Furniture completes the aesthetics of your apartment, and sometimes you have limited options on how to place them to fit the rest of your apartment perfectly.
Unfortunately, vents don’t always add to the beauty of your home. As such, you may want to hide them with furniture.
No matter how attractive the space around the vent wall appears, it would be best if you first considered whether you could put furniture over a vent.
No, you cannot put furniture over a vent. Vents act to enable the proper flow of air. As such, placing a piece of furniture over your vent will block adequate airflow and cause your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system to work harder to adequately cool or heat your home. Consequently, over time vents will damage your furniture.
What Happens When You Put Furniture Over a Vent?
When you place a piece of furniture over a vent, you stand the chance of damaging the furniture and your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.
Therefore, it is unwise to put your furniture over a vent. Aside from putting furniture over a vent that will obstruct sufficient airflow in your compartment, the built-up air will cause several problems.
Furniture exposed to prolonged dry cold air from your vent to cool your room will eventually weaken and crack.
When your furniture deteriorates, you will have to replace the furniture. Air conditions function to balance the temperature in your room.
Placing furniture over a vent will cause the air conditioner unit in your room to misread the temperature and hence overwork to salvage the situation.
Generally, vents are critical for regulating the temperature and pressures of a room to make rooms optimal for living.
Hindering the vents with a piece of furniture will effectively deter the room from attaining the most favorable habitation conditions.
This situation will put your health in danger because the air will become uncomfortably hot due to inefficient airflow.
It would be best if you never placed a piece of furniture over a vent. However, in a tight situation, it is recommended that you get an air deflector or a vent extender to redirect the airflow.
Magnetic air deflectors stick to your vent and help redirect the airflow efficiently.
On the other hand, vent extenders lengthen your vent to about 30 inches to allow the proper flow of air underneath your piece of furniture without causing any harm.
How Close Can You Put Furniture to a Return Vent?
The air return vents are vital components of your cooling and heating system. Your HVAC system always needs return air to function appropriately.
When you block your air return vent, the airflow into the cooling and heating system is shut, consequently shutting the airflow to your room.
Poor ventilation has adverse effects on your health that you should avoid, so you shouldn’t place furniture over a return vent. The minimum clearance distance for a return vent is 6 to 12 inches.
However, others suggest that a return vent should have a minimum of 12 inches in front of any structure. And 12 inches on each side, and then 6 inches above and beyond.
It would be best if you never placed significant types of furniture like bookshelves and couches in front of a return air vent because even with proper spacing, large furniture will still obstruct air flow into the return air vent.
The only set of furniture you should place over return air vents is the furniture with an open end. This set of furniture will not obstruct the free flow of air.
Also, floor vents require an excellent clearance distance to function appropriately, depending on where you install your return vent.
As such, you must ensure the furniture is not overlapping floor vents. Most preferably, floor return vents should be left open.
Return vents do not precisely look stunning. As such most people feel the need to hide them.
While it is disastrous to cover up your return vents, you can do a few things to hide your return vent without necessarily blocking the airflow and, in return, prevent your HVAC system from losing energy efficiency and premature failure.
Regardless the focal point is to allow unrestricted airflow and access to the return vent when you ought to change the filters.
The few things to try out when you want to cover an ugly air return vent include the following.
- Obtain custom-built furniture pieces in various sizes, patterns, and functions. This furniture comes with the return air vent in mind.
- Make use of decorative metal grill covers. Decorative metal grills are easy to install and turn your ugly air return vent into a work of art, more appealing to the eye.
- Also, we have louvered shutters designed to hide return air vents without hindering airflow.
- Use a ladder shelving with openings and leans up against the wall. Ladder shelving creates enough room for airflow into the return air vent.
- Other things to consider are bifold louvered doors, repurposed rubber door mats, and a narrow sofa table.
Is It Okay to Cover Air Vents?
No, it is not okay to cover your air vents. Indoor air buildup contains high dust, moisture, gases, and other air pollutants.
As such, you need an air vent to prevent pollutants from ruining indoor air quality in your room.
In addition, covering air vents results in impediments to decent airflow. A poor ventilation system causes discomfort and puts your health at risk.
When it comes to covering your air vents, there are consequences you must first consider.
Due to insufficient airflow, a buildup of gases in your home will cause severe health dangers like carbon monoxide oxide poisoning.
In particular, carbon monoxide poisoning is dangerous for sleeping people. In addition, you risk suffocating yourself when you cover your air vents and allow gases to build up in your room.
People consider covering air vents for various reasons. For some, it is due to the failure of the air vent to properly fit the room’s aesthetic, while others think when you cover air vents, you stand a chance of reducing your utility bills.
In the same light, the popular idea is that covering vents will redirect air to other rooms. Regardless of your intention, it would help if you never cover your air vents.
Covering air vents has many effects, some of which include the following.
- When you cover your air vents, you invariably disrupt the airflow in your house and cause a hazardous pressure buildup.
- Covering air vents has proven to be a waste of energy. The pressure buildup will cause your air vents to crack and have leaks. Once your vents develop leaks, your HVAC system will have to work harder to maintain the temperature of the room, consequently wasting energy and at the same time, increasing utility bills.
- Depending on where you live, for people staying in a humid region, covering air vents will facilitate the growth of mildew or molds around your home.
How Much Clearance Do You Need for An Air Return Vent?
The clearance distance needed for an air return vent is about 6 to 12 inches. Each side of the air return is to have a clearance distance of 6 to 12 inches, while the top and bottom need a clearance distance of about 6 inches.
It is essential to allow space between your air return vent and furniture to enable the free flow of air in your house.
Placing furniture too close to a return vent will cause specific problems to your HVAC system.
It is sometimes challenging to choose the right spot where you will place a piece of furniture in your home because of the installation of return vents on the floors.
Regardless, you must ensure a blend between the vents and your furniture with adequate spacing to allow unrestricted airflow in your home.
In addition, when a piece of furniture blocks an air return vent, there is an increase in the humidity level of your room, which will affect furniture, textiles, and clothes.
Many factors will determine how well your return vent will perform optimally. One is whether you install your return vent on the ceiling, the wall, or the floor.
First, however, you must note that most air return vents are on the floors. And some of the advantages and disadvantages of using floor air return vents include the following, as stated in the table below.
It is advisable never to place a piece of furniture over a vent to avoid obstructing proper airflow.
A limited airflow will cause your HVAC system to work harder to regulate the temperature in your room and subsequently lead to a failed HVAC system.
In addition, placing furniture over a vent will damage your furniture over time. If necessary, use an air deflector or a vent extender.