20/20 Holiday Safety Tip: Keep Your Air Vents Free of Obstruction

Bringing out treasured ornaments and decorations from holidays past is one of the great joys of the season. What could be more delightful than filling the house with happy reminders of the family traditions that endure from year to year? 

As you decorate for the season, remember not to cover your vents or return air intakes with holiday trimmings or furniture, as they need to remain free of obstruction to operate properly and safely. 

Covering air vents can cause a buildup of air pressure and insufficient airflow, which could ultimately damage your system. A buildup of pressure behind covered vents and low airflow can lead to problems with your heat exchanger, causing it to crack and emit carbon monoxide.

Proper air circulation helps to lower humidity and dry the room. In contrast, blocked air vents can allow mold or mildew to develop in your air ducts. A combination of warm temperatures, high humidity and stagnant air also invites mold and mildew to form in carpet and upholstery fibers, leading to unhealthy indoor air quality and permanent damage to household furnishings.

Since wood cells are made to contain water, your wood furniture will shrink and swell as the humidity in your home changes. Placing wood furniture on or too near air vents can be damaging, since forced air is drying and can cause joints to loosen and boards to crack. If vents are blocked, moist conditions in the room might cause wood furniture to warp.

We recommend leaving at least 18 inches between furniture and vents to promote free air flow.

Often, bringing decorations from the attic or garage means that we’re also bringing dust inside with them. Some of this dust will become airborne and circulate into your home comfort system’s filters. When decorations come down after the holidays, it’s a good time to change your filters to ensure that air is flowing properly through your system. 

From all your friends at 20/20 Heating & Plumbing, we wish you and your family a happy, healthy and safe holiday season!