Heat Vent 101: Difference between HVAC Air Supply Vent, Grill and Register?

Looking to get a new set of Grills and vents for your home, but not sure which ones would be the right fit for your HVAC ducts. If you are considering investing in air return grills for your home, it is important to understand what they are. When it comes to selecting the right fit for your duct space, we understand it can be confusing with the wide variety available in the market.

|“Luxury is when it seems flawless, when you reach the right balance between all elements. Understated theatricality – that is what my luxury is all about.”

– Jean-Louis Deniot

The best way to start is by measuring your duct opening size. We always recommend you measure the inside of the duct opening before looking to place an order as many companies have varied outer sizes. We have a guide for you here on how to measure your duct opening accurately.

Secondly, it is important to understand the function of your HVAC ducts.

Homeownership is a responsibility and HVAC system maintenance, though not a regular job, is very important as it is a part and parcel of keeping the home run right. To take care of your HVAC system, it is very important to understand its functioning and what is the difference between HVAC air supply vent, grill and register. Apart from knowing the difference, it is also important to know what are the common problems that can occur to your HVAC system.  

So, how do HVAC ducts function?

 The main role of the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system is to pull air in through an intake vent and then heat or cool the air. The system then forces the cooled or heated air out through the ducts. This helps in maintaining the temperature of the space where the air ducts are opening. There is a misconception that HVAC ducts cts as lungs to a home but the right thing would be to say that HVAC ducts works as arteries to the complete HVAC system. As it is important to keep our arteries clean for proper nutrition to the body, it is important to keep the HVAC ducts clean for proper flow of air which will be healthy and safe.

air supply vent with metal louver damper

What is an Air Supply Vent?

Air supply vents also commonly known as heat vents or registers help to control the airflow in your room. They usually have louvers a.k.a dampers at the back of them to help you adjust the flow of air. The louvers have a mechanism to easily open and close to adjust the heat and coldness of the room, as well as redirect the airflow. All our heat vents are made of Solid Cast Aluminum and have a metal thickness of the faceplate of 1/4 inches, the damper itself is 1 inch in closed form and opens up to have a total area of 1½ inches. We would recommend having a free space of about 2 inches deep to accommodate the louvers.

What is an Air Return Grill?

Air return grills are normally found to source air in central heating and cooling units, grilles are vent covers that allow air to circulate back into a room. Grilles do not have dampers for regulating air flow, so air flows freely through them. Some people prefer this as they want to control the flow of air in the room, whereas others simply prefer the use of a grill cover without a damper. Normally, you will not find small-sized Air Return covers in the market, but we have got you covered. You can shop for a Small Air Return grills here.

air supply vs. air return grill

Difference between an Air Supply Vent and Air Return Grill?

The very common visible difference between an Air Supply Vent and Air Return Grill is that Supply vents come with back louvers, Registers and Hardware only uses metal louvers for all their sizes, unlike other cheap plastic dampers you might find commonly available in big box stores. The adjustable back dampers in an Air Supply Vent can easily open and close the airflow of your room.

The purpose of an air return is to remove air from a room and recycle it through the system to further condition it by cooling or heating. The air returns are usually found either in hallways or in the ceiling.

But that isn’t all the difference there is, you can easily identify an Air Return Grill by the size. The grilles are usually bigger as compared to the Heat Vents. And come with an overall back frame at Registers and Hardware. All our Air Returns can be found with an overall back frame that easily interlocks with the duct opening and prevents movement. Ta-da also saves you the hassle of drilling holes in your floor, in case you have a slightly odd-sized duct opening. All our sizes in vents and grills come with the choice of ordering Without Screw Holes for the Floor or With Screw Holes for the Wall. The With screw option can also be used for floor duct openings. Feel free to get in touch with us here if you have any questions.

Since these grills are made of Solid Cast Aluminum metal, you do not have to worry about them breaking on a stepover. Please note, we only recommend our grills for occasional stepovers and not for high-traffic areas. Just in case, you are looking for a grill for a busy area with more traffic, feel free to contact us and we can provide you with a quote for a Steel metal grill. Yes, Custom work means any size and also design can be made. Win-win for all!!

Don’t forget to check out the process of how your custom grill is made.


Common problems that occur with HVAC system:

Leaks- This is a common problem with all HVAC connector and drain lines. The leaks can force the system to run harder than it should and could lead to having a part replacement. 

Corrosion- Corrosion can occur on the wires or terminals related to the HVAC system and can generally cause the heating or cooling system to switch on and off on its own. 

Dirt and debris- As described above, it is important to keep the HVAC system free of dirt and debris otherwise it can reduce the air quality and can also clog the system