What is An Air Vent Deflector and Do They Work?

Air Vent Deflector

What is an air vent deflector? Perhaps an HVAC technician or even a friend or family member has recommended them for your home.

This PickHVAC FAQ article, one of a huge library like it on our site, is the best place to research this topic and have the question answered. 

What is an Air Vent Deflector and Do They Work

Air vent deflectors are plastic accessories that go over the vents in your home to direct or deflect the air from going straight out of the vent when you’d rather have the air go somewhere else.

Air vent deflectors are also called air vent diverters and air diffusers.  They can be located anywhere where there is a vent present for your heating/cooling unit ductwork system.  They can be located on the wall, the ceiling, and on the floor, which is the most common place for them. 

What is the purpose of an air vent deflector?

Their purpose is to simply push or channel the air flowing from your vents to an area that you would prefer. 

Popular reasons to direct the air via an air deflector would be:

  • To keep the air from blowing on living plants and drying them out or potentially killing them
  • To keep air from “swishing” your curtains around, which can be a distracting nuisance
  • To redirect the air if the vent is obstructed by furniture – or to keep warm air from blowing directly onto wood furniture, which can dry out the wood and the glue, potentially damaging it in either scenario
  • To move the air to the center of the room to achieve better temperature balance without spots that are warming or cooler than average 

Types of air vent deflectors

There are three types of air vent deflectors that can be installed in your home.  Below is a list of the different types and how they will help improve your airflow in your home, as well as decrease your energy bill:

Types of air vent deflectors
  • Ceiling air vent deflector - deflectors that go over the vents located on your ceiling can push the air away from a corner, move air straight down, or even push air in one or more specific directions that are more commonly used than other space in the room. Ceiling air vent deflectors attach the vents by using magnets. The cost for ceiling vent deflectors varies depending on the brand, quality, and type.  The average cost is usually around $30 - $75. They’re usually a little more complex than the other types – more moving parts like directional air louvers – so cost runs higher.
  • Floor air vent deflector - floor air vent deflectors push air in a specific direction and they are usually between 10” and 14” in length. The width on many of them is adjustable, so you can fit the deflector on any of your floor vents. Floor air vent deflectors are most often attached to the vent or register by magnets.  The average cost for floor vent air deflectors is from $6 - $15 per unit.
  • Wall air vent deflector – Some wall vents are the same size as floor vents, so the same deflectors can be used.  However, many wall vents are wider than floor vents, so require different deflectors. If they’re made specifically for the wall – or just used there – they can be called wall vent deflectors. This type of air vent is also attached to the vents by using the attached magnets. The price to purchase wall air vent deflectors is the same as above, $6 - $28 per unit.

Pro tip on Wall Deflectors: During the winter months, you would install the deflector to direct the warm air downward. It will tend to rise, so this is the best choice – direct it to where people are located. During the summer months you would direct cooled air upward, since cool air will tend to fall. If you were to direct cool air down in summer, you’ll end up with a cool area near the floor with the air at head-height and above being too warm. 

Do Air Vent Deflectors Work

Would you benefit from installing air vent deflectors on your home?  The easy and short answer is YES!!  Air vent deflectors make your AC or heating unit more efficient by pushing or directing the air is going where you would like it to go.  When you install an air vent deflector over a register or vent you can also shut off the heat or air conditioning to a room by closing the deflector.

Not all air vent deflectors have this option to fully close, so if this is a feature you desire, please make sure that you purchase the correct type. This will allow you to push more heat or cool air to other rooms in the home that are being used. You’ll get the right rooms heated or cooled with the HVAC system not working as hard, which will save you money. 

Another way they “work,” is to get treated air (heated or cooled) to where it is needed most. If there is an obstacle in the way of essential airflow or if your home experiences cold drafts, installing a vent cover deflector or an air vent deflector will help fix the problem by pushing the air from the vent to where you would like it to go.

One energy-saving and cost-saving place to install air vent deflectors would be on vents near any windows.  Windows are a major source of heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter. For example, in winter, heat too easily passes through the glass – or through gaps if the installation is imperfect and drafty. Pushing either the cold or hot air out and away from the windows will save you money due to less heat or energy loss by the air escaping through the glass of the window. 

Installation Costs

Professional Installation - if needed, you can hire a professional contractor or an HVAC technician to install air vent deflectors on any of your vents that you wish to have air directed in a specific direction.  This is a job that will not take much time since most, if not all, air vent deflectors are connected by using strong magnets and tools are not required for installation.  Generally, a contractor charges either by the hour or by the entire job. 

Installing air vent deflectors by a professional contractor would not take more than an hour, so the average price for installation would be from $35 - $75, depending on the time of year and where you live, plus a service fee for coming to your home. Service fees range from $70 to more than $125, though many include up to one hour of labor.

DIY Installation - Installing air vent deflectors on your home is a project that most homeowners should be able to accomplish without much trouble. Simply measure the length of your floor or wall vents and measure the complete dimensions of your ceiling vents.  You can purchase the needed sizes of air vent deflectors from most hardware stores or big box stores, such a Home Depot or Lowes. If you prefer internet shopping, there are also many manufacturers that sell their goods online. 

Once you get the correct size air vent deflectors, all you have to do is place the deflector on the vent by using the attached magnets and make sure that the air is directed in the correct direction. 

The Bottom Line

Installing air vent deflectors on either the floor, wall, or ceiling vents in your home is a great way to make your heating or cooling system more efficient.  You can direct either warm or cold air away from curtains, plants, or furniture, as well as move air into a hallway or other areas that may have a draft or require a more direct airflow.  Purchasing and installing air vent deflectors is a cost effective way to improve both the comfort of your home and save money on energy costs.

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