Heating registers and vents

Figure 1. A floor heat register.[1]

Registers and vents, whether they are located on the wall, roof, or floor are an essential part of a home's HVAC system. Vents and registers direct air flow throughout a home and work to maintain uniform temperatures throughout the entire building, as well as adding to the aesthetics of a home's design. The heat registers use forced convection to move heated or cooled air. To make the most of the registers in a home, ensure that they are not obstructed by furniture or placed behind curtains so that air can flow easily throughout the room. In order to avoid cold spots heating vents are often placed directly below windows.[2]

Registers, like the one shown in Figure 1, are grates placed over ventilation openings in the home and are used to regulate airflow. These openings allow the homeowner to dictate the amount of air into a room and the direction of airflow into the room. Since registers can be opened or closed, it is sometimes beneficial to close off the registers in rooms that are not being used so that heated or cooled air is not moved into a room where it is not needed. The process of opening or closing a register is very easy, generally a lever (or a wheel like in the bottom of figure 1) is pushed to close shutters on the register and reduce airflow.[3]

Vents or grilles are openings where air is pulled out of a room and moved back towards the heating or cooling unit where the air is then treated. Grilles do not have controls to allow the homeowner to decide how much air goes into them, and they are connected to return ducts.[3]

For Further Reading


  1. Wikimedia Commons. (May 8, 2015). Floor Register [Online]. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons. Available: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Floor_Register.jpg#/media/File:Floor_Register.jpg
  2. Richard Tretheway. (May 8, 2015). Placement of Heat Registers [Online]. Available: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/asktoh/question/0,,20147844,00.html
  3. 3.0 3.1 Imperial Group. (May 8, 2015). Registers and Grilles [Online]. Available: http://www.imperialgroup.ca/registersgrilles_information.cfm

Authors and Editors

Jordan Hanania, Kailyn Stenhouse, Jason Donev
Last updated: January 31, 2020
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