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Vents, Registers, & Grilles

May 17, 2015

Whether you call them vent covers, floor registers, or air grilles, this article deals with the part of your HVAC’s ducts that you see in the various rooms of your house.  These may be located along the floor, baseboard, or wall, and vary in size depending on the size of the ductwork.  The purpose of a vent grille is to protect the ductwork from damage and tears from things falling into it such as a person’s foot or from scratching by pets or sharp objects – while at the same time allowing air to pass.

A Decorating Statement

It’s become a high-end decorating statement to have vent grilles specially coordinated with your dêcor.  Whether you shop at Home Depot or a boutique home accessories store, you’ll see vent covers in a variety of materials, colors, finishes and designs.  Materials can be brass, bronze, cast iron, metal, steel, or wood, and they can cost anywhere from $3.00 each to $100-200 each!  Regardless, they all serve the same function and there’s more to them than just the aesthetic qualities.

Air Flow Issues

First and foremost, ensure the vents are open and unblocked by drapes or furniture. Vacuuming or stepping on a floor register could inadvertently close the register, making your HVAC system not work properly, so if you’re having uneven heating or cooling, the vents/registers are the first thing to check.

When should vent covers be replaced?

Vent covers only need replacing if they become damaged (bent), corroded (rusted), or will not stay open.  Otherwise, a periodic cleaning is all they need, using a cleaner appropriate for the type of material and finish.

How often should the vent covers be cleaned?

They should be cleaned whenever they need to be, but a minimum of twice per year fall and spring is ideal.  In high traffic or dusty environments, you may want to clean them each time you replace your air filters (minimum of every 3 months).