Your home has air conditioning vents that are, to you, in a unique place – the floor rather than the ceiling. Why is this?
Air conditioning (and heating) vents can be placed on the floor or the ceiling, and the installation team chose the floor instead. This is ultimately beneficial for you, as there’s less airflow resistance and better heat transfer from floor vents than ceiling vents.
In today’s article, we’ll review the pros and cons of floor vents and compare them to the efficiency of ceiling vents. If you’re having second thoughts and want to rework the positioning of your vents, we’ll also talk about those expenses.
The Pros and Cons of Air Conditioning Vents in the Floor
There are plenty of reasons for homebuilders to install vents in your floor rather than the ceiling.
Perhaps venting to the ceiling would have proved too challenging at the time due to an unforeseen obstacle. Maybe it came down to a matter of pricing.
Either way, your air conditioning vents are in the floor, not the ceiling. Let’s go over the advantages and disadvantages of this vent placement.
1. Great Efficiency
We’ll talk later about which is the more efficient solution, but floor air conditioning vents are not to be slept on.
The air comes out lower compared to ceiling vents, which in turn reduces airflow resistance. This increases the efficiency of the vents so your home should feel more comfortable.
2. Good Heat Transfer
Of course, you’re interested in air conditioning efficiency, not heating efficiency, but that’s where floor events excel, nevertheless.
The rate of heat transfer is better with floor vents than ceiling vents because heat rises.
Your cold home will warm up faster, which will make the biting days of winter a lot easier to get through.
3. Unobstructed Walls
Few things interrupt the flow of a wall more than a large air conditioning vent smack-dab in the middle.
The eye naturally goes towards the vent because it demands attention.
You could try to hide the presence of the vent with a vividly painted wall, bright and patterned wallpapering, or even strategically-placed artwork, but the vent is still there.
Well, unless your home has floor vents.
Your walls will be completely unobstructed. This grants you more freedom when it comes to your decorative choices.
You can make those choices based on your tastes and desires rather than the urge to hide an unsightly wall vent.
4. Higher Ceilings
Most homes with floor vents have higher ceilings to boot since the vents are less obstructive and don’t hog up as much space.
Tall ceilings make any room feel noticeably larger. Even if you bought a home that lacks a lot of square footage, the tall ceilings can more than make up for the lack of space between the rooms.
5. Less Noticeable
We won’t go so far as to say that you’ll never notice floor vents because, of course, you will.
A floor vent can go more easily undetected than those unavoidable wall or ceiling vents.
As beneficial as air conditioning vents in the floor and not the ceiling can be, we’d be remiss not to cover the downsides of this vent placement. Let’s take a closer look at those disadvantages now.
1. It’s a Lot Easier for Them to Get Dirty
Ceiling and wall air conditioning vents can collect dust and dirt too, as it travels through the air, but there’s a lot more of both on the floor of your home.
The dust and dirt can accumulate within your floor air conditioning vents and, before you know it, reduce the efficiency of the vents.
You’d have to make cleaning the vents a very regular part of your household maintenance routine to prevent this outcome. 1.
2. Floor Vents Are Unappealing
While floor vents are not the most noticeable simply because the eye naturally doesn’t look to the floor, that doesn’t mean they’re invisible by any stretch of the imagination.
We mentioned that in the section prior, but we want to reiterate it now.
If the floor vent material contrasts too much with the trim around your lower walls or the material of your floor, then the vents will stick out like a sore thumb.
3. Kids Can Easily Block Up the Vents
If you have a full household with children, they too can pose a risk to the air conditioning vents in the floor.
The vents are far more accessible to the young’uns than wall or ceiling vents. Curious or bored children can insert all sorts of things in the vents that don’t belong there, from toys to candy and other food.
Once again, you have instant vent blockages preventing the air conditioner from effectively cooling your home.
You’d likely have to pay a technician to come out to the house to remediate the issue.
4. You Can’t Put Any Furniture in Those Parts of the House
Decorating your home becomes hard when you have floor vents. You have to be very choosy about where you put your furniture.
If the furniture is in front of the floor vents, then your sofa or desk completely blocks the flow of cold air (and warm air too, for that matter).
Those vents become useless, as they no longer contribute to the room’s overall coolness.
Depending on how many floor vents are in each room, you might have no choice but to block at least one or two of the vents because otherwise, you won’t have anywhere to place your furniture.
This means living with less cool air, which is unfortunate.
The alternative is to arrange your furniture in a way that looks and feels awkward as you try to avoid pushing anything against the wall.
5. Floor Vents Make a Lot of Noise
We want to make clear that ceiling air conditioning vents can be loud as well, but floor vents tend to make quite a lot of noise.
This is usually a correctable issue attributed to installation issues such as rushed or improper installation.
In the meantime, you’re stuck listening to a lot of rattling and rumbling.
Which Is More Efficient – Floor Vents or Ceiling Vents?
As promised, let’s compare floor and ceiling air conditioning vents to determine which is the more efficient.
To be clear, both types of vents are efficient in their way, but when it comes to cooling, there’s only one: ceiling vents.
You’ll recall that hot air rises, which means that cool air also sinks.
The very reason that floor vents are efficient at heating is why ceiling vents are better at cooling a space.
The cold air comes from the top of the room rather than the bottom. The cold air naturally falls as its trajectory predicts, which spreads the cool air throughout the room.
The cold air coming from floor vents would have to rise up to cool the room, which goes against the behavior of cool air.
You can still cool a room with floor air conditioning vents, but it takes longer to do. The AC will have to work harder to achieve the feat.
It’s just the same thing with heating via ceiling vents. Heat rises, so heat coming from the top of the room to the bottom goes against its nature.
You can warm your home if all you have are ceiling vents rather than floor vents, but the furnace or heater works much harder.
How Much Would It Cost to Get Air Conditioning Vents from the Floor to the Ceiling?
You’re a bit dismayed at this information, as you’re interested in increasing the efficiency of your home’s air conditioning.
Now that you know that floor vents don’t cool as well as ceiling vents, the only solution in your eyes is to get the floor vents removed and reinstalled in the ceiling.
You can only imagine what an undertaking this will be, so how much would it cost?
Well, you’re quite right that it will be an undertaking. HomeAdvisor quotes the price of the service between $453 and $2,060, with project costs possibly exceeding $4,689.
That all depends on the square footage of your property.
Installing ductwork–or reinstalling it, in your case–costs anywhere from $0.50 to $3 a square foot. Thus, the more square footage, the higher the project costs.
You would pay $1,100 to $6,880 for ductwork if your home is 1,000 to 2,500 square feet.
For a 2,000 to 3,500-square-foot property, your project costs range from $2,200 to $9,630.
Larger homes that are between 3,000 and 4,500 square feet or bigger are going to be the costliest. Getting ductwork installed would cost you $3,300 to $12,380.
The type of air ducts you choose is important too.
Flexible polyester ducts are the cheapest but last the shortest amount of time, so whether they’re economical is up to you to decide.
Flexible aluminum air ducts are more expensive but more durable. That said, they’re not terribly energy-efficient, which is detrimental.
Your third option is galvanized steel. This is quite the hardy type of air duct, but it’s hard to install and very costly. You might incur additional labor charges plus what you already paid for the ducts.
If you decide to add insulation to your new ductwork to make it even more efficient, you’re still looking at extra costs, anywhere from $1,000 on the lower end to $5,000 on the higher end.
Air conditioning vents installed in the floor and not the ceiling is a conscious design choice that might be made to maximize heating potential or for the convenience of the house design.
Floor vents have advantages, such as being easily accessible, less noticeable, and excellent at heating.
They’re not always great, though, as they get dirtier easier, make a lot of noise, and limit where you can put furniture.
Whether you decide to stick with floor vents or upgrade to ceiling vents is your choice, but now you should know which is the better option for your home!