If you're hungry you'll want to cook up some burgers on a grill (no e) in the backyard. You definitely won't find much success trying to cook anything on the wooden grille shown below (right). This is a good example of how confusing home related words like registers and grilles that mean almost the same thing but not quite.
No wonder it's so challenging talking to builders, remodelers and contractors about things in your home. That's why we're going to review the names used to describe the different home construction features that enable air to move throughout your home. Focus on on the concepts first as then you'll be able to describe what you want even if you can't remember the right words.
What is the Difference Between Registers and Grilles?
Both grilles and registers are vent covers covering a hole in the wall or floor in your house, where a duct enters the space/room. They're usually rectangular in shape but there are no standard shapes or sizes. That means it's important to take measurements before heading to the store to buy a replacement. So what's different?
- Grilles have slits that allow air to flow through the cover. The air might be warm or cooled air to change the temperature of the air in that room. And sometimes the flow of air is for ventilation to exchange indoor air with cleaner air from outside your home (get 10 Tips on Improving Indoor Air Quality). Some grilles have louvers that allow you to direct the flow of air.
- Registers are similar to grilles with one addition, a damper. The damper is a mechanism on the back that allows you to open and close the register to control how much air can flow through the hole.
You might prefer a vent cover that's almost invisible. Alternatively, you might want to find some registers and grilles that are simply beautiful. You can find them made of aluminum, painted metal and wood like these found on Amazon … shown above.
Registers and Grilles are Vents
Vents are simply openings that allow air (gas or liquids) to pass into and/or out of a confined space. So you might wonder how the air flow is controlled and that's where your HVAC system plays an important role.
- Supply vents are ones that deliver conditioned (heated or cooled) air to living spaces. This air travels from your HVAC system through ductwork until it enters livable space through supply vents. You may feel air blowing out through the vent but only when the HVAC system's fans are moving air.
- Air return vents are used by your HVAC system to suck air into a large duct that brings the air back to the system where it can be heated or cooled and redistributed. These vents are larger and typically found high up a wall in a hallway or in the ceiling. The air return vent is where you often need to replace air filters.
- Other vents in your house include dryer vents (shown below right), bathroom vents and often a kitchen vent over your stove.
You can learn more about registers and grilles here …