What is a Central Return?

In a perfectly designed duct system, the supply and return ducts are equally balanced. However, in the vast majority of homes the CFM’s (air flow) are usually less on the return side. Many subdivisions have homes with only one return called a central return. They are usually located in a hallway or sidewall if the furnace is in a closet. The problem with this type of system is that the house is usually not very comfortable, especially if the interior doors are kept closed. This type of ductwork along with closed doors may result in a very unbalanced and noisy system.

Side Effects:

  • Noise – Central returns usually are very loud.
  • Rooms are not heated or cooled evenly.
  • Fireplaces can backdraft and bring in soot and fireplace odors.
  • Home is always dusty.
  • Infiltration causes utility bills to be higher.


  • Adding bypass grilles in doors or walls.
  • Adding jumper ducts via attic or crawl.
  • Adding additional return ducts.

If you have any comfort issues please give us a call for a FREE in home evaluation.

central return