Air Circulation in Your House and Why It Matters

Supply and Return Vents in Each Room

Video Transcript

Listen, this is what we’re gonna go over next. We’re gonna go over basic Energy Star. This is gonna be really the meat and potatoes of what Energy Star is about. Tight houses, great windows, GEO unit, tax credits, Ultra-Aires, we got all these great features. But, the secret to Energy Star, is you got a supply and you got a return. And this return’s got a filter in it. So every room in this house has got a filter, and every room’s got a supply. It’s just basic stuff, okay? Air’s like water. The water pours in, water’s gotta have somewhere to go. Supply, return.

This is why houses don’t feel comfortable, okay? You go in your bedroom, you shut the door, now you got supply air blowing, but no return air in there. So what happens is, is that room gets stuffy, it gets, you know, the air’s not moving, it gets stagnant, the Energy Star package does away with all that.

Okay, let’s say your basic package for your house, a standard house, was $10,000, and it cost you $900 more to do the basic package, with a return in every room. Look, that’s a lot of comfort there, okay. You get a lot of comfort, you get the house is the same temperature. Look, you paid $300,000 for a house, you oughta be comfortable in it.

And there’s some Energy Star packages out there, don’t be fooled, okay? They call ’em jumper ducts. And all it does is here’s a room over here and here’s a room over here, and there’s two ducts that attach the two rooms together, no return air, just catches the two rooms. Jumper ducts is not what you want. If you’re gonna do Energy Star, do it the ultimate way, the house is conditioned, it feels comfortable. Anybody can go buy a house. They buy more square foot for the dollar, but things have changed, okay. People have gotten smarter, they’ve been in the house that the light bill was $400 a month and the gas bill was $500 a month. And they was going, “Honey cut the thermostat down,” and the husband’s complaining, “I can’t pay the light bill.” With an Energy Star house, you can pay the light bill, and you can be comfortable. But the returns in every room give you that comfort level, and that’s the key to it, is to be able to go in every room in this house, and it be the same temperature as every other room in the house. You’re paying this kind of money? Why don’t you get the best. You bought the Ferrari, why did you get the Kmart rims, dude? Get the best stuff. Get the Magnum rims with the BF Goodrich tires. If you’re buying the Ferrari, get the good stuff.


Proper air circulation in your house is very important when it comes to your home’s efficiency. Supply vents ensure even distribution of condition air, help optimize air flow, and increase comfort. Return vents in each room help balance air pressure, improve home air quality, and enhance the efficiency of your HVAC system. It’s important to add each of these when building your home to maximize efficient air circulation.


Getting proper air circulation in your house is important if you are building an energy efficient home. Thankfully, this air circulation system can be customized to fit your needs and space. It’s something we at Casey Services have done many times. In this blog, we’ll cover the home ventilation system and air circulation for a home we helped design here in Raleigh, NC. We will review some of the basics of home air circulation, benefits of adding supply and return vents in each room, and where to place these vents in your new home.

Airflow Circulation Is Key to a Comfortable Home

We’ve all been in rooms that felt stuffy, like we needed to open a window or turn on a fan. That is a sign of poor air circulation. Without proper circulation, air just sits and you get stagnant air in your house.

In your home, the indoor air flows through your HVAC system in a cycle that relies on both supply air ducts and return air ducts.

The supply duct provides the conditioned air for the room while the return duct takes up the stale air. It then moves through the central unit and then back out of the supply ducts.

Supply Vent

Supply Vent


Good ventilation and airflow is all about balancing these inputs and outputs in each room.

The graphic below illustrates the airflow dynamics of a system, detailing how air is pushed and pulled through supply and return vents.

Click to enlarge

The Benefits of Proper Indoor Airflow

More Comfortable

When the same amount of air is taken in the return air vent as is put out through the supply air vent, you’ll experience balanced air pressure. This means you avoid that stuffy feeling that happens when air is coming through a room’s supply but has no return ventilation, which pressurizes the room and results in stagnant air in the house.

Even Temperatures Throughout Your Home

Don’t you hate it when one room is super hot and another is freezing cold? With proper airflow, you eliminate those hot and cold spots in your house. This makes all the rooms closer to your desired temperature. It has the added benefit of being more efficient since you won’t be adjusting the thermostat just to try to get one room comfortable.

Better Indoor Air Quality

Proper indoor airflow improves home ventilation and produces better indoor air quality. This has a big impact on the health of every homeowner and their family.
With proper airflow, dust and pollen that makes it into your house is collected in the return air duct’s filter as it draws indoor air back into the HVAC system. The air is then particle-free when it comes out of the supply end. Now you can not only breathe easier but also clean less!

Less Wear and Tear on Your HVAC System

When conditioned air is able to circulate properly, it more efficiently changes the room temperature to meet your thermostat’s set point. As ENERGY STAR points out, “Airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent.”

Any roadblock to proper airflow makes your HVAC work harder and put on more mileage than it needs to. Without proper airflow, you may find yourself looking for replacement equipment years before it was meant to expire.

Proper Supply and Return Vent Placement

So what is proper supply and return vent placement? Well, the answer is that it varies. There are several factors to consider including where windows will be placed, room position, potential furniture placement, etc. Each house is different. Fortunately, if you’re building an energy efficient home, you have the ability to choose. Below are some basics that you should know when it comes to proper supply and return vent placement:

HVAC installer reviews his priorities list with a technician before heading to the job site
  • Supply and return in each room – It’s best to have a supply air duct and a return air duct in each room. It improves airflow and comfort while giving you fresher, cleaner air.
  • Filtered return air – Adding a filtered air return to your return helps capture the additional dust and allergies and prevents them from getting circulated back into your system.
  • Vent spacing – Vents should be located far enough away from each other that the conditioned air from the supply duct has a chance to circulate before it’s taken back into the return duct. For example, if the supply vent is near the floor, the return vent should be placed on the opposite side of the room and closer to the ceiling.

What Are Jumper Ducts and Why Should I Avoid Them?

Some people building their homes will opt for jumper ducts when they can’t have both supply and return ducts in each room. Jumper ducts provide a passive pathway for air to circulate between rooms so that when one room does not have a return duct, air can travel through the jumper duct that connects it to the next room that does have a return. Although this workaround can be economical, it doesn’t offer the same level of comfort for the folks who live in those rooms.


To optimize airflow in your new home, having a supply and return in each room is critical. It allows you to capture additional dust and other allergens and prevent them from circulating throughout your system. In addition, it also improves your home’s comfort and health.

If you want to learn more about the efficiency provided by proper airflow and HVAC design when it comes to building an energy efficient home, contact us and let’s start a conversation to see how we can improve the efficiency of your home and HVAC system.

Previous – Controlling Humidity in an Energy Efficient Home

If you are building your home and looking to manage the humidity levels, a whole house dehumidifier can greatly improve your comfort at home and save you money on your energy bills.

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Next – Heating & Cooling With the Horizontal Geothermal Loop

Incorporating geothermal heating and cooling in your energy efficient home is a great way to save energy and maximize efficiency.

Dean Casey kneeling down inside the geothermal horizontal loop explaining the water flow

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