How to Modify Cold Air Return Ducts for Efficient Heating and Cooling
Cold air ducts are an essential, but often neglected, part of your HVAC system. These ducts draw air into your system from the interior of your home or from outside. If airflow isn’t balanced, which is the case in a massive percentage of houses, then your home isn’t heating up evenly or efficiently. With a few materials and just a little work, you can modify cold air return ducts for significantly better balance.
Find and Measure All Openings
First, locate your system’s return and supply ducts. Return ducts are located inside your home, and there should be one in every room. However, many older homes will likely have fewer returns. In contrast, supply ducts are located on exterior walls. Measure each one, and note the difference in size.
Modify Cold Air Duct Sizes
Unbalanced air flow can increase air leakage from outdoors, as well as force heated air outside of your house. One way to help combat this problem is to modify your cold air return ducts for better airflow. Whenever possible, expand your existing ducts vertically by cutting out pieces of wallboard and installing a new cover and air filter to fit. If it’s not possible to expand vertically, expand horizontally as much as possible to fit the existing ductwork.
Add New Cold Air Returns
Although it’s easier to modify cold air return ducts, adding new cold air returns so there’s one in every room is the best way to achieve balanced airflow in your home. This is not a task suitable for the average homeowner, and will likely require a qualified HVAC technician to complete the job. Make sure to get a thorough inspection of your ductwork and an assessment of your air balance issues.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues – especially HVAC and plumbing issues – so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
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