Most of us are familiar with the average vacuum cleaner. It sucks up the dirt, dust, and hair from our carpet and floors.
A well-placed Return Air vent has a similar benefit to the room where it’s located. It sucks the stale, humid, uncomfortable air from the room, so it can be replaced with fresh, filtered, conditioned air from the HVAC equipment.
When Attic Insulation isn’t Enough
Today I was speaking with Mr Homeowner, in a virtual appointment. I asked him to walk around upstairs, and give me a virtual tour of the bedrooms. Specifically, I asked him to tell me about the air vents.
When he contacted us, he simply told Savannah that he needed more attic insulation. When I got on the phone with him, I wanted to know his motivation.
“Why are you interested in investing in more attic insulation? What’s wrong with your house?”
“Bob, the upstairs stays warm during the summer. The house was built in 1986, so I figure it needs the attic insulation upgraded.”
As he walked around upstairs, he described the vents, and other details that I asked about.
One is a Lonely Number
I learned that there is one central Return Air vent, in the ceiling of the hall. Three Dog Night had it right, and probably didn’t know it!
*We have tested these decorative supply vent covers, and they are proven to reduce airflow by 40%!!
I had more Questions…
“Do you guys like to close your bedroom doors?”
“Yes, my son keeps his door closed at night, and so do my wife and I.”
After learning this, I asked him if he’d like to hear my explanation regarding a two-pronged approach to a solution that will get his upstairs comfortable.
Air Duct Design Explained in 6th Grade Comprehension
So I simply explained the fundamentals of an air duct system, and the importance of each room having a Return Air vent in the ceiling.
What Mr. Homeowner especially liked was that Bird Family Insulation can install the Return Air vents while we’re onsite, upgrading the attic insulation. Everything is done with the same crew, on the same appointment. He doesn’t have to start over with hunting an HVAC company, and getting those estimates and opinions, etc.
I asked, “Would you like to know how much we charge for installing a Return Air vent, with a dedicated duct?”
I responded with our current rates. “$450 for the first vent, and $400 for each vent installed thereafter”.
The Flowhood Test Reveals the Results!
Of course, you can’t tinker with the air ducts, and not test them. So I further explained that our rate includes a Flowhood test, where we test the airflow of the system before we install the fresh Return Air vent(s), and another Flowhood test after we’re finished.
The Flowhood measures airflow in CFM. That’s Cubic Feet per Minute. (Think about miles per gallon with your vehicle).
Here’s the exciting news: adding a Return Air vent has helped more homeowners get rid of hot/cold rooms and zones than I can count.
The Secret to Comfort is Balanced Airflow
Getting back to my virtual appointment… Right now, with the doors closed, those upstairs bedrooms suffer from trapped, stale air. The current Supply Air vent pressurizes the room, until (in many instances) the pressure inside the room slows the airflow coming from the Supply Air vent!
When we install the Return Air vent, the pressure is alleviated. The Return Air vent balances the Supply Air vent. When the HVAC comes on, immediately the Return Air vent starts sucking and inhaling the stale, uncomfortable air out of the room. This creates a (sort of) vacuum that eagerly draws the filtered, conditioned airflow from the Supply Air vent!
Guess where that air goes, that’s being sucked into the Return Air vent. It goes back to the air handler, into a large plenum (box), mixed and joined with the Return Air from the other rooms. Blending the air together helps eliminate the hot/cold rooms and zones in your house.
A central Return Air vent severely hampers your HVAC system from providing comfort to every room.
In twenty-plus years of serving homeowners, we’ve installed hundreds of Return Air vents. And they work! It’s basic science, and easy for our clients to understand.
I’ll take Two Return Air Vents with my Attic Insulation, please!
So, for my Mr Homeowner today, it looks like we’ll be installing three new Return Air vents, along with improving his attic insulation to R-50. I gave him my estimate for the bundled service, and he’s discussing it with his wife.
I’d never be able to fully help this man, without having learned his motive behind wanting more attic insulation. He was patient with me, as I asked my questions. And twenty minutes later he had a proper solution to his comfort issues.
When you call some companies, you feel like you’re intruding, or annoying them. They give you a square foot price or blindly set up an appointment for your “free estimate” without ever knowing if you really need their services, or if their services will solve your problem.
None of us wants to pay for a new set of tires, and not have them balanced. Or have the alignment checked and adjusted so the car runs straight and true.
But many homeowners will be sold “12 inches extra attic insulation”, and believe that they’ve done all they can do. In some cases that’s true. But in many cases, they really only got to 1st or 2nd base. They needed to add a Return Air vent!
Choose a solution-driven company, and you become a client. Not a customer. There is a big difference. You want to be a client. And you win!
Adding one or two Return Air vents with your attic insulation upgrade may be the perfect ticket for getting those rooms comfortable and in harmony with your thermostat. Remember, (generally) every room needs a Return Air vent, except bathrooms and kitchens.
Use our instant online EZ calculator to get an estimate for your home! It’s quick and easy. If you’d like to speak with me personally, to discuss your home, simply call the office or use our contact form.
We’re here to help! Bird Family Insulation. Your home comfort, re-imagined!