Things You Should Know About Return Air Ducts

Things You Should Know About Return Air Ducts

March 15, 2016

You probably already know about the supply ducts in your HVAC system. They're the ones that carry heated or cooled air from your furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump to the inside of your home. There is another set of ducts, however, that is also important to HVAC function: the return air ducts. Here is a brief introduction to the things you should know about return air ducts.

They bring expended air back to your HVAC system - As their name suggests, return air ducts "return" expended air -- air that is no longer warm or cool -- back to your HVAC equipment. Once there, the expended air is heated or cooled again, filtered to remove particulates, and sent back out into your home through the supply ducts. This air circulation system is essential for proper HVAC operation and for indoor comfort.

They must be properly sized - Return air ducts must be the proper physical size to be able to bring back enough air to the HVAC system. If the ducts are too small, airflow will be reduced and the system will not function correctly or produce enough newly cooled or heated air. In some cases, two sets of return air ducts may be required to ensure properly balanced air flow.

They must be kept clean, sealed, and away from contaminants - Since return air ducts pull in old air and send it back to the HVAC system, they can also pull in particulates and contaminants such as dust, pollen, dander, and mold. Return vents should be kept clean and free of dust and dirt. All sections of the return ducts should be fitted tightly together and connections should be sealed with mastic or metal tape. Homeowners should avoid activities that produce particulates in the area of return ducts, such as sanding or sawing. Paints, cleaners, solvents, insecticides, and volatile material should be kept away from return ducts. Lozier Heating and Cooling provides top-quality HVAC services for customers in Des Moines and throughout Polk County. Contact us today for more information on return air ducts and how they function within your HVAC system. Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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