Here's Why You Shouldnt Block Cold Air Returns

October 25, 2018

Cold air return vents aren’t the most elegant feature in your home, but they exist for reason. These vents, commonly found in hallways or on ceilings, are absolutely essential to an air conditioner’s well-being. Cold air returns take in warm air from your home’s indoor spaces for use in your air conditioning system. Without that steady stream of incoming air, your unit won’t be able to work as effectively.

Blocking your cold air returns, whether intentionally or by accident, can be disastrous in more ways than one. Here’s what could happen if one or more of your returns are blocked:

  • It can cause the evaporator coil to freeze over. The evaporator coil’s job is to absorb latent heat from air flowing over the coil. Without that incoming air, the coil’s surface temperature can drop below freezing, allowing moisture and condensation to freeze on the coil.
  • It makes your A/C system use more energy. Your blower fan has to work twice as hard and consume much more energy to overcome restrictive airflow caused by blockages. Over time, you may notice a steady increase in your utility bill unless the blockage is dealt with.
  • It’ll eventually kill your A/C system. The cumulative stress and strain associated with cold air return blockages can cause parts to wear out faster and breakdowns to become more common, potentially sending your A/C system to an early grave.

Keeping your cold air returns clear is the key to keeping your A/C system in great shape. Here are some simple ways you can do just that:

  • Keep couches, chairs and other large pieces of furniture at least 10 inches away from your cold air return vents.
  • Avoid covering your cold air return vents with curtains, drapes or rugs.
  • Always check your air filters and replace them when needed. Clogged air filters can also cause cold air return blockages.

For more tips on protecting your cold air returns in your Monmouth County home, contact the professionals at Aggressive Mechanical Contractors.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Monmouth County, New Jersey and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).