An air vent, as we characterize it, is something that covers a duct opening, which may regulate air flow, and ultimately is a contributory decorative element in distinguishing the residence. The substantively correct terminology is heat register, but over historical time air vents have metamorphosed into a commonly accepted term. However, to be accurate, an air vent is actually a cover that allows air to convect through an opening and is typically disconnected from an hvac heating or cooling system. An example would be foundation vents that allow circulation of air through a crawl area, or intake or exhaust vents associated with a fireplace, either indoor or outdoor. Alternative locations of air vents incorporate soffit vents in the eaves under a roof, in addition to areas associated with porches. We can provide accommodations for an individual air vent for not only the heating and cooling system application, but also for these other home locations.
Air vents for floor locations are typically held in place simply with gravity, although there are exceptions such as when they are used in a commerical application such as a hotel and must meet ADA requirements (American With Disabilities), in which case they must be screwed to the floor. When laying a new wood floor one can choose either a normal surface mount air vent or a flush mount version. Flush mount air vents are designed so that the top of the register is completely flush with the surrounding floor surface. This style comes with a frame which is nailed to the sub floor and then the requisite flooring is laid all around it. The gut portion (the faceplate part that the air flows through) rests on a small ledge inside the frame. Even though it is theoretically the same thickness as the surrounding floor, the top of the register is not exactly flush with the surrounding wood flooring. Even each strip of flooring is not the same as the next piece of flooring at this point. Once the floor is laid, the contractor sands the top surface with a floor sander. When that is completed the top of the floor and the air vent are at exactly the same level. Occasionally someone will call up and tell us that their existing flush mount air vent is broken. That is a good case for purchasing a vent with good quality joinery in the first place. It is a false economy to buy a vent that is 10 percent cheaper but has bad joinery. To make matters worse, the existing flush mount vent had been sanded so was not the normal thickness anymore. So a new insert that is placed in the opening, if you can find one with the correct overall dimensions, will certainly not be the same height. It will be too high. Hopefully you won't run into this situation, but if you do then by all means do not throw away the broken unit. You can mail us the pieces and we can custom make one to fit that will be exactly the correct height to just drop in.successfully.
Cast resin air vents are a category that are worth exploring. Cast resin vents are made in a mold similar to a cast metal, and when painted look for all intents and purposes like cast iron since the have a three dimensional appearance. However, they are much lighter, consequently they are an excellent choice for ceiling or wall application where actual cast metal might be somewhat nerve wracking to install, especially if you live in earthquake country. Plus, there is a very significant cost savings over cast bronze or iron. Because they are cast in a mold it is not really feasible to make custom sizes, but we have so many standard sizes that it is probably not an issue.
One difficult area to fit an air vent is in the toe kick are of a cabinet, such as you would traditionally find in a kitchen. There is usually adequate room to the left and the right of a duct opening, but it is not surprising to find the vertical space to be extremely limited. Luckily, we have the ability to fabricate air vents in either wood or metal in which you are able to choose both the overall dimensions that work the best in your application, but also the dimensions of the design opening, which often results in wider flanges on the left and right and narrow flanges on the top and bottom to fit the limited area. Furthermore, to avoid installation difficulties we often make these with completely flat so nothing need protrude into the opening.
With certain air vent designs such as the Rickenbacker style the faceplate design performs an effective job of preventing a person from looking inside a duct opening. However, there is a wide multitude of styles in which it is possible to look past the design into the duct opening itself. If you are like most homeowners you probably don't have perfect looking ducts. Often they are dusty and may exhibit a large collection of twisted and cut sheet metal edges and may even feature wall studs. Even brand new ducting is far from perfect since it is often exceedingly bright shiny galvanized metal, which tends to be relatively obtrusive. The best way around this is to carefully mask off the duct and then locate some flat black spray paint and give the interior of the duct a light coat of flat black. A light coat of fast drying paint such as Krylon acrylic will consolidate much more quickly than a thick coat and will be more than satisfactory as far as achieving the desired effect.
If one is using air vents as a method to contribute to airflow through a foundation, attic, porch or other air space that needs ventilation, as opposed to a installing them as part of a hvac system, then it might be advantageous to consider some sort of screening material with the purpose of preventing insect from entering or to stop birds from constructing nests, and possibly even to help avoid small creatures such as mice from taking up residence. A number of our air vent styles can be fabricated with the option of having screens for this purpose, including all models in the turn of the century collection as well as the modern contemporary style. There is a small up charge for the screen, but it is reasonable. Alternatively, all styles shown in the turner collection category are offered with an integrated three dimensional box screen at no additional charge. Furthermore, the collection of resin grilles found in the California mission collection can also be with screening material without a price increase. For exterior usage the resin is well suited simply due to it's outstanding durability.