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Changing return air path

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David_40
David_40 Member Posts: 7
My furnace is in a closet with doors. The draft air to the furnace comes down from the attic via a ducted in a wall. The furnace is a downflow model and the return air is brought back to the furnace via some vents in the ceiling(two locations)and ducts in the attic. When we bought the house we tried to insulate the attic ducts but there isn't any room to move around so we did our best. In the summer these ducts provide the cool air from a swamp cooler on the roof the furnace is isolated by some levers at the top of the furnace. There is a wall the furnace sits next to that adjoins the laundry room. I'm wondering if I could use a 90 degree piece of duct and a grill to bring the return air to the furnace through the wall adjacent the laundry room? I think the huge ducts in the attack are a terrible design and waste a lot of heat cycling the house air up through the cold attic. The laundry room is large and has two doors to it. I know that if both the doors are closed the furnace would have no place to get return air. What if one door was eliminated? The door that could be eliminated is a wall hinden rolling door that is between the kitchen and the laundry room. It serves no useful purpose other than possible reducing noise in the kitchen when the machines are running. With some molding and paint there would be no evidence the door was even there. The kitchen is open to the rest of the house so return air would always be available.

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  • Empire_2
    Empire_2 Member Posts: 2,343
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    Return Air...

    From kitchen, no. Laundry room, No, any bath no.... These are areas where it is usually against code to return air,..to where the available air would not react well to overall furnace operation and not to mention unpleasant odors and more into the rest of the house. I get that the apartment must be small and if your furnace is in a closet type enclosure, It MUST have louvered doors or other source of secondary air for combustion. Might not be a bad Idea to consult your local Professional that can look to see what you have and make a wise decision as to your problems.

    In my opinion, I would really make it right and see what can be done to solve the problem. This unit you are talking about has many potential problems and should be addressed accordingly. Make it safe, not just work..:-) OK?

    Mike T.
  • Techman
    Techman Member Posts: 2,144
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    Return Air from where?

    David,on ANY warm air furnace YOU are never allowed to have the furnace return air "pulling "from the same room as the air for combustion air and/or dilution air and/or draft damper air. The pull of the return air WILL cause flue gases to be brought back down the chimney and into the house! The return air should be ducted to a spot from the common house air,not laundry area,all those chemicals! not bathrooms either,all those chemicals!
  • David_40
    David_40 Member Posts: 7
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    Okay well maybe my thought was crazy technically. I owned a home once that had an upflow furnace and the return air for it was nothing more than a grill on the side of the wall directly into the bottom of the furnace. So I was thinking of the same thing only at the top of the furnace. For sure I'd have a pro do this and advise. The furnace gets its combustion air from a duct feeding the furnace closet down from the attic. The air I'm talking about is the recirculating air. I just think circulating the warm house air round an round through the cold attic is a bad design. Yes the furnace closet does have lovered doors. I didn't know that was a secondary source for combustion by design. The laundry room is far remove though from the lovered doors so there is no way flue gases could get returned back through the laundry room. In fact there is a return duct about 7 feet away from the louvered doors and once a heating man told me it was a code violation but since the house was build in 1972 it is exempted. Well thanks for the help this looks like an informative site.
  • Techman
    Techman Member Posts: 2,144
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    David

    as long as the return air cannot suck the furnace exhaust air back down the the chimney and into the house and KILL someone or KILL everyone go for it! The EXEMPT status does NOT apply to DEATH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • David_40
    David_40 Member Posts: 7
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    My house was built in 1972 and the furnace has louvered doors. It also has a combustion air duct from the attic. One of my two return air ducts is in the same hallway as the furnace closet. The duct is in the ceiling and actually measuring a straight line from the duct inlet to the front of the louvered doors is about 9 feet. I had a new furnace installed about 8 years ago and had to have the installation inspected at the time. The first inspector came out and got bent out of shape over the location of the return ducted and flunked my entire house. I called the gas company and they sent a second inspector that wasn't a 20 something kid out of tech school. The second inspector said the installation and return duct was fine but in new construction it would fail. Follow the money and lawyers and you will see the reason for ever increasing obsurdity in safety and codes. There is no way any flue gases could possibly make that 9 foot loop. I owned another new house and the return duct was on the side of the funace a whopping 2 feet from the door to the furnace closet. The door to the closet didn't have seals and weather strip so I'd wager more potential for flue gas contamination existed with that new 'code approved' intallation that in this configuration. My thought of getting the return air from the laundry room puts rooms and walls between the flue gases and the return so that isn't a concern here. I'm going to have the gas company send someone out to take a look at my idea and see what they say.
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