Air Return Cover

Hello BPN!

My wife, 3month old, and I just moved to Albany. In the hallway next to his room is a large Air Return (metal grate with a huge hole). Does anyone have recommendations on how to cover this grate so that my future crawling son will not have to worry about it. The The concern is that the grate is sharp and also that he might try and pick it up. Thank you. 

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RE: Air Return Cover ()

The air return is an integral part of your home's heating and cooling system. If it is obstructed that will create a problem.

If you're not satisfied with the existing cover, you can get new ones. This is the company I used, they will make them to your size and color specifications:

If that's not sufficient, depending on the orientation it may be possible to build a permanent column / box above the return, and then having the grate be in the side of that.  That is a job for an HVAC specialist.

RE: Air Return Cover ()

We replaced the metal grate with a wooden one. As far as picking it up, our was really too heavy and unwieldy for our little ones to pick it up. You could put some adhesive on it that's strong enough to deter little fingers but easy enough for adult fingers to pry it up.

RE: Air Return Cover ()

When we moved into our house, we had a grate that is screwed into the floor installed where the old one had been. The only downside is you have to unscrew it to change the filter. Small toys can be dropped into it but the filter protects the heater's air intake.

RE: Air Return Cover ()

I ended up ordering a replacement grate through Etsy that fit the opening better than the existing one and didn't have sharp edges (if it's a standard size opening you could probably find something online or at Home Depot; mine was a funky size). Then I bought some Velcro to secure the grate to the floor--takes a good chunk of force to pull it up, so my kiddo can't move it but I can also still open it to replace the filters underneath. Alternatively, you could place something like a table over it. You want something that still allows air to flow into the return, so I'd recommend against fully covering it.

RE: Air Return Cover ()

Um, just in case no one gives you a "real" answer...we bought sassy duct tape (with a bacon print!) and taped it down. (Yeah, I'll go ahead and hide my user name. :) )