How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
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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.
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To learn more about heating and air conditioning systems, see these other blog posts:
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