Thursday, November 8, 2018

Is It Time To Update The Air Vents In Your Home?

How old is your home? If you're anything like me and millions of other homeowners across the country, the answer to that is probably 50+ years. Unless you are the first owner of your home, odds are that your home was built around the 1950's or 1960's. Although homeowners commonly remodel their homes to keep up with the current trends and the latest technological developments, often times things like registers and air vents get put aside or forgotten as an afterthought. The goal of this post is to help you understand how updating your registers and vents can have numerous positive affects on your home's value as well as creating a cleaner, safer, environment for you and your family. 

Why Should I Update My Old Vents?

Aside from the cosmetic damage such as scratches, scuffs, dents or general damage that can occur over time, there are other, more relevant dangers involved in neglecting your old vents. For instance, take a look at your old vents. Do you see any rust or corrosion? Maybe a few layers of dirt and grime have accumulated over the years. Have you replaced them since you moved in? If not, there's no way of knowing how long they've been sitting there collecting dust, rust, and bacteria. Your home is only as clean as your air vents and every ounce of air that you and your family breathe, in your home, is cycled through these unassuming installations. Left unchecked, your old air vents could kick up residual airborne bacteria and spread it around your home causing any number of common household illnesses. 

"Your home is only as clean as your air vents..."

On the other hand, updating your vents and registers will, in no small way, add value to your home. As a home owner you should always be thinking about your home's equity and ways to increase it. Updating your vents may seem unimportant when facing a large remodel or when prepping your home for sale, but potential home buyers will notice these things as soon as they enter the home. Vents, old or new, will leave an impression which could sway them one way or the other in the end. 

Where Do I Find The Right Vents For Me?

If you are still reading this, one of the previously mentioned issues probably applies to you. Maybe you'd just like to have that fresh, modern look that your old vents have been lacking or maybe you have children and want to ensure that they have the best air quality that you can provide. Or, maybe you're getting ready sell y our starter home and want to impress potential buyers. Regardless, you need new vents and I'm here to help you find them. The first step in this process is finding the right distributor. There are a number of ways you can do this. You can start local by searching the flooring supply stores in your area or maybe the local Home Depot would have a few options for you to choose from. However, these types of places don't often carry a very wide variety because they buy their products based on what sells best, not what will most accurately suit your needs. 

Your best bet in finding vents that work for you is online. Even in 2018 some people have reservations about purchasing anything online and while its good to stay cautious, there are a lot of great businesses out there that just want to help you get what you need regardless of where you are located. I work for one of them! That being said, type in a quick google search for what you need, I'd imagine that you'd be able to find a couple good options right on the first page. Also, if your willing to take my word for it, I'll include a few links at the end of this post for you to check out.

How Do I Select The Vents I Need?

Now that we know that vents are an important part of maintaining a clean and healthy home, add value to  your home and where to find them, the next step is figuring out exactly what vents you need. Registers and vents come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and can be placed on virtually any surface as long as there is ducting available. Floors, walls, ceilings, baseboards, you name the space and there is probably a register or vent designed to fit there. Luckily for you and millions of others in your situation, the register and vent industry has become largely standardized over the last 100 years or so. Meaning, if you pay attention to detail, selecting and installing your vents on your own is no longer an impossible task. On the contrary, you'll find that it's really quite simple and there are many resources available to help answer any questions you may have. 

"There will always be a vent or register to fit your 

When getting started, note where the vent you're trying to replace is located. Is the duct hole in the floor, the wall, the ceiling, the baseboard? It's important to know considering that not all vents are compatible with every surface. For instance, a ceiling register could not be placed on the floor because it is not designed to sustain heavy foot traffic and a floor register would not normally be used on a wall because often times they are not built with screw holes for fastening. There are some exceptions, but when selecting vents and registers for your home it is better to not take chances. There will always be a vent or register to fit your exact needs, even if it needs to be built custom to your specifications. It's always best to take any guessing out of the equation when dealing with such important subjects. 

Although floor, ceiling and wall vents are fairly straight forward, baseboard vents can often be confusing. The hole of a baseboard vent can be either in the floor or the wall depending on where the HVAC installer put them. They will typically be either on the floor right next to the wall or on the wall right next to the floor. If the hole is in the wall next to the floor you can use both a Triangular Baseboard Vent or a Rectangular Baseboard Vent to cover it depending on what suits your needs. If the hole is in the floor next to the wall the best options would be a Triangular Baseboard Vent.

Do I Need A Register Or a Return?

Now that we know where the hole is and what style of vent is best to use for our application it's time to decide; Register or Return? Whats the difference? The difference between registers and returns is simple yet important. It determines whether or not you are able to control the air flow through the vent. A register has what's referred to as a Damper installed inside of the main vent housing, normally controlled by a small lever or knob, that allows you to open or close the vent to air flow. This comes in handy when you're trying to close off certain rooms to save on AC/Heating expenses. A return is just a grill that remains open at all times. More often than not, registers will be slightly more expensive than returns. In many instances, even if your existing vent is a register, you may be able to purchase a return instead of a register without compromising your air flow. For example, if your existing vent is a register but has remained open for up to a year without an issue, replacing it with a return would be a much more cost effective solution than replacing it with another register that will also just remain open. It would have the same impact on your home regardless in cases such as the one I just described. 

How Do I Know What Size Vent I Need?

Most vents are measured by the size of the duct hole. I'll say it again for the people in the back. MOST VENTS ARE MEASURED BY THE SIZE OF THE DUCT HOLE! For example, if you have an air duct hold that is 12" x 6", then in order to fill that duct hole you would purchase a 12" x 6" vent. Now, a 12" x 6" vent may have an overall dimension that is closer to 14" x 8" but the actual vent insert is made specifically to fit that 12" x 6" hole. The outside dimension is the overhang that secures the vent into the hole. Often times there will be screw holes on this portion of the vent for fastening to the wall or ceiling. On floor vents the overhang is what keeps the vent from falling into the duct hole. This is the industry standard. When ordering your vents, it's very important to make sure that you are ordering the correct size so that you can avoid mishaps and having to return or exchange your vent for the correct size. When working with customers, I always make sure to reiterate this information multiple times during the ordering process to ensure that they only have to order the vent once and that they get it right the first time through. Not only is it a good practice from a customer service stand point, but incorrect sizing can lead to unsightly mistakes or even harmful accidents if weight is placed on a vent that wasn't properly sized. 

"Most vents are measured by the size of the duct hole."

Another important thing to note about floor vents is the placement of the vent on the floor. You know your home better than anyone else. You know the areas that have the most traffic and the areas that have the least. Most floor vents are designed to be able to handle a hefty amount of weight but if you're placing a large floor vent on an area that receives a high level of foot traffic, you will definitely want to make sure that you are purchasing a slightly thicker gauge metal material for your vent so that it can support the weight of being walked on frequently. If you come across an issue like this during your remodel or home project, its best to call a professional for advice. Most industry professionals are willing to answer all of your questions regardless of whether or not you hire them for their services. I know I'm always happy to help customers and non customers when it comes to choosing the right vent sizes and thickness for their projects so feel free to call and ask away!

Call us with your questions! 1-800-504-5989

Still have questions? Give me a call at 1-800-504-5989 during regular business hours (Weekdays/8am-5pm CST). Our friendly staff is always willing to answer any questions you have in regards to your vents, registers, floors or anything in between. Making sure our customers get what they need for they home projects is of the utmost importance to us. 

Thank you for reading!


The Floor Resources Team

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