A Guide to Replacing HVAC Vent Covers

November 2, 2022
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If your old HVAC vent covers are looking worn or outdated, you may want to consider having them replaced. The same is also true if they don’t really match your décor or you’re simply unhappy with the way they look. Depending on the type and location of the covers, you may need to hire a professional to do it for you. Here is everything you need to know about how HVAC vent covers are replaced.

Removing the Old Covers

The first step is obviously removing the old cover. If the vents are in the floor, then the covers most likely just slide straight down into the vent. In this case, removing the cover is usually as simple as pulling it up out of the vent. In some cases, the covers may be stuck or fit tightly enough that it is necessary to gently pry them up out of the hole.

Vent covers located on a wall or ceiling are usually fixed in place with two screws, one on each side of the cover. If this is the case, it is first necessary to remove the screws before the cover can be taken out of the vent.

Measuring the Opening and Choosing a New Cover

Once the cover is removed, it is then necessary to measure the length and width of the opening. Vent covers come in a range of different sizes, so it is important to know exactly what dimensions the new covers need to be. You can also measure the dimensions of the old cover. However, make sure that you measure the dimensions of the part of the cover that sits inside the vent and not the actual cover itself.

Once you know what size you need, you can then choose the new style of covers you like. Most vent covers are metal, but you can also find them made from wood and other materials. You also have a huge number of color choices so that you can make sure that the new covers match your décor. If you can’t find anything that matches, you also have the option of painting the cover to match your walls. Deciding to go this route means that you will need to make sure that you paint it carefully so that the paint doesn’t block the grates or openings.

It is also important to determine whether you need the new covers to be able to open and close. Some covers include an inner damper that allows you to shut the cover and block the airflow if needed. These will typically have a small metal handle on one side that is used for opening and closing the damper.

Vacuuming Out the Vent

Before installing the new covers, it is always a good idea to vacuum any dirt and dust outside of the vent itself. If there is any debris in the vent, you also need to clean this out. Cleaning out the vent will help to prevent the cover from getting clogged and leading to a reduction in airflow or a completely blocked vent.

It is important to note that vacuuming out the inside of your vents is not the same as duct cleaning. Cleaning the vents and covers is something you can do and should be done at least once every few months. Duct cleaning, on the other hand, involves cleaning out any dust and debris from the inside of all of your ducts. This is something that only a professional can do and usually only needs to be done once every few years.

Installing the New Covers

The last step is to install the new covers. For vents located on the floor, this is again usually as simple as sliding the new cover down into the vent. If the cover doesn’t fit tightly, it may need to be screwed down to the floor to prevent it from becoming a tripping hazard.

For ceiling and wall vents, the cover will need to be secured in place using screws and plastic wall anchors. Even though there should already be screw holes in the correct place from the old cover, you should never install a new cover into the same holes without using plastic anchors. Removing the screws from the old cover usually causes the holes to become slightly larger. If these old holes are used, the new screws typically won’t hold very well, and the cover could easily fall off.

Plastic wall anchors are inserted directly into the old screw holes and sometimes may need to be gently tapped into place so that they are flush with the face of the wall. Once the anchors are in place, the new cover is placed into the vent. Finally, the screws are inserted through the cover into the anchors and then tightened until fully secure.

The Importance of Keeping Your Vent Covers Clean and Unobstructed

Keeping your vent covers clean and making sure that they are not obstructed are important tips for ensuring that the heating and air conditioning continue to work properly. If the vent covers are clogged or obstructed, it will limit the amount of air that can flow out of them. As a result, that room will always end up staying hotter in the summer and colder in the winter. The same issue will also occur if the vent covers are blocked by furniture or otherwise obstructed.

If too many of the vents in the building are closed, clogged, or obstructed, it can create major issues for your entire HVAC system. Closing too many vents increases the static pressure inside the ductwork, and this makes it more difficult for air to properly circulate through the duct system and forces the blower fan to work overtime. It also means that your furnace or air conditioner will need to run much longer to effectively heat or cool the building.

Restricted airflow due to these same vent issues can also seriously damage your furnace or cause it to constantly overheat and automatically shut down. The issue here is that too much heat builds up inside the furnace since the blocked vents prevent it from being dispersed quickly enough. This can potentially cause the heat exchanger inside of a gas furnace to crack.

A cracked heat exchanger will prevent the furnace from working properly, and this problem usually means that you will need to have your furnace replaced. An even bigger issue is that a cracked heat exchanger can allow carbon monoxide and other dangerous combustion fumes to escape and circulate throughout the entire home.

Over time, the inside of your vent covers can become clogged with lint, hair, and debris, which will prevent as much air from flowing out of the vent. This is why it is always a good idea to regularly remove all of your vent covers and vacuum the cover and vent. If the cover is overly dirty, you may also want to clean it with warm, soapy water.

Expert HVAC Services in Detroit

If you need to have your vent covers replaced or require any other HVAC service in the Greater Detroit area, C & C Heating & Air Conditioning is here to help. Our certified technicians install, repair, and service air conditioners, furnaces, ductless mini-splits, and other HVAC equipment. We also specialize in duct cleaning, duct repairs, and water heater services. Concerned about the air quality in your home? C & C Heating & Air Conditioning also installs and services a wide range of indoor air quality equipment including humidifiers, air filtration systems, and HVAC UV lights. For more information or to schedule a service call, contact C & C Heating & Air Conditioning today.

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