Sometimes, during the course of remodeling or redecorating, an air grille or vent cover can stand out like a sore thumb. Decorative replacements are sold online, but will they affect how your HVAC system heats or cools your home? Read on as air conditioning and heating repair provider Air Pro Inc. shares an in-depth look.
First, let us clarify the differences between air grilles and registers, which are used interchangeably but are two separate things. Air grilles or registers cover supply and return vents, the part of the ductwork that connects with the floor, ceiling or wall. Registers, on the other hand, are air grilles with a damper that allows you to adjust the amount and direction of airflow.
Air grilles do more than just provide a clean look for the air registers: they also help ensure that the ductwork is protected from dirt, debris, and pests, and — in the case of floor vents — prevent someone from accidentally stepping in them.
This answer depends on whether the replacement air grilles are properly sized. Air conditioning replacement contractors refer to the term “free area” to describe the open area of an air grille. The ideal replacement air grille should have at least 75% free area, which comprises all parts that aren’t covered by the frame and decorative elements.
Most hardware stores carry a selection of vent covers in standard sizes and popular finishes. If you’re looking for something with a specific look or material, you can shop around online sites. However, you have to examine its specifications carefully. Most manufacturers don’t list how much free area a replacement grille has, but it may be listed on the packaging. Your local HVAC technician can also help you choose the right air grille size.