Can I Put Furniture Over Air Vent?

Seasons change – and you might be ready for a change to the way your furniture is arranged. Everyone gets tired of a room configuration at some point. 

A question arises as you plan your new room layout: Can I put furniture over air vents in the floor?

furniture over vents

You can cover a floor vent, but you shouldn’t put furniture over an air vent if you want to avoid problems with heating and air conditioning your home – and of course, you do. Your furniture won’t like the air either – especially hot air when the furnace is running.

This page explains the problems with placing furniture over an air vent. Plus, it provides furniture placement tips and a solution when you have no other choice but to cover an air grate with furniture.

Is Airflow Important?

Adequate airflow is what will ultimately determine the comfort of the room. Setting furniture over a forced-air air vent will prevent the heat or air conditioning from circulating into the room. As no surprise to you, this will cause the temperature in the room to be too cold in winter and too hot in summer because air is getting blocked and trapped under the furniture.  

There are issues for the furniture too:

  • On muggy summer days, your air conditioning removes excess humidity from the air. Blocking the register can cause the humidity in the room to get too high causing excess dampness which can damage wood furniture and upholstery as well. Mold and mildew thrive in a humid environment and can begin growing in the furniture fabric causing permanent damage. Plus, those nasty substances can be especially troublesome for those that suffer from allergies or asthma. Additionally, prolonged exposure to the moist air may cause the furniture to warp.
  • On cold winter days, excess heat directly below a piece of furniture can cause the wood and the glue in furniture to dry out. Glued joints and boards may loosen and crack, shortening its life cycle. And when the heat is trapped, not making it to the thermostat, the furnace will just keep running, magnifying the problem.

Proper Airflow for Heating and Air Conditioning

To ensure that your HVAC system operates properly, all the air vents should be able to freely draw in and circulate air, so it can get conditioned to the preferred temperature setting and easily be pushed throughout the home. If the air vents are blocked, it will limit that airflow and force your system to work harder to recirculate air through the ventilation system. This will increase the amount of energy needed to achieve optimal room temperature resulting in higher utility cost.

Covering or closing the vent also restricts the air supply and can cause the overworked HVAC system to create problems. Moisture and condensation that could freeze the cooling coils in the air conditioner is a common problem caused by restricted airflow during the warmer months. Overheating the furnace in the colder temperatures might cause the heat exchanger to crack, which could emit deadly carbon monoxide.

In other words, aside from the higher utility cost, the continual operation of the HVAC system could cause damage to the units and result in very costly repairs.

There are Solutions!

Before you decide to move the furniture back, there could be some simple solutions that will allow you to embrace the room’s new look. One idea would be to move the large furniture a few inches away from the wall, to where it won’t cover the vent. Then place a narrow table, sometimes called a sofa table, behind it that will allow the air to flow directly up and give you an area to display photos or art.

Depending on the height of your furniture, you may also be able to use any variety of available air deflectors and extenders. They easily attach with magnets to the top of your vent and direct the air out from beneath furniture or around any obstacle. You can find low-profile versions that will work for such an application. The slim design fits under the furniture and forces the air out the side.  They are relatively inexpensive and can be found at any local home improvement store. 

If the furniture sits too close to the floor, you may consider changing the legs to something slightly taller that will elevate the furniture and allow for the vent to be exposed and the air to freely flow beneath or around it, if necessary, use an angled deflector that will easily change the direction of the flowing air.

Pro Tip: Avoid upholstered furniture that has skirts – flaps at the bottom – which won’t allow air out even if you use an air deflector.

Comfort and Indoor Health

The first consideration should always be the comfort and wellbeing of your home, and healthy air quality is an important element to achieving that goal. Plan your furniture arrangement to make sure that the vents can function unobstructed to assure the HVAC system can operate optimally.

There are cost benefits too! The energy you will save and the longer lifespan of your furniture and HVAC units will spare you the expensive replacement cost and excess service or repair calls.

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