If the air return is too small, it will not be able to bring enough air into the system for it to adequately heat or cool the space. This can lead to an increase in energy consumption because the system will have to run longer and harder just to achieve the desired temperature. In addition, too small of an air return can also cause other issues such as poor indoor air quality. As the bigger particles get stuck in the filter due to lack of airflow, smaller particles such as allergens can make their way back into the air you breathe. Furthermore, this insufficient airflow can negatively affect your HVAC unit, leading to wear and tear on its components over time and potentially expensive repairs down the road.
Introduction to Air Returns
An air return is a key part of the ducting system in any home. It’s responsible for pulling air from throughout the home and delivering it back to your furnace or air conditioner, allowing you to stay comfortable all year round. Unfortunately, too many people don’t pay enough attention to their air returns and as a result, leave themselves vulnerable to poor indoor air quality and higher energy bills.
When an air return is too small, it can lead to decreased airflow which can create problems with airflow, cause low humidity levels does a flea collar kill fleas in the house, increase allergens and pollutants in the air, overwork the HVAC system resulting in higher energy bills, and more. The right size of air return is essential for healthy indoor air quality and proper operation of your heating & cooling system.
It may be difficult to predict just how big an ideal return should be for your house, but if you notice that your system seems underperforming or isn’t maintaining comfort levels, then considering installing a larger return may be beneficial. This way you can make sure that you’re providing enough airflow from every room in your home while helping maintain adequate temperature balances.
What happens if the air return size is too small?
When the air return size is too small, the HVAC system will struggle to receive enough air, causing it to become overworked. This will make it run longer and less efficiently, resulting in higher energy costs and a higher risk of breakdowns or damage. Additionally, if the air return size is too small then the conditioned air will not be able to adequately return through your HVAC system, leading to poor indoor air quality and increased levels of humidity.
Finally, having a small air return size can result in big problems for your home. Without enough ventilation and fresh outdoor air coming into your home, airborne contaminants like dust mites and mold spores can build up which could lead to health issues for anyone living with allergies or asthma. It’s important to ensure that you have an appropriately sized air return at all times to avoid any potential disasters!
Potential Problems & Effects of an Overly-Small Return
Having an air return that is too small can cause a variety of problems, primarily related to uncomfortable living conditions and inefficient functioning of your HVAC system. One of the most common issues caused by a small air return is an imbalance of air pressure between the conditioned space and the duct system. This will cause uneven temperature distribution throughout the space and poor airflow levels across machines like furnaces or boilers. Additionally, this can lead to reduced efficiency in heating systems, as well as increased dust buildup in ducts and on furniture and electronics.
Other potential problems with a too-small air return are loud noise from the system running, disrupted sleeping patterns due to increased noise levels at nighttime, and higher energy bills due to excessive run time as the HVAC system works harder than it should. Over time, these issues can promote damage to your HVAC system or result in inefficient operation of damaging its life expectancy. The best way to address this issue is to contact an HVAC contractor to assess if you need larger sized returns for proper airflow and improved comfort in your home.
How to tell if you have an undersized return
If you suspect that your air return is too small, there are a few signs to look for that can confirm it.
First and foremost, an undersized air return can cause insufficient circulation of warm or cool air throughout the home. This means that some areas may seem unusually hot or cold despite adjustments from the HVAC system.
Second, any amount of dust present in the home could be a sign of an undersized return as well. When your HVAC system doesn’t pull sufficient amounts of oxygen into the living spaces, dirt particles are left behind with no way to escape.
Finally, reduced airflow in rooms furthest away from your unit and strange noises coming from ductwork could indicate under-sized air return issues too. Little or no suction near vents often mean the unit is unable to intake enough fresh air from returns located elsewhere in the home and instead pulls on limited resources surrounding itself.
Steps to take if you have an undersized air return
If you have an undersized air return, your home’s air conditioning and heating system will be unable to function properly. Without sufficient airflow, heat is not effectively removed from the room and will cause your energy bills to skyrocket as your HVAC system works in overdrive.
Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take if you have an undersized air return. First, identify where the source of the problem lies. The most common culprit for inadequate air returns is a blocked or improperly sized vent cover. Make sure the cover isn’t blocking any airflow and inspect it for damage or excess blockage. Once you’ve identified the cause of the problem, replace or repair any damaged parts and clean any debris away from the vent cover so that it doesn’t impede airflow.
Next, consider installing additional vents in your home to increase overall ventilation. This can help to alleviate some of the strain on your existing vents that may be too small, allowing better circulation throughout your house and aiding in removing hot/cold spots caused by temperature imbalances. Lastly, talk with a professional HVAC contractor who can assess your unit’s specific needs and recommend additional solutions to help increase air flow in your house, such as duct cleaning or upgrading to a higher-efficiency model.