How To Look At A House

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Should I have a return air vent in the master bedroom?

Friday, July 27, 2018

A single return air register (vent) was once the standard for residential construction, and it was typically located in the hallway to the bedrooms. But new homes are different from ones built in the 1970s or earlier in two ways: they average about 40% more square footage and have a split floor plan, with the master bedroom on the opposite side of the home from the kids’ bedrooms. Also, the master bedroom has grown into a “master bedroom suite,” with his and hers walk-in closets and expansive master bathroom—all of which becomes closed off from the rest of the house when the bedroom door is closed. 

    Closing that door also shuts off the the flow of air returning to the air conditioning air handler (indoor unit) for what has grown to become a large portion of the home. So a return air register is necessary to avoid resistance to the incoming air in a closed room, and is now standard for most new homes. A “jump duct” is also a alternative way to get return air flow, and you can read about it at our blog post What is a jump duct?

    Unfortunately, some older homes have a problem maintaining the desired temperature in the master bedroom even though it is in the same end of the house with the other bedrooms and the home has medium or smaller square footage. The long floor plan floor plan of ranch-style homes of the mid-century, combined with a master bedroom at the far end of the house and a return air register sometimes located on the far side of the living room, can create an unbalanced duct system. 

    Also see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Bedrooms.

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  To learn more about heating and air conditioning systems, see these other blog posts:

How can I find out the SEER of my air conditioner? 

My air conditioner won't turn on. What's wrong? 

How can I find out the size of my air conditioner? 

How can I tell whether the condenser (outdoor unit) is an air conditioner or heat pump? 

Where is the air filter for my central air conditioner and furnace? I can’t find it? 

Does an old air conditioner use more electricity as it ages? 

How did homes stay cool in Florida before air conditioning? 

What is wrong with an air conditioner when the air flow out of the vents is low?

Why has the thermostat screen gone blank? 

Why does it take so long to cool a house when an air conditioner has been off for a while? 

Why is my air conditioner not cooling enough? 

What are the most common problems with wall/window air conditioners?  

Will closing doors reduce my heating and cooling costs? 

   Visit our HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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