If you’re installing a new central air or heating system in your home or home addition you may have a choice of vent type, either floor vents or wall vents. What are the benefits and disadvantages of floor vs. wall vents? Which will save you the most money and help your conditioned air circulate through your home best? It depends on which kind of system you’re connecting the vents to.
Registers vs. Returns
First, it’s important to understand the difference between a register and a return.
Vents can generally refer to either registers or returns, but they operate in the exact opposite way. Registers blow hot or cool air into each room, and typically take the form of smaller vents throughout your home. Returns, on the other hand, suck air back into your system so that it can be treated. Returns are typically located centrally on ceilings, and are often the point where you access your air filter.
The Right Vent for Cooling Systems
If you’re installing a new central air system, and these return vents are just for the central air system, it’s in your best interests to choose wall vents. A wall vent delivers the cool air to the top of your room, which is where you want it to go.
If you picked floor vents instead, you’d feel the cool air mostly on the bottom half of the room. As hot air naturally rises, it’d gather at the top of your room and never be displaced by cold air. Thus, the room would be less comfortable and there would be worse air flow.
In short, wall mounted return vents are more effective for air conditioning, and floor mounted return vents are more effective for heating.
The Right Vent for Heating Systems
If you’re installing a new furnace or other heating system to these vents instead, it is ideal to use floor vents. The hot air that is pumped out the floor vents will naturally rise through your room, creating strong air flow and a comfortable temperature.
If you were to use wall vents instead, the hot air would rise up from its vent on the wall to the ceiling. The bottom half of your rooms would be noticeably cooler and your home would have worse air flow. This set-up would likely also create cold spots in your home, due to the reduce air flow. Whatever method you ultimately choose, there’s a chance that you’ll need an air duct repair or replacement. That’s why we’ll conduct an comprehensive inspection of your property’s ductwork before starting any work.
So what do you do if you’re installing a central cooling and a central heating system?
Ductless Systems Target Cool and Warm Spots
If your wall and floor vents will be connected to both a heating and cooling system, then there’s no right answer. No matter which you pick, your system won’t be optimal.
One answer is to use both wall and floor vents in your HVAC system. That maximizes your system’s ability to effectively return air during all seasons. Another is to prioritize the setting that is most important in your environment. In California, that typically means air conditioning.
But there’s another answer worth mentioning: don’t use vents or ducts at all!
If you use a Mitsubishi ductless air system you’ll get proper air flow at every time of the year. You can installed two or more of these units directly into your wall, where they can optimally target any hot or cold spots in your home.
They don’t rely on a forced air system, which means you don’t need to choose between floor and wall vents. You also don’t need to worry about them spreading allergens and dust throughout your home. Instead of using vents, these ductless heating and cooling systems generate the hot and cold air right where they are, kind of like window air conditioner, but much more efficiently.
The secret to getting a comfortable home with Mitsubishi ductless systems is working with an HVAC professional who can place them correctly in your home. Each unit will heat and cool a “zone” of your home that you can choose with your HVAC technician. You can have different temperatures in each zone, so that you don’t waste money heating or cooling spaces you aren’t using.
Stop worrying about whether you should get floor or wall vents and choose the solution, a ductless system, instead. Whether you want to upgrade to a ductless hvac system in Tracy or want to schedule an appointment for an air duct inspection in Modesto, give Irish Heating and Air a call today to get started on your next project.