When arranging your furniture in a room, you may have to work around doors and windows. What about vents, though? Can you place furniture over or in front of a vent? We’ve looked into it, and we have some answers for you.
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It is best practice not to cover vents with furniture. If you place furniture atop a vent, it may dry out the wood and damage your expensive sofa or armoire. You may also cause your furnace or air conditioner to work harder, resulting in a higher utility bill or premature wear to your system. A vent can be redirected in some cases with a diverter, which could allow you to place furniture atop or in front of vents, but there are limitations to this.
If you're finding a tight fit for your furniture arrangement around vents, you should at least be aware of any potential issues proximity to a vent may cause. We'll also discuss the different types of deflectors and offer some tips on avoiding problems below, so read on.
Placing Furniture Over A Vent
While most people would like to place furniture anywhere they see fit, the reality is that there are some restrictions. You shouldn't block a doorway or window, and you shouldn’t block your air vents either.
Some of the problems you may face if you block your vents:
- Higher utility bills
- Damage to your furniture
- Premature wear of your HVAC system
- Uneven heating and cooling
Let's look closer at these potential issues when placing furniture over a vent.
Higher Utility Bill
If you block your air vents with furniture, you will make your system work harder to heat or cool the home. You now have fewer open vents to perform the same amount of heating or cooling, which may cause your system to run longer to accomplish the task.
Damage To Your Furniture
If you place furniture on top of a floor vent or too near to a wall vent, you risk damage to your furniture. The air coming from the vent can often be very drying. Excessive dry air could result in parts of the furniture, especially wooden parts, to shrink or dry out. This could lead to joints breaking and failing or damage to the wood itself.
You could have problems with condensation forming on furniture that is too close or covering a vent. This can lead to mold or damage to the item. On top of these problems, you may cause damage to the finish of any nearby furniture. This can be costly to repair or replace.
Premature Wear Of Your HVAC System
Blocking your vents or restricting them by placing furniture pieces too close can cause your system to work much harder to heat your home in the winter or cool your home in the summer. It will run longer, causing additional wear on the system. This adds up over time, reducing the lifespan of your system.
Blocked air can also cause the heat exchanger to overheat. A restricted system could cause your air conditioning condenser to freeze up. These can cause damage and require expensive repairs.
Uneven Heating And Cooling
In most homes, the air conditioning system is set up so that the home heats or cools in an even manner. This isn’t the case if you block vents.
A room with a blocked vent will not heat or cool as quickly. That room may stay a few degrees cooler than the rest of the house in the winter or take much longer for the temperature to even out in that room. The reverse is true with the air conditioning in the summer.
These are just some of the issues you may face if you block a vent blowing into the room, but you should also take care not to block any return vents. Returns are usually located in the ceiling or wall but occasionally appear on a floor. The air return can be even more important to leave unobstructed, and most experts recommend leaving 10 inches around them.
Options For Placing Furniture Over Or Near Vents
If you want or need to place your furniture over a vent, there are options. First off, anything you place atop the vent should sit several inches above it, if possible. If that is the case, and you have room for it, you can use a diverter to redirect the air from the bottom of your furniture.
A few types of diverters are available, but most of them are made of clear plastic and either stick down with double-sided tape or use magnets to adhere to metal vents. Most of the diverters work by deflecting the air in a different direction than it typically comes out.
Some common diverter options are:
Home Intuition Adjustable Magnetic Deflector
Frost King Air Deflector
With these, you can place furniture near a vent and avoid many of the problems mentioned previously. For these to work, the furniture must be several inches above a floor or away from the wall.
If you have a sofa placed atop a vent, you may think you'll be fine if you can just place one of these diverters on the vent. But these won’t work if your sofa has a skirt. If your furniture is too low for one of the diverters above, or if your sofa has a skirt, you can try a diverter like this one:
Deflecto Vent Extender
When you use a vent extender like this, it will work with lower furniture, a sofa with a skirt, or even a bed with a skirt.
Other Options If A Vent Is In The Way
If you can’t use a vent diverter, all is not lost. In many cases, just a slight adjustment to your layout could leave enough room. If your sofa has a skirt, try switching it out for one that does not. Instead of a bookcase that sits tightly against the floor, try one that has legs so that you have room to place a diverter.
One option if your sofa won’t work with a diverter is to place a table behind your sofa that wouldn’t need a diverter or would work with a diverter, like this one:
Sauder North Avenue Sofa Table
When all else fails, some people close off a vent. This can be done, but keep in mind the problems it may cause with increased wear on your HVAC system and uneven heating or cooling. Try to make the room work while leaving the vent open if possible.
How Can You Hide Air Vents?
There are some ways you can make your vent less obvious and less distracting, and in some cases, even hide the vent completely.
- Decorative louvered room divider
Decorative Louvered Room Divider
One way to hide a wall vent would be to use a decorative room divider to block it from view. This will also work if you place it near a floor vent. Something like this one would work especially well on a wall vent:
MyGift 3 Panel Room Divider
While it doesn’t completely hide the vent, if you paint it to match the wall or floor, it will become much less noticeable.
By being creative, you should be able to find a piece of furniture that you can use to hide the vent while still allowing proper airflow. For a floor vent, you could place a table over it that leaves room for a diverter, such as this one:
VECELO Modern Versatile Side End Table
Can You Put Your Bed Over A Floor Vent?
A bed should not be placed directly over a floor vent if at all possible. If your bed is raised a few inches, or you raise it using bed leg extenders, you could use a vent diverter, such as one of those we mentioned above. As a last resort, you could cover the vent well with a vent cover, such as this one:
Muscle MagVent Magnetic Vent Cover
As we mentioned above, this could cause problems. Only do this as the last option.
Can Covering A Vent Cause A Fire?
You are unlikely to cause a fire by covering a vent. The temperature coming from a vent does not typically reach a level that would ignite most objects you would use to cover a vent. What is more likely is that you will cause damage to your HVAC, as we’ve mentioned above. If you absolutely have to cover vents, keep it to the minimum number as possible to limit your risk of damage.
Can You Cap A Dryer Vent?
A dryer vent should not be permanently closed off if it is still in use or likely to be used in the future. However, the proper type of vented cap should always be used on a dryer vent that extends through the wall or ceiling. This will prevent rain from entering the vent and prevent small animals from coming into your home.
For a wall vent, the dryer vent should be capped with a vent cap like this one:
Deflecto Louvered Dryer Vent Hood
If your dryer vent extends through the roof, then a different type of cap must be used, such as this one:
Builder's Best Roof Vent Cap
While you shouldn’t cover a vent with furniture, there are ways to work with the vent and still place your furniture where you want it. As we have shown, a vent diverter or the right furniture can make the situation work. With a little ingenuity, you can have the furniture layout you want in your home.
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