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SUPPLY vs. RETURN Vent?

While Return Vents are similar to supply vents, there are some major differences, such as filters, style, and size.

Supply Vents

…supply hot or cold air into your room or space.

These are ordered by DUCT OPENING sizes.

Return Vents

…pull old air from your room or area and returns it to the HVAC unit.

These are ordered by DUCT OPENING/CUT OUT Size if there is Not a filter, if there’s a filter present order by FILTER Size.

Supply vs. Return Vents in More Details

Supply Vents will supply hot or cold air into your room or space. Sometimes these Supply Vents will be fitted with a damper that has movable plates to close the air from entering a room.

Return Vents will pull old air from your room or area and returns it to the HVAC unit, where it is then re-heated or cooled. The blower then supplies the newly heated/cooled air back to the living area. Return Vents and ductwork return the old air to the heating or AC unit. While Return Vents are similar to supply vents, there are some major differences, such as filters, style, and size.

SIZE:  

How to Determine Your Size.

ALL SIZES GO BY AT LEAST DUCT OPENING OR FILTER SIZE, SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO SPECIFY OVERALL SIZE.

In New Homes, Return Vents Are Typically Larger than Supply Vents, as it Helps “Gather” the Old Air from the Living Area. Your System can Only Blow Out So Much “New” Air, So a Larger Opening for a Supply Vent Would Reduct How Hard the Air Blows Out.

STYLE: 

UNLIKE SUPPLY VENTS THAT TYPICALLY TRY TO DIVERT AIR INTO DIFFERENT AREAS OF THE ROOM BY CHANGING THE ANGLE OF THE LOUVERS, AIR RETURN IS ONLY CONCERNED WITH RETURNING THE AIR, SO AIR FLOW DIRECTION DOESN’T MATTER. LOUVERED VENTS TEND TO BE THE MOST COMMON CHOICE AS IT OBSCURES DIRECT VIEW OF THE DUCT OPENING, ALSO IF YOU HAVE A FILTER, IT WILL HIDE A BIT MORE OF THE FILTER VIEW. THERE ARE OTHER OPTIONS THOUGH, FOR INSTANCE, IF YOU PREFER THE GRATE STYLE AND HAVE A FILTER, YOU CAN EITHER BUY A BLACK FILTER OR USE A THIN BLACK CLOTH TO DISGUISE THE VIEW OF THE FILTER.

FILTERS:

MANY HVAC SYSTEMS HAVE AIR FILTER ASSEMBLIES ATTACHED TO THE RETURN VENT INSTEAD OF NEAR THE AIR HANDLER.

WE OFFER FILTER ASSEMBLIES AS AN OPTION ON OUR RETURN VENTSTHIS WILL INCLUDE THE FRAME, HINGE & CLASP ASSEMBLY TO MAKE CHANGING YOUR AIR FILTER EASIER, AS WELL AS THE FILTER BRACKETS TO HOLD YOU FILTER IN PLACE.

YOU CAN REQUEST THE OPTIONAL FILTER BRACKETS THAT WILL HOLD THE 1″ OR 2″ FILTER BEHIND THE GRILLE.

FOR VENTS WITH FILTER ASSEMBLIES, WE RECOMMEND THE LOUVERED STYLE AS THE LOUVERS CAN BE DESIGNED TO OVERLAP EACH OTHER TO HIDE THE DUCT OPENING OR FILTER FROM MOST VIEW POINTS. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOUR VENT IS LOCATED ON THE HIGH WALL, YOU MAY WANT THE LOUVERS TO ANGLE UP TOWARDS THE CEILING TO OBSCURE DIRECT VIEW INTO THE DUCT OPENING.

LOUVER ORIENTATION SHOULD BE THAT THE LOUVERS ARE PARALLEL WITH THE FIRST DIMENSION YOU LIST ON YOUR ORDER FORM.

 

If you Add on this Assembly package option it will look like this:

There will be a white Plastic Clasp to hold it into place, so the wood is not scratched (especially if painted), Metal Hinges, note the Framework surrounding the grille to support the hinge and clasp, then you’ll see on the back these metal filter brackets. These will hold a 1″ or 2″ filter size, whichever you specify at the time you place your order.

Current Standard Sizes Offered for non-floor locations:

  •  2 x 10″, 2 x 12″, 2 x 14″
  •  4 x 10″, 4 x 12″, 4 x 14″
  •  6 x 6″, 6  x 8″, 6 x 10″, 6 x 12″, 6 x 14″
  •  8 x 10″, 8 x 12″, 8 x 14″
  •  10 x 10″
  •  12 x 12″
  •  14 x 14″
  •  16 x 16″

 

For Any Other Size Not Listed in Standard Sizes, Request a Quote Today!

For further upgrades options: 

Deeper Louvers Options:

If you want a deeper louver (for more depth, a larger louver and for more air flow as the louvers overlap each other so we can space them further apart for air flow requirements) using 5/4 Maple, Red Oak, White Oak, Ash

5/4 Depth: 

Louvered Air Return Vent White beadboard Wall special air flow

Plantation or Shutter Style Dado Louvers up to 3″ Deep

 

This custom upgrade adds up to 3″ depth, appearing like a Plantation Shutter type louver. These can be spaced even further apart for greater air flow.

Below is a sample of a few of our different design options for your next Wood Vent purchase!

Pictured below is a:

Walnut – Louvered Wall Air Return

with Air Filter Assembly Package (ie framework around grille, hinges & clasp)

Pictured below is a:

Pine – Louvered Wall Air Return w/ Air Filter Assembly Package

The hinges are closest to the floor for easier opening, access to filter.

Damper Tutorial

Supply Vent Damper Option

What is a Vent Damper?

A vent damper is an attachment made of metal with blades  below the vent cover that regulates air flow.  This is invaluable to controlling air flow and air balancing, but can sometimes not be a good solution for your particular situation. This is an optional add-on to your vent. Our dampers are powder coated to help preserve the damper’s lifespan while exposed to high and low air temperatures and humidity changes. This will ensure you don’t have to replace them again for a very long time.

Should I add a Damper to my Vent?

Most professionals do not want dampers for wooden vents. Wood is much thicker than your typical metal vents and in most situations when using a wood vent, a damper is not needed. However, there are times when some may need to close the air off on a floor level to force the cool or hot air to another floor, etc. If this is your situation you will probably want a damper.

Benefits of a Damper

The biggest benefit of a damper is that it gives you instant, on-demand control of the airflow throughout your building. This gives you the ability to adjust your HVAC:
  • air balancing– assist in making warm rooms cooler, and cool rooms warmer relative to the rest of the home
  • close-off rooms– close air flow to guest rooms or seldom used rooms
  • balance 2 story homes– hot air rises and cold air sinks. Seasonal adjustment of dampers can help a multi-level home
  • save energy– In some HVAC systems, a savings in energy can be realized

Drawbacks of a Damper

Improperly used or in conjunction with a poorly functioning HVAC system, dampers can cause problems. Remember that the same amount of air comes out of your HVAC system.  While closing off 2 rooms completely or reducing air flow in some rooms is usually harmless, imagine having a damper on every vent in your home and closing every damper.  Where can the air go?  Issues like this can result in problems such as:
  • Leaks created in the ductwork and duct taping
  • Creation of uncomfortable rooms with open dampers (they might now get too much heat or cooling)
  • Wear and tear on compressor and heat exchanger (its trying to send air and the vents are all closed)
  • Frozen evaporator coil  in AC
  • Humidity and mold in rooms with closed dampers (due to no air flow)
  • Increased energy bills (systems overcompensating for uneven air flow)

Questions to ask before deciding

  • What is my budget?
  • Is my building an open design or divided into individual rooms?
  • Is the inside building temperature even throughout the entire building?
  • Do I have any rooms I seldom use?

Our Damper Construction

  • Floor Dampers:  Our dampers for floors are black powder-coated painted on all sides and are “Opposed Blade Dampers” and not plastic or metal sliders.
  • Wall Ceiling Dampers: These dampers are metal or aluminum colored and have a small 3/8″ access point to actuate the blades. Sometimes, we can position the actuator in the spacing or square in order that you do not have a hole or slot to open and close the damper.

What do the Floor Dampers look like?

Floor Dampers will have a small recessed wheel for the Register or Shaker Style designs. In the Linear or Grate Style you will be able to adjust the damper with a pencil or screwdriver like device to adjust the damper fins. Our metal dampers allow for better air regulation and flow than common plastic damper types.

What do Wall & Ceiling Dampers look like?

For Wall & Ceiling Dampers there will be a toggle/lever to control the damper fins opening or closing the air flow. 

Pictured above is a Self-Rimming fit in a Register Style Design with Countersink Screw Holes (pre-drilled holes to allow screw to lay flush with vent surface), and a Damper.

Need A Consultant?

Email: info@americanwoodvents.com

Call: 1-800-232-8353

We are ready to assist and guide you!

Send us a photo if you like of your vent location and duct opening/cutout size and if in a restricted fit your overall size allowance. We will guide you throught the best option for your specific situation.