Closing vents might seem like a good solution in some cases, such as when furniture blocks them, but air vent diverters offer a better, more energy-efficient solution. If you find yourself too cold during the winter or too warm during the summer, or if you have rooms that are less than comfortable, this might be an issue with airflow. By redirecting your air vents, you can make sure the treated air goes to the right rooms, rather than going to rooms you rarely use.
Installing an air vent diverter, also known as an air vent deflector, is a simple way to maximize the output of your home’s HVAC. Keep reading to learn more about air vent diverters and how they can work to enhance residential climate control.
How Do Air Vent Diverters Work?
Air vent diverters, or deflectors, work by redirecting the air coming from the vents for optimal heating and cooling. This HVAC accessory is typically made of plastic and fits over the air vents in your home. You can adjust them upwards or downwards depending on your air redirection needs.
Since the air vent diverters allow you greater control over which areas of your home are receiving the climate-controlled air, it is an effective way to conserve energy and extend the life of your HVAC system.
Redirecting Vents Improves Efficiency
Whenever a vent’s airflow is obstructed, you will reap fewer benefits in terms of comfort. For instance, if the airflow is blocked by a piece of furniture, some of the air’s coolness will diminish because it will be hitting against a warmer surface.
If the vent directs cool air in front of a warm appliance or a warm window, there will be even greater heat transference, and this again means less cool air gets to where you need it to be. This reduces efficiency since you will feel warmer and be more likely to adjust the thermostat to get some relief. In addition, since heat transference makes the actual indoor temperature rise, your air conditioner will try to make up the difference. In other words, some of the energy your air conditioner expended to cool the air will be wasted due to poorly aimed vents.
How to Redirect Air Vents
If airflow is blocked by furniture, appliances or other large items, you can simply move the items or you can redirect the vent. Some vent covers have a switch or lever built in that you can use to redirect the airflow.
If your existing vent covers do not provide a suitable way to aim airflow, such as an adjustable damper, you do still have effective options. One of the easiest is to purchase air vent diverters. These are typically made of curved plastic and attach to the vent cover and can be adjusted to direct airflow upwards, downwards or to the sides. You can also find vent deflectors with extenders. These are helpful when vents are located beneath beds or sofas, for example.
When Are Air Deflectors Most Effective?
- Air Vents Under Furniture: Many homeowners simply close the vents that are under or behind furniture. Conditioned air coming from your HVAC system is wasted if it blows onto obstacles such as beds, tables, chairs or other furnishings. By installing vent deflectors, you can direct the airflow in ways that bring more comfort and save energy.
- Air Vent Over An Appliance: If you have an air vent over an appliance that runs hot like an oven or clothes dryer, the air will be affected as well. Using a vent deflector will help keep the air cooling/heating properly and from compromising the temperature of the appliance.
- Air Vent in Vacant Room: Instead of closing off a vent in an unused room, a vent deflector and extender can be combined in a creative way to direct the air into the hallway. You will need to leave the door of the room open, but by keeping the curtains/blinds closed you will be able to better control the temperature in the room without hurting the ventilation system. If you need more control over the temperature of a single room, you might consider investing in a zoning system.
- Air Vents Near Windows: Windows are a source of heat in the warmer months and a source of heat loss in the winter. If you have air ducts near windows, the conditioned air will be affected by the temperature created. A deflector can help keep more of the conditioned air from being raised or lost, thereby allowing you to save energy.
- Air Vents Near Thermostats: If an air vent is near your home’s thermostat, it can drastically and inaccurately affect the reading of the room temperature. An incorrect temperature reading will keep the system running longer or shorter than is necessary while not perfecting the temperature in the house. A vent deflector can keep the air away from the thermostat, allowing it to get a more accurate temperature reading of the home.
Other Steps Towards Energy Efficiency
Vents blocked by furniture are only one reason to use deflectors. Sometimes, the locations of HVAC vents aren’t efficient. An example is a floor vent placed directly beneath windows. Windows are a source of heat gain in hot weather and heat loss in winter, and your conditioned air moving up over the glass will lose or gain heat accordingly. Using deflectors to direct conditioned air away from windows will save energy and keep your home more comfortable.
While it may sound counter-intuitive, leave your air vents open. If you are attempting to save money, try increasing the temperature when you are at work and while you sleep. Research shows that the longer your house stays at an increased temperature when cooling, or a reduced temperature when heating, the more energy you will save. Setting your temperature back 10 or more degrees for 8 hours while you sleep or go to work can reduce your energy bill by 5-15 percent.