What Size Return Air Grille Do I Choose?
Beneath every return air grille is a return vent that provides a path for warm or cool air within the home to return to either your furnace or AC unit to be recharged and reused. Instead of constantly cooling or heating fresh air, your return vents allow treated air to be recycled. This type of continued circulation or closed-loop system is designed to equalize the home’s air pressure, will use less energy and can reduce the demand on your system’s A/C compressor or furnace burner and blower motor.
However, you don’t have to be stuck with the industrial-looking return air grille that came with your HVAC system.
Why replace your return air grille?
Replacing your return air grille (or vent cover) has a few advantages. First, you can remove the conventional louvered vent cover and replace it with a stunning decorative element that adds architectural detail to a room and enhances your home’s beauty, rather than detracting from it.
Second,a decorative return grille or filter grille from Beaux-Arts Classic Products will actually improve the overall efficiency of your HVAC system. Also, Beaux-Arts Classic Products returns and filter grilles will never make that irritating high pitched noise the white louvered grilles make.
At Beaux-Arts Classic Products, you will find a wide selection of decorative return air grille styles that are available in standard sizes, as well as unique sizes. As a matter of fact Beaux-Arts Classic Products mes as many sizes as the big HVAC grille manufacturers.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you size your grille.
Understanding duct size vs. filter size
The duct size of each portion of your HVAC system was specifically designed to meet the home’s air flow patterns as measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute). Typically, the size of a standard return grilleAlso, all major grille manufacturers assign part numbers for grilles based on the duct size. So an RR-209 10×10 is made to cover a 10×10 duct but measures 12×12 is generally 2” larger than the duct size the grille covers.
Remember, your duct size is the inside opening measurement of the duct. The overall size of the grille will be larger than this opening to accommodate the offset of the grille border where the screw holes are located. This ensures the grille or cover can be properly drilled into solid wall. Always order a replacement grille by the duct size.
- Beaux-Arts Classic Product’s Return air grille measurements are listed as height x width, so that all 4”, 6”, 8” tall grilles are displayed together properly on the internet.. It is important not to mix up the orientation of these numbers, since features of the grille have been designed for this WxH orientation.
- Also, duct grille sizes are standardized in 2-inch increments. Always, upsize any fractions to the next even whole number, such as 6, 8 or 10.
How to size a return air grille
Duct opening without a grille
If you are installing a new return air grille over a newly exposed duct opening, simply measure the duct size. Any fractional measurements above a whole number should be rounded up to the next even number.
A 7-7/8″ x 11-3/4″ duct would require an 8″x12″ return air grille, so order a RR-209 8×12 grille.
Replacing an existing grille
Since the return air grille is larger than the duct it covers, you may want to consider how much border you want for your replacement return air cover. Most grilles allow for at least a 3/4″ border around each edge of the grille to clear the duct opening and provide enough space for screw fasteners.
A grille that measures 12” x 12” on the outside is usually covering a 10” x 10” duct.
Replacing an existing filter grille – the key to ordering a decorative filter grille from Beaux-Arts Classic Products is the filter size and orientation. If your existing filter grille uses a 12” x 24” filter, then the filter size is also used in the grille part number. But you may need to know the orientation of the filter since it can be used in a horizontal or vertical orientation. Some decorative designs such as Beaux-Arts Classic Products Arts and Crafts Style grilles work in either orientation, but the Louis IV Style grilles are designed in either a horizontal or vertical design.
Replace your return air grille with a functional work of art
Beaux-Arts Classic Products creates stunning return air grilles and decorative vent covers that are masterfully reproduced from historical designs. Learn more about what makes our supply vent covers so extraordinary, and find the perfect return air grille for your home.
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