A furnace is basically a recirculating air pump; it draws cool air from all the rooms in your house that have a return vent and pumps hot air into these rooms through the heating vents. If you cover the return vent in a particular room, that room won't get as warm as the others.
The furnace sucks air through the return vents, which lowers the air pressure in the rooms in which the vents are located. Air comes into these rooms through the heating vents to equalize pressure, creating a circulation that warms the rooms. If a particular room has a heating vent, but no return vent, it won't get as much hot air from the furnace because the room is already full of air that isn't going anywhere.
If one of the rooms in your house gets too warm when you turn on the furnace, a good way to lower the temperature is to cover the return vent. This will direct the hot air from the furnace into the rooms with open return vents, warming them more.
Some return vents have adjustable louvers for this purpose. It's important not to close more than one or two at a time, though, or the furnace might not have enough air to circulate. Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years.
He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in By Chris Deziel. Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Chris Deziel. Show Comments.If you are feeling blown away by your current HVAC setup you might want to know how to block unwanted air from a heating or cooling vent. Unwanted air can be a result of leaks or simply a matter of personal preference. However, use caution when blocking vents. At the time of installation, your heating and cooling system was sized by a licensed contractor according to industry standards based on the principles of thermodynamics. Blocking vent openings in one room will increase the pressure of airflow to other rooms.
Blocking too many vents can reduce the efficiency of your heating system or even shorten the life of its components. Furthermore, inadequate airflow to a room can cause moisture build-up, inviting mold and mildew.
For these reasons, it is not recommended to block more than a quarter to a third of your vent openings at any time. Most vent grille covers have a lever on the side which adjusts the angle of an array of metal fins. These fins are used to open or close the vent. When fully closed, these fins will significantly reduce airflow into the room. Unfortunately, they do not form a perfect seal.
Close the vents to see if it solves the problem before moving on to more complicated and costly solutions. Turn off the heating system temporarily and inspect around the vent grille cover for air leaks. If you can feel a cold draft, unscrew the cover and lift it off.
Allow the sealant to dry for approximately 12 hours. If you are still not satisfied with the reduction in airflow, it is time to block the vent off totally. There are several ways to accomplish this.
The first and simplest is to place a solid piece of furniture over or in front of the opening. If this option does not suffice, measure the dimensions of the opening.
You can obtain a magnetic damper from a local hardware store, but the magnets may not be powerful enough to adhere to vents in the wall or on the ceiling.Do not order by the size of your existing vent cover.
How to Cover Foundation Vents
Order by the duct size. Hinged Air Returns. Hinged Air Returns allow easy access to changing the filter. For example, if you have a 24" x 24" then the proper size to order is 24" x 24". The flush mount with frame pictured is typically installed when flooring is installed. For sizing, please use the duct size and reference the overall frame size for installation.
The flush mount no frame is also ordered by measuring the duct size; however, the overall size of the opening must be considered. For example, a 4" x 10" flush mount wood register has an overall size of 6" x 12". The image below is an example of the dimensions of one of our baseboard register.
Home How to Measure Vent Covers. Not Hinged Air returns.
How can I decorate/cover an ugly air vent return?
Step One. Step Two. Measure the size of the duct. Step Three. Order by the size of the duct. Install Your New Vent Cover. Still Have Questions? Contact Us using the form below or email us at support ventcoversunlimited.
Name This field is required. Email This field is required. Message This field is required.I need ideas on how to cover return air vent to make it look nice? Must have openings for air to flow. Do you have room to put a small table or desk over the vent?
Maybe a coat of paint closer to color of wall. You might check out "decorative metal sheets" at the Home Depot or Lowe's websites. They come in a few designs and colors that are definitely nicer to look at than the open louvers on your return vent - plus easier to clean!
I'd just pop it over the top with a few metal screws. Can't block or cover it.
Paint it the same color as the wall. Place a small table in front of it. Nothing much you can do. Sign Up Sign In with Facebook.
Annie on Aug 18, I have used decorative magnets before. Deanna Nassar on Aug 18, Judi on Aug 18, Sharon Bembry on Aug 18, I used a wooden decorative wall plaque that is open enough for air flow. I would start by painting it the same color as the wall so it at least blends in more. Jan Clark on Aug 18, Jessica VanderVeen on Aug 18, William on Aug 18, Your comment Suggested Project Book.
Sand point well, water stops running when 2 faucets are turned on?? Cleaning Gutter Covers Sylvia Crouch. How to make easy Roman Shades.? Upgrading home thermostat? Alex James. Pavement Shay.
How to get rid of spiders from getting in plants naturally? Cabbage odors.When you use a forced-air heating system in your home, you're bound to have heat registers too. Sections of duct work, like hallways in a school, run through your home's framing, carrying heated or cooled air to various rooms. Sometimes the ducts run through the attic, but under the floor remains the standard. Wherever each room has a heat register opening at least one per roomit also has a register cover that prevents items from dropping into duct.
Before blocking your heat register openings, make sure it's suitable for your particular circumstances. Forget images of exploding duct work or a furnace bursting into flames. If you have a heat register or two that you wish to close off, you can do it quickly and easily, without fear of catastrophic consequences in most instances.
In fact, stopping the heat or cold-air flow into a room can save you from 5 percent to 10 percent of your heating and cooling dollars, suggests Carroll Energy Services.
The reason is simple -- with less house to heat, it can't help but to cost less to heat. For every rule there's usually an exception.
When it comes to blocking off heat registers in certain rooms to save energy and money, never close off a register vent supplied by a heat pump furnace. Heat pumps are designed to operate very efficiently and are installed with a precise number of air outlets heat registers and air inlets return air vents.
Blocking off rooms and registers is likely to not only impair the heat pump's efficiency but may also damage the furnace. Otherwise, closing off up to about 20 percent of the heat registers in your home helps conserve energy -- and your money. Assuming the cover is temporary, and you'll wish to use the register again at some future date, simply get a magnetic vent cover to block a metal heat register in the floor.
You can find these at hardware and other assorted stores. Before purchasing, check the size, quantity and thickness or other features. If it fits the register precisely, simply align it and slap it in place, over top the vent. Usually it will require trimming with scissors.
Can I Cover a Cold Air Return Vent?
Unscrew the register, place it on top of the magnetic material, and trace around it for a cut guide. Afterward, you can paint it to blend in with your interior or glue some carpet on to it. Whether they are made from metal or wood, your heat registers likely have louvers that open and close to block the air flow or allow it.
Shifting the lever to the closed position -- which you want to do before blocking it with magnetic covers -- will block some of the air but not all of it. You can still use magnetic vent covers on wooden registers. Simply apply magnetic tape material around the register edges. Some manufacturers supply this as part of the kit. The cover will then stick as intended. Alternatively, remove the register and line it with a piece of cork sheeting -- available at a local hardware store -- cut to fit.
Use silicone caulk to seal the edges and encourage it to stay in place. You can also permanently block heat registers by cutting through the subfloor with the finished flooring cleared to permit access with a jigsaw and enlarging the opening to end in the middle of the floor joists on each side. Rip up the old subfloor -- with the duct opening where the register sits -- and replace with a solid square of the same thickness of plywood.
Insert two two-by-fours between the joists on each end of the opening to support the opposite edges of the floor patch. Secure with screws driven into the framing, then replace the finish flooring.
If the blocked room also has a return air vent -- usually a much larger opening with an always-open register over top -- don't neglect it during your blocking efforts. Return air vents suck in conditioned air from your living space and cycle it through the furnace to supply freshly heated air. If you block the heat register, the return air vent is left with cold air to deliver to the furnace. This defeats your conservation efforts.With new moldings, trimdoors and refinished floorsthe regular air vents were suddenly going to be a problem.vent cover makeover
Most of the vent covers had seen better days and we planned on replacing them. Not wanting the basic metal ones available in the big box, I set out to fund something different. And there were options, but way out of the price range I was willing to pay.
It was time to fabricate my own custom vent covers. I needed to make some modifications to the original plan. We also are trying some filters and I want it to be easy to replace those regularly. After gathering my supplies and having the ducts cleaned… I continued to put this project off. But, the gaping holes in the walls were annoying IronFish so recently I added it to my to-do list. Once I took the measurements, I made the 3 needed for the office first.
After that, the rest came together fairly quickly. Punched aluminum sheetsthere are several styles and sizes available. I also got the largest sheets I could to make them as cost effective as possible, 3-feet by 3-feet, since I was making several.
Duck tape. Gorilla glue. Command strips. Spray paint. Chop saw you could use a hand saw and miter box, it would just take longer to make all the cuts. Tin snips. Measure the opening of the vent. Since the Union Jack pattern kind of has rows to it, I added one row on each side. Take note of the surrounding wall or molding. Most of mine were going to sit right on the moldings. One also needed to be notched in a corner and another was right up against the wall. A mitered corner might be the best look for your home.
If so this will take some additional calculations.Foundation vents are designed to improve the airflow under a house, helping to maintain healthy humidity levels and air quality in your crawl spaces. However, they can also let cold air enter the house in the winter months.
If you feel you need to close off your vents in the winter to help keep cold air from entering your home through your floors, use an insulated cover. In less urban areas, you might want to cover your foundation vents with small-mesh screens to prevent small rodents and insects from entering your crawl space.
Measure the width and height of your foundation vents. Most vents have large slats or squares to keep out larger rodents, but you can replace these with vents whose slats or squares are backed with a small-mesh screen to keep out smaller rodents, such as mice and moles, as well as many insects, while still allowing air to flow in and out of the crawl space. Buy a vent with small-mesh screen to fit the size of your existing vent. Remove the screws holding your old vent in place using a screwdriver from the outside of the vent.
Have a friend catch the hex nuts on the inside of the vent that help hold the screws in place. Pull out the old vent. Slide the new vent into the vent frame in the wall of your crawl space from outside. Drive screws through the holes in the front of the vent. Have a friend tighten the hex nuts on the screws on the inside of the vent using a crescent wrench. Measure your vents and purchase vent covers that are slightly larger than your vents. Most hardware stores carry vent covers in several colors so you can find one that matches your foundation color.
These covers are already insulated. Place the first cover over the outside of a vent. Line it up so that it completely covers the vent.
Drive masonry screws, which are often included with your vent cover, through the holes on each corner of the vent cover. If you are leaving the vent covers on permanently, seal around the edges with silicone caulk for an air-tight seal. Based outside Atlanta, Ga. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in By Shala Munroe.
Things Needed. About the Author.