Is My Return Air Vent Too Small? 

Are you hearing weird noises or rattling?

Blanton and Son’s recently helped a young, engaged couple who were looking at their first home, determine if their air conditioning unit was in working order. The technician quickly identified that the air ducts were undersized and offered solutions to help remedy the situation.

Did you know that most air conditioning units in the United States are built with undersized air vents? Air conditioning should have enough supply vents that they can properly blow air out as well as return vents that can suck warm air back into the air conditioning unit. Improper venting can cause rattling noises and increase your monthly bill among other inefficiencies. Ready to find out if your unit is working properly? You’ll need to grab a calculator, measuring tape plus a piece of paper and a pencil.

First things first, you need to determine how large your condenser is. Check your outside unit, there should be a visible tag or label. Determine the size of your unit. In this case, it’s 3 tons. 

Next, determine if you are using round or rectangular ducts. From here, you’ll want to calculate the return duct size based on the air conditioner’s size and the type of ducts used. Your ducts will impact the calculation!

For a rectangular duct: Take the size of the air conditioner (example: 3 tons) x 144 square inches = return air duct in square inches.

For round duct: Take the diameter of the duct x 3.14 = return air duct in square inches.

Next, we will need to do a bit more math to calculate the square root of the total. For example, the unit is 3 tons so 3×144 square inches = 576 squared. The square root of 576 is 24. So, the return air duct and grill size should be 24×24 inches.

Looking for a new home or just curious if your unit is working as efficiently as possible? Blanton and Sons are here to help give you the peace of mind you need to ensure your home is in tip-top shape! Call us today to discuss all of your home maintenance needs.