Home>Discussions>INSULATION & HVAC>installing a cold air return vent cover upside down
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erikamc
installing a cold air return vent cover upside down
erikamc

I know this is a dumb question. My house is 65 years old and as such is not designed well for air conditioning. the short of my issue is, I have an airflow problem. I decided to install a new cold air return vent cover in my living room replacing the original one that had apparently been painted numerous times clearly reducing its ability to perform well. I got done installing the new one, looked down at it and realized, I put the darn thing on upside down. but I swear it seems like it pulls the air better in this position. Is that possible or am I just making this up?

dj1
Re: installing a cold air return vent cover upside down
dj1

The vent cover doesn't suck up the air, the blower action does.

If your a/c is off, there is no air suction.

Just install the vent register the way it should be.

ed21
Re: installing a cold air return vent cover upside down
ed21

Or does it work better because it isn't all clogged up with paint? Probably doesn't make much difference if it's installed backwards, upside down or inside out.

A. Spruce
Re: installing a cold air return vent cover upside down
A. Spruce
ed21 wrote:

Or does it work better because it isn't all clogged up with paint? Probably doesn't make much difference if it's installed backwards, upside down or inside out.

This! And, you know it's upside down and most other people that see it will know it isn't quite right either. Why not take the extra 3 minutes to take it off and install it properly, then never think or worry about it ever again.

If you like to boast about your DIY skills, as most people do, when other people see this they will NOT agree with your assessment of yourself and work quality.

erikamc
Re: installing a cold air return vent cover upside down
erikamc

So first off, yes, I admitted it was a stupid question. I promise I'm not mentally challenged. Therefore 1. I know its not the metal grate which is covering the hole in my wall that sucks in the air, and 2. that no air exchange will occur if the system isn't currently running. What I noticed when it was right side up is that it makes a high pitched whistling sound. What I noticed after I realized I had (halfway, because it was after the first screw was inserted) installed it upside down was that it does not make the sound. I checked with a couple of other people who live here to make sure they all heard the same thing I did and it was not just me. We have no logical explanation for why the "correct" way makes it sound like the system is struggling while the "wrong" way has no sound at all. I guess I was looking for some explanation or reason as to why this would be. Right now, I'm sorry I asked as apparently, I'm an absolute moron. So thanks, I think, for the help?

ed21
Re: installing a cold air return vent cover upside down
ed21

Seems like a better question might have been "why does a new r/a vent grill whistle when installed correctly and not when it is installed backwards."

A. Spruce
Re: installing a cold air return vent cover upside down
A. Spruce
erikamc wrote:

I guess I was looking for some explanation or reason as to why this would be. Right now, I'm sorry I asked as apparently, I'm an absolute moron. So thanks, I think, for the help?

That's a little harsh. I don't think anyone had negative thoughts about your question.

Since you are a bit more clear about your intent with your follow up I'll offer this. It makes no sense that a grill screwed to a wall/ceiling would be "directional" in nature, as it has no direct connection to the air handler to cause any issues. Are there any obstructions around the opening, such as insulation paper, drywall paper, or other things that could move, flap, or otherwise cause noise?

Now, if the grill is screwed directly to the air handler, then it is possible, though unlikely, that it is somehow distorting the case and causing a bind in the motor/fan housing. Maybe a grill is pinching a wire somewhere, causing a drain on power, but not a direct short.

Another test would be to simply hold the grill in place with the air handler running. If there is no directional difference in its operation, then you know it has something to do with the insertion of the screws for some reason. Again, I can't think why this would be the case, but stranger things sometimes, eh? If this is the case, then it boils down to the screws either binding or contacting something they shouldn't. Going on the theory of a binding problem, enlarge the screw holes in the grill (not the wall or air handler ) slightly and see if that makes any difference

Mastercarpentry
Re: installing a cold air return vent cover upside down
Mastercarpentry

And are you comparing sound with all the screws installed? Like a flute, a round hole will resonate with air moving through it so those holes need to be filled to properly evaluate things.

Phil

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