Exterior vents are an integral part of any HVAC system, allowing it to work without interruptions and keep your indoor air fresh. Still, few homeowners give their outside vents much thought – after all, as long as the HVAC unit seems to be working, it doesn’t appear to matter what condition the vents are in.
Although they seem inconsequential, outside vents are critical to the performance of your heating and cooling systems. Perhaps more importantly for some, they can have quite an effect on the appearance of your home.
Learn why you need to start paying more attention to your outside vents and find out how you can make them into an attractive piece of exterior decor.
The importance of outside vent covers
For your HVAC system to work, it needs to be able to move air around your home. Most commonly, it involves either taking in the cool/warm air from the outside or removing it from the inside of your home. That’s only possible with vents and outside vent covers.
Without them, it would be impossible to properly circulate the air around your home and keep your interior cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The vents allow for the free passage of air through the ducts, preventing your home from becoming musty when your HAC is turned on.
Types of vents
In your home, you’ll notice two types of exterior and interior vents:
- Supply vents
- Return vents
As their name would imply, supply vents provide hot or cold air to your HVAC system, allowing it to enter your home and keep the temperature comfortable year-round. Most commonly, supply vents will be located on the outside of your home, under windows, or on the exterior walls of the attic.
On the other hand, return vents are usually located inside your home. They suck in unconditioned air from your rooms, carrying it to the HVAC system for processing.
Both supply and return vents will need proper covers that allow you to control the airflow and improve the overall aesthetics of your home.
How to choose the right outside vent covers
Leaving your exterior vents uncovered can cause several issues, introducing more dust and debris to your ducts and preventing your HVAC unit from working correctly. Therefore, you’ll want to invest in high-quality outside vent covers to protect the ducts.
While many aesthetically-pleasing covers can match the color of your foundation or improve your exterior decor, there are a few more essential things you’ll need to keep in mind when choosing your outside vent covers:
Easy to clean
Like most parts of your HVAC system, your outside vents will need regular maintenance. Otherwise, they could block the ducts, preventing the air from circulating your home.
Since you’ll have to clean the vent covers at least twice a year (usually at the end of summer and the beginning of spring), you’ll want to look for covers that can be easily removed and cleaned thoroughly.
Protect from birds and pests
Your home’s ducts can be an excellent shelter for birds, rodents, and other pests as they can keep them protected from both predators and extreme temperatures. If you want to keep your home free from these pests, you’ll need to look for vent covers with built-in screens. The screens need to be small enough to keep the pests away but large enough to keep the air moving freely.
Made of resilient materials
Like any exterior element, outside vent covers need to be made of resilient materials that withstand harsh temperatures and extreme weather conditions. Although they’re generally inexpensive, the costs will quickly stack up if you need to replace them every few months.
You’ll commonly find vent covers made from plastic, resin, or metal. The best material for you will depend on your location – avoid plastic covers if you live in areas with extremely high temperatures as they can melt or deform. Avoid metal covers if you live in areas with high humidity as they can rust.
The benefits of using outside vent cover
Using attractive outside vent covers offers an array of benefits that you can enjoy; take a look:
- Improve the efficiency of your HVAC system
Exterior vent covers keep away debris, prevent pests from entering your ducts, and ensure proper airflow. They allow your HVAC system to cool the air down and warm it up without working overtime.
- Avoid mold
Mold can harm the health of your household members, so it’s critical to keep it at bay. Outside vents can help you avoid mold by improving air circulation and removing moisture. If you’ve noticed mold in your home, check the vents and air ducts to see whether they’ve become blocked.
- Prevent leaks
Leaving your vents uncovered can lead to many issues, introducing debris and pests to your home. However, it also leaves you vulnerable to leaks every time it rains. To prevent leaks, you need to ensure that proper vent covers are firmly in place.
- Improve the curb appeal of your home
Finally, outside vent covers can also improve the overall aesthetics of your home, improving your curb appeal and even helping you fetch a higher resale price. When they’re carefully chosen and properly installed, they can add an element of taste and luxury.
Although outside vent covers don’t seem necessary, they are critical to your HVAC system and your home’s safety and appearance. Choose them carefully, and enjoy the benefits they bring.