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Forced Hot Air: Close off 3rd story from 2nd? And radon?

So we rent a place that has utilities included in the rent, and it makes sense for the landlord to do so because the 2nd and 3rd floor apartments are not metered separately for electricity and the two stories share a furnace.  In the last year, the landlord installed a gas wall heater in the 3rd story and wants to close off the vents to the 3rd story and put the oil bill in our name starting on January 1st.

Brief history:  the 3rd story was an attic, and was renovated to an apartment in the last 20 years.  At that time, we believe that two hot air ducts were added to the furnace.  They look newer than the ones going to our apartment.

So here's the question:  If the landlord has an HVAC professional close off those two ducts to the third story, can we expect that the heat from the furnace will be just going to our apartment? 

Separate question:  The furnace doesn't appear to have a return air duct (forgive my non-technical language) and seems to draw air from the basement.  Although the basement has recently had a radon removal system installed, should we be concerned that radon is being pumped into our apartment?

Thank you for helping us out, HeatingHelp.com!!


  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,226
    one thought

    Hello:  One thought on how to deal with the things you bring up is to use those two heating ducts, in part as a return air duct for your apartment.  Return air really should come from your living space, not the basement.

    There is a tool called a Duct Blaster, which is used to measure leakage is ducting.  Finding and sealing up leaky ducts could easily save you 30%.

    Yours,  Larry
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    I'd worry about CO...

    You are NEVER supposed to have the return air in the same room as the appliance, because it can overcome the negative draft potential of the flue gas and draw the products of combustion into the distribution system,

    If you don't have one, get one (CO detector for every floor)

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
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