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Can you put furniture over floor vents? We have all had that problem when rearranging, reorganizing, or furnishing a new space.
We ask ourselves if the placement of our furniture is truly safe.
Builders do not necessarily design homes with the interior furniture in mind when they are building them.
After all, how could they anticipate what interior designers would cook up decades later.
How much easier would an interior designer’s job be if someone designed houses for them with the interior in mind?
Those planning the perfect comfy interior are sometimes limited by the house designers’ whims, including the vent placement.
While vents seem harmless, there can be furniture that doesn’t do well over vent, and there is a chance to cause serious harm to your HVAC system.
The thing about air is that you never want it to stagnate.
In fact, most natural things don’t do well in a closed system, including water, air, food, and plants.
This quality, of course, includes the air that comes out of your vent from your HVAC system. Stagnate air can cause various problems for your furniture, home, and health.
Mold and mildew are the happiest when settling down in a dark, damp area. As it turns out, putting furniture over vents creates the ideal environment for them.
A constant flow of air moisture gives them the ability to grow, and the dark underside of your furniture keeps the disinfecting sunlight away from them.
Your furniture sitting over your vent is at risk of growing mold and mildew if it is upholstered with organic fabric like cotton and linen and even some types of synthetic materials.
Tip: Materials that soak up moisture are called hygroscopic and are food to mold and mildew.
Lots of humidity and moisture can be a bad environment for wood furniture.
As a former living thing, wood furniture was adept at absorbing and storing water when it was alive.
It turns out this ability carries into its afterlife as a couch or chair, wood furniture can become warped, and wood joints loosen and crack with high amounts of moisture.
Wood’s ability to absorb moisture can be mitigated somewhat by wood stainers and sealers.
Still, over time, those sealers can break down with enough humidity, and all you will have done is buy time until the process has started.
Furthermore, if the wood is in constant contact with the dry air from the vent, then the wood will become too dry and could crack or loosen.
Tip: To get the most use of wood furniture, make sure they have used environments without much humidity and are safely away from air vents.
If the air you live or work in is not correctly circulated, you might experience an environment full of molds and mildews that can grow uninterrupted.
Mold spreads its microscopic spores through the air, which can have mild to severe health effects when breathed in by a person.
More prominent mold spurs can cause watery eyes, runny nose, difficulty breathing, headache, and fatigue.
Also, the more you are exposed to mold spores, the more sensitive you can get to them, leading to increasingly severe reactions.
Mold can also make you more susceptible to other illnesses like COVID-19, or conversely, other diseases can knock out your immune system and make you more sensitive to the harmful health effects of mold.
A unique classification of molds called “black molds” can make you more susceptible to mold poisoning, which a 2012 study has shown increases the risk of children developing asthma.
Tip: Before asking, “can you put furniture over a vent?” and writing off the risks, be sure to do your research and come to your conclusions.
If you use a furnace to heat your home, you are putting your house at risk of starting a fire if you cover your vents with furniture.
Furnaces use a metal coil called a heat exchanger to filter cool air to the furnace to make sure it doesn’t overheat.
When you cover your vents, less cool air will get filtered down to the heat exchanger, and less cool air will get to the furnace. This process will result in cracks forming in your furnace as it expands from the heat.
You will be the victim of a colossal furnace repair bill and a freezing winter house when your furnace overheats into a state where you can’t use it.
And that is, if you are lucky, in the worst-case scenario, an overheating furnace can be the cause of a house fire.
While that may temporarily warm you up in the winter, the consequence of your house smoldering will overtake that benefit.
Tip: Keep fire hazards away from any vents in your home.
While it may seem paradoxical, a covered vent can also cause an air conditioning unit to work harder because it thinks it isn’t cooling down the room fast enough.
The covered vent increases the heat in the room, which will cause your AC unit to kick into overdrive more often.
This process is unsuitable for the unit because the AC unit will use more energy and put out so much cold air it could freeze its working parts.
At least with this one, you won’t have to worry about “freezing” your house down, but the repair bill will be just as harmful to get your AC up and working again.
Tip: Keep your AC at a set level throughout the day instead of letting it automatically change.
Now that you are aware of the dangers of covering your air vent, you may now have the opposite question, how can I best improve the airflow of my vents and home?
Thankfully, this is a question with some straightforward answers.
It is recommended to leave at least 18 inches between overhanging furniture your vents to promote the best airflow situation and ensure that you have free-flowing non-stagnate air.
18 leaves enough breathing room for air to move around your furniture without getting trapped.
It is not enough to get rid of overhanging furniture, but furniture can also block horizontally.
Tip: Make sure there are 18 inches on all sides of your vent free so that the air has many options to go to escape and circulate.
Also known as vent covers, these deflectors are curved and can redirect the flow of air away from problematic furniture that can trap it in its place.
The effects of cupboards, couches, shelves, and chairs can all be somewhat mitigated using a vent deflector.
Even if you are being reasonable about furniture distance, and vent deflector can help with air circulation on its own by redirecting circulating air.
It is worth mentioning that pets and small children can fiddle and mess with vent deflectors and lessen their impact on freeing up your airflow.
If you have any of these adorable things in your home, you might want to also invest in countermeasures to avoid their fiddling attempts.
Tip: You could include custom grilles that are tamper-resistant or covers that blend into the room they are in so they don’t stand out so much.
Read Next: Does Stanley Steemer Move Furniture?
Can you put furniture over floor vents? The short answer is no; the potential risks are not worth it in nearly every case you can think of.
From health hazards to fire safety hazards, this practice of covering a vent with furniture is not worth the convenience of placing that one piece of furniture in a perfect spot.
Instead of that, next time, draw a plan of your room and furniture with the vent in mind before buying.