a return vent and conveys airflow under slightly positive pressure.
  • A supply vent is usually a “register.” This means it incorporates louvers, which can be adjusted to control the volume of heating or cooling entering the room, as well as direct airflow to particular areas of the room.

Return Vents

A return is typically the larger of the vent types in a room. Unlike supply vents, most returns are a simple grille; i.e., the vent is nonadjustable and cannot be closed. A return vent is under slightly negative pressure to pull air from the room and back to the central air handler.

Many homes today don’t include return vents in every room. Instead, a single, large, dedicated return is located in a central hallway to pull air from all rooms and return it to the HVAC components.

Exhaust Vents

These powered, fan-driven vents are installed in the ceiling or wall of a kitchen or bathroom. Their only function is to exhaust stale air, including humidity and odors. Exhaust vents must be connected to a dedicated duct that extends to the outdoors.

For more about the form and function of home vent types, ask the HVAC professionals at Paitson Bros., who since 1922 have been serving Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley.

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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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