View Full Version : Return Air ?
12-27-2006, 10:58 AM
I have a young relative who is looking at purchasing an older (1900 era) home, and he was showing me some pictures over the Christmas holiday.
The house has a one or two year old Lenox furnace that appears to have been tied into an old set of octopus (mess) of supplies.
All it has for return air is an open plenum on the side of the furnace (basement) and some cast iron grates in the floors of the rooms above.
I'm sure this is a very inefficient way to heat this house, but is it SAFE, done this way. Should he be concerned about backdrafting CO into the house with this setup.
It's about a 1000 sqft rambler in northern Iowa, and I'm sure has no insulation in the walls or ceiling.
12-27-2006, 11:41 AM
If the water heater is naturally drafting it needs to be at least 10 feet away from any return air opening or you can risk pulling flue gasses into the home. It would be best if the returns grates in the floors were ducted to the furnace.
12-27-2006, 12:11 PM
Also - please be conscious that with a hundred + years of remodeling, furnaces require fresh air for combustion, so it's really a good idea to have a lic. HVAC professional evaluate the install before closing.
12-27-2006, 12:27 PM
Sounds like an old coal furnace was in it's place at one time. With the open return, he's heating the basement as well. Also distributing basement smell all over the house. A ducted return can be added, though I would budget for a revamped supply duct system as well.
12-27-2006, 02:50 PM
I would go for free air return in a basement any day. It helps humidify the house in the winter, allows more cfm due to less pressure loss from return ducts, less expensive and it allows you to in effect a/c your basement in most cases without a whole new system. You may need to add a supplemental heater such as a small unit gas heater vented or nonvented depending on the size. As long as the gas hot water heater is not to close to the furnace return plenum you are good to go. PS it also dehumidifys the basement and keeps the basement fresh with no extra cost.
12-27-2006, 04:44 PM
If the furnace is 90%, no A/C and water heater is electric, then should be ok. is the basement overall pretty clean and dry?
But if it's gas water heater and has A/C, I'd get him to get a return tied up to the main floor.
12-27-2006, 08:14 PM
The basement looks quite damp and dirty from the pictures I saw. It does have A/C and an electric water heater.
12-27-2006, 08:19 PM
Co should not be a serious problem as long as the furnace is vented properly. Good air quality should be more a concern at this point. Get a certified tech to properly check the size of the openings in the floors that is serving the furnace and consider having duct work done.
12-27-2006, 08:24 PM
yeah, get a certified tech.
12-28-2006, 10:26 PM
your a/c will run forever in the summer if you don't hook up those returns to the first floor.
12-29-2006, 01:48 PM
Dude, you need a contractor out there to look at it!
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