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Why Your HVAC System Needs Fresh Air Intake Vents

HVAC November 3rd, 2022 Back to HVAC Blog

Your heating and air conditioning system sends warm and cool air throughout your home, providing comfort all year long. Simple enough, right? Not quite. There is a component that plays a crucial role in keeping the air in your home safe for you to breathe: the fresh air intake vents.

Fresh air intake vents are simply the way your home takes in fresh outside air, making sure the air inside your home isn’t overtaken by contaminated or toxic air. It is an air duct that starts in the space where the furnace is located – usually the basement – that leads to an outside vent.

Depending on the age and size of your home, you might have one fresh air intake vent or you might have many. Outside air has an easier time sneaking into older homes on its own through cracks and crevices, so one vent usually does the job. Newer homes are built with more insulation making them nearly airtight and, as a result, requiring several fresh air intake vents.

Benefits of Fresh Air Intake Vents

Aside from the essential benefit of keeping your indoor air quality at healthy levels by preventing carbon monoxide and contaminants like pollen, mold spores, pesticides and other chemicals, fresh air intake vents also:

  • Lessen the amount of dust in your home
  • Improve the efficiency and lifespan of your furnace.
  • Reduce air drafting from windows and doors
  • Provide replacement air to balance the air removed when using your range hood vents, bathroom exhaust fans and clothes dryers.

Does the Type of Furnace Matter?

Most home furnaces fall into one of two categories: conventional or high efficiency. With a conventional furnace, a fresh air intake filter is needed so that the furnace does not pull air from what we call “unconditioned” places in the home where air quality is poor. This includes the basement, crawl spaces, attics, even dryer vents. With the filter, the replacement air is drawn from outside the home.

A high efficiency furnace already has a fresh air intake filter built in. In this case, installing additional fresh air intake filters will help counteract the condensation and moisture created by the furnace’s combustion process.

Taking Care of Your Fresh Air Intake Vents

Fresh air intake vents aren’t high maintenance but they do require basic care to make sure they continue to work properly:

  • Replace the air filter of your HVAC system
    Replacing this filter regularly will help remove dust and other contaminant particles from the air traveling through your home. You should replace this filter at least every six months. If you have pets, every three months.
  • Clean the fresh air intake vents
    You don’t necessarily need to do this but if you prefer to do so, you can remove any dust or dirt buildup on the face of the vent with a vacuum cleaner or a cloth dampened with water, not cleaning products.
  • Don’t block the vents
    You might think that pulling cool air inside your home during cold weather doesn’t make sense when you’re trying to heat your home, so you block the vents. This can lead to a dangerous situation. By blocking the vents you are creating negative pressure, which can cause a backdrafting of toxic fumes like carbon monoxide.

If you want to know if you have the right number of fresh air intake vents in your home or would like to be sure they’re working properly, our experienced technicians are happy to help. Call 215.799.2019 or visit us online to learn more about our heating and air conditioning services.


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