An air register is a device used to transfer air in or out of a room. The registers serve as part of the building's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, and can generally be found in any occupied room within the building. As the furnace or air conditioner heats or cools air, a blower directs this air into a series of supplies ducts. A air register sits at the end of each of these supply ducts, and serves as a transition between the duct and the room. A second set of air registers sits at the head of each return duct, which directs exhaust air from each room back to the unit.
Depending on the design of the room and the configuration of the HVAC system, an air register may be installed in the ceiling, floor, or wall. Some fit within soffits or bulkheads near the ceiling, while others are designed for baseboard installation. In many structures, installers place air registers just below the windows in order to minimize condensation and maximize comfort for occupants. The placement of an air register can also be influenced by local building codes or existing construction conditions.
Each air register features some form of vents or openings so air can pass through. The size and configuration of these openings determines air flow speed and volume. Older air registers consisted of flat metal panels with holes stamped into the face. Modern versions generally contain directional vents that can be adjusted to redirect air flow as needed. They may also include angled fins or blades so that air flows into the room at an angle, rather than in an uncontrolled manner.
Manufacturers produce air registers from a variety of materials, including metal and thermoplastics. Installers often select registers that match the surrounding room where they will be installed. Some can be painted to match walls or ceilings, while others feature a polished or brushed metal finish. When choosing pre-finished models, buyers should look for finishes that match other hardware within the space.
The performance of an air register may be impaired by dirt and dust buildup over time. To keep the HVAC system operating as intended, homeowners must clean and maintain these registers often to remove dirt and debris. If an air register gets damaged or badly clogged, it's often easier to replace the unit instead of trying to repair it. Most standard air registers are relatively cheap, and require little effort to remove and install.