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Home Maintenance

How Many Return Vents Should A House Have?

Keep your return vents clear of any blockage.

Owning a home can come with a lot of excitement. So much excitement that homeowners often forget to ask the builder or seller all of the right questions. In some cases, the buyer is so enamored with the home, that they will skip a home inspection. Unfortunately, that is a bad idea and there are a lot of things that you should know. Understanding your HVAC system is one of the areas to know. For example, how many return vents should a house have? Knowing this will save you money on your utility bill and keep your HVAC functioning properly.
Let’s take a look below at the details regarding return vents in your home.

What Are Return Vents?

There are two types of vents in your home. Supply vents and return vents. Let’s take a look below at what they are.

  • Supply vents – The purpose of these vents is to circulate the air from your HVAC into each room of the home. All air that is pushed through the air ducts from your furnace or air conditioner will exit through the supply vents.
  • Return vents – The purpose of these vents is to suck in excess air to be recirculated through the HVAC system. This keeps the air pressure in the home balanced. Return vents have bigger grids on them and are easily identifiable.
Typically, you will have one main return vent in your home.

What Do They Do?

The purpose of your return vent is to suck air into the air handler of your HVAC system. As the HVAC system blows air into your home, the air pressure in the home changes. So, the excess air needs to be recirculated back into the system by the return vent.

How Many Do I Need?

In many cases, your home was built with one centrally located return vent. The return vent services the entire HVAC system. Although this is not a major issue, you must keep all of the doors open in the open for the air to properly circulate. Ideally, a home should have one return vent in each room of the home. How many return vents should a house have? Typically two or three of those return vents would be ideal. Additionally, be sure to keep drapes, furniture, rugs, or any other item from blocking the return vent. This could damage the entire HVAC system.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you have an idea of how many return vents you need in a home, you can read up on if closing the vents will assist in cooling specific rooms of the home.

Next, taking care of your HVAC system is very important for its longevity. An HVAC system lasts typically 10-17 years. This lifespan depends on if it was installed correctly and properly maintained. Also, if chemicals are used in the home, or if you live in a coastal area.

Lastly, if your air conditioner or HVAC system is acting up, there is a potential for mold to breed. When you call on your local home inspection team, ask them if they conduct a mold inspection during their home inspection.

Clean the return vents regularly.

When Do I Call A Professional?

Reach out to your local professional HVAC service technician. They can come out and check your system to see how many return vents your house has, and for any clogs or damaged parts. Also, they can recommend any upgrades to your HVAC system. Keep in mind that all air vents should remain open so that your system can properly circulate the air. Don’t be afraid to use your local home inspection team to check out your HVAC system before using an HVAC service technician. They can recommend a reputable HVAC service company.


Understanding how your HVAC system works allows you to save money by properly operating it. Additionally, it is important to schedule a maintenance service on your system twice a year. The best time to do this is when you change your air filter in the system. Changing your air filter in January and July is typically ideal. Call on your local home inspection team to come out and inspect your HVAC system to ensure that you have the correct number of return vents and that the system is working properly. Reach out to ACE Preferred Inspections for a full home inspection in the low country of South Carolina