special air return note:Many of the air returns in this category are designed for built-in filters. However, there are many additional styles that you may want to take a look at that do not have filters and are available in a wide variety of typical and custom air return sizes. Those can be seen in our heat register category.
Return air vent
A return air vent performs the important job of collecting the air the room that has dissipated the heat that it had picked from the furnace and returns that air through the metal ducting back to the furnace to be heated again and then pushed out the supply vents. Unlike the supply heat vents it is critical that a good amount of open area exists and that the is never encumbered by a damper. If airflow in return air vents is restricted enough not only will a person experience very poor performance from their heating system but it is even possible to damage the furnace. In contemporary or new construction houses it is rare to find significant mistakes in the design of the hvac system. However, in a vintage home such as a Victorian it can be common. In fact, probably the majority of Victorian homes never even had central heating when first constructed and relied on fireplaces to heat the structure. When the home was retrofitted for a forced air system it may have been difficult to find space to run ducting and many considerations such as the adequacy of return air vent grilles may not have been much of a consideration.
Air return open area
If your existing system seems to be functioning adequately, but you want to install an air return with more style you are well advised to avoid reducing the dimensions of your duct opening, which would only serve to restrict air flow, possible to a detrimental level. In addition to that, different face plate designs have differing amounts of free area. You can't go wrong by choosing a design with good airflow characteristics. There are a few designs that look great but are somewhat restrictive. Those may not be a good idea for a first choice, but a lot depends upon how many other air returns exist in the house and their total area, as well as the overall size of the house. The best rule of thumb is simply to get a return air vent that house about the same airflow statistics as your existing unit or maybe even somewhat better. We are in a good position to provide generalized advice regarding airflow so feel to call us
Baseboard located return air vents
Homes from the Victorian era often have air returns located at the point where the wall and floor meet. Usually there is a gap in the baseboard and ideally an air return could be found to fit that dimension exactly. Many times this is not so easy since the companies that made the registers for the house perhaps went out of business more than one hundred years ago. Depending upon the scenario we have number of possible way to address this type of situation, although we may need to have you email us a picture or two to obtain a good idea of what needs to be done.
Be careful when you are investigating baseboard registers. It is very common to encounter asbestos, which may have to be dealt with. Furthermore, in an ideal world the metal ducting would not be protruding out from the wall or floor, but in reality this is a common occurrence. Depending on how the metal is structured this may be easy or not so easy to deal with. Be very careful around that metal as sometimes there are some very sharp edges to contend with.