Home renovations can be a bit challenging, especially when unfamiliar with your home's structural, piping and venting system. You probably inherited a home or purchased a new house, and much to your surprise, a vent is installed under your living room floor. If you are wondering why, we've researched this topic, and here is the answer.
The reason why your living room floor has a vent is that it is easier for your heating system to increase the temperature within the space if there are vents on the floor since warm air goes upward. Vents like this are typically installed by HVAC technicians to attain a more efficient heating system.
In addition, floor vents are used to pull in the cool air and return it to the HVAC system to produce more warm air.
The reason may be easier than expected, but there is still a lot to unpack about this topic, so keep reading this post until the end to learn more. With that said, let's get right into it!
Why Is There A Vent In My Living Room Floor?
Living rooms are probably one of every homeowner's top priorities during renovations. It is common to tear up the whole flooring during renovations, but if you would notice your living room floor's vent, you might want to reconsider getting rid of it. Here's why.
Warms The Living Room Faster
Floor vents are commonly used to improve the heating system of your home. When the warm air comes from the ground up, the temperature within the living room increases faster.
You've probably learned during your Science class that warm air is lighter than cold air. Warm air molecules tend to expand, giving a wider space between each molecule, and causing the warm air to rise.
The same principle is applied when installing the floor vents. The warm air produced through the floor vents expands and rises, making it easier for the heating system to heat the room during the coldest winter.
Pulls Cold Air
Cold air is heavier than warm air; hence, it tends to sink. Return vents for heating systems are strategically placed on the floor to help collect the cold air faster and return it to the HVAC system to heat it.
Since cold air goes down due to its density, it becomes easier for floor vents to collect the air and bring it back to the system to be treated.
Provide A Strong Airflow
Also, floor vents pump out warm air and suck in the cold air back to the system to be treated. It also helps provide better airflow within the space.
Proper airflow and ventilation are important, especially in living spaces, because without them, the air circulating within the space becomes stagnant and humid.
With the use of floor vents, you can prevent any health hazards caused by carbon dioxide buildup, such as the following:
- Shortness of breath due to a lack of oxygen circulating within the space
- Skin irritation
- Respiratory ailments
- Brain damage
- Airborne diseases
- Dry eyes and throat
- Poor sleep
Not only that it can be harmful to your health, but it can also cause damage and harm to your home's structure.
Other issues caused by poor ventilation systems are as follows:
- Molds and mildew buildup
- Unpleasant odor
- Increase of humidity within the space
See this floor vent filter on Amazon.
Should I Use Floor Vents For Cooling System?
It is not recommended to use floor vents for your home's cooling system since cold air is denser compared to warm air. It is the warm air you would like to pull in and not the cold air. Since warm air rises while cold air sinks, your cooling system will have difficulty sucking the warm air within the space when you use floor vents.
What you should use instead is a ceiling vent. Ceiling vents can pull in the warm air that rises upward. This way, your air conditioning system can cool down the room faster.
Also, when cold air is produced from the higher part of the room, the cold air sinks to the bottom. Thus, making your cooling system more efficient.
However, if you still want to use floor vents for your cooling system despite not being recommended, you should expect your cooling system to work harder than a cooling system that uses a ceiling vent.
Lastly, since you have the vents installed on the floor, you might only feel the cold air on the lower part of the room because the warm air stays up. Thus, causing inefficiency in your cooling system.
You might think something is wrong with your cooling system, yet the only problem is that the vent is not placed where it should be, preventing the cold air from cooling down the entire space.
Can I Cover My Floor Vent?
It is okay to cover floor vents if they are no longer functioning. However, there can be a handful of reasons why you should avoid covering properly working floor vents.
Although it is still up to you whether you would like to cover it up or not, here are some of the reasons why you should not.
- Pressure buildup
- Increase in the risk of molds and mildew in the ductwork
- Decrease in airflow
- Can cause system damage
- Causes energy inefficiency
- Can increase humidity
It can be tempting to hide your floor vents, but due to the disadvantages given above, you might want to reconsider covering them up.
However, if your floor vents are giving you an eye sore, instead of covering them, here are some of the things that you can do instead.
- Paint your vent
- Replace it with an aesthetically pleasing one
- Hide it behind a decoration
- Match it with your floor and wall
- Use a rubber floor vent cover
Check out this rubber floor vent cover on Amazon.
Floor Vents VS Wall Vents - Which One Is Better?
Floor vents and wall vents are commonly installed as part of a centralized heating or cooling system. Which one is the best type of vent for you will still depend on which type of system you will use it for.
A centralized heating system helps increase the temperature within your home. In contrast, a centralized cooling system, more commonly known as a centralized AC system, cools down the temperature in space. The type of vent you should go for will depend on its purpose, so you have to know if you will have a heating or a cooling system.
However, if you have no idea yet about which type of vent to choose, here are some things you might want to consider.
When installing vents for a centralized heating system, it is best to opt for a floor vent since warm air naturally rises. It will be easier as well for the vent to collect cold air when your vent is located on the floor.
This is why floor vents are mostly recommended for heating systems because it helps conserve energy by making it more convenient for the vent to pull in and strategically produce air.
Wall vents, on the other hand, are more commonly used for a centralized cooling system. Since cold air drops to the lowest part of the room, it is ideal to produce cold air from the higher part of the wall.
This method will help the furnace to be more efficient by making the process of producing and collecting air easier, so if you are installing a centralized AC at home, it is best to go for wall vents instead.
Floor vents are ideal for homes with a centralized heating system. If your living room has one, and it's still perfectly working along with the other parts of the HVAC system, then there's no need to get rid of it or worry about it. Keeping your floor vents come with several benefits anyway, so you might as well maintain them and avoid covering them up.
Before you go, don't forget to check out these posts, too:
Can You Cover A Vent With Furniture?