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08-13-2012, 06:38 AM #1New Guest
- Join Date
- Aug 2012
Basement Cold Air Return Placement
First time poster in need of advice. I am in the process of having a new furnace quoted for a northern Michigan part-time residence. The basement area (700 square feet, three rooms) has never warmed particularly well, and I have been told it would benefit from additional cold air return.
In this instance, installing a floor-level return is a physical challenge. Contractor #1 proposes to run a return in two rooms; in each case the return would be in the ceiling located about 7 feet from the ceiling heat vent. Contractor #2 proposes to run a single floor-level return in an area that would generally serve both of these rooms. This contractor has no faith in a ceiling cold air return.
I am wondering if I should insist upon floor-level placement. Best course of action? All thoughts are welcome.
08-13-2012, 09:11 AM #2
Is the basement insulated? It should be cost effective to insulate it since you are in a cold climate.An answer without a question is meaningless.
Information without understanding is useless.
You can lead a horse to water............
08-13-2012, 09:31 AM #3
Is the basement finished? No return should be in a basement if it will have direct line of sight to gas burning equipment, such as a water heater, boiler, or furnace. If these items are in a mechanical closet that is air sealed from the basement but can get combustion air from outdoors, then you're good with a return in the basement (as long as it's not in the same closet with the equipment!)."In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!"
- Homer Simpson
08-14-2012, 06:36 AM #4
A return does not insure warmth. If you have an open door to the upstairs and the doors of the basement rooms are not sealed you likely have an effective warm air return. What you may lack is a separate zone for the lower level. Though most basements have lower heat loads than the upper floors, they usually do not have solar gain, shutting down the furnace for long periods of time and idling off the heat to the basement as well. Warm air rises while cold air naturally fall to the lowest level.
I would look into a basement zone. It works for our customers and in my own house as well.
08-18-2012, 07:53 AM #5New Guest
- Join Date
- Aug 2012
Thanks to all for your feedback; very helpful. The basement is not insulated and half finished. Safety wise, there would not be a direct sight line from the furnace to the proposed cold air vent. Furnace combustion air is drawn from outside.
A basement heat zone is probably more than I want, given my residential frequency. There is an open stairway to the upstairs. I am leaning toward the proposed single floor-level return vent.
08-18-2012, 10:06 AM #6
The type of supply register will determine if your going to have a warm basement or not. If the supply just throws the air across teh ceiling and not downward, your basement will be cold.Contractor locator map
How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?
08-18-2012, 11:10 AM #7Professional Member*
- Join Date
- Mar 2009
- Mount Holly, NC
how much of the basement is below grade?
with an open staircase, you would need to have nearly all the return air drawn from the lowest part of the basement to get decent warm air down there.
in cold climates, I'd invest in radiant floor heating for a basement...The TRUE highest cost system is the system not installed properly...
The three big summer hearththrobs...
The A/C repairman
08-18-2012, 11:35 AM #8
The return will do best if closer to the floor. With the return close to the floor, the statafied warm air in the basement will be able to move toward the floor rather than be recirculated back to the furnace without warming the air closer to the floor.
It is off course best to get return air in each room, if possible. If there are rooms that are going to be closed off with a door that cannot have return ducting to them, a one inch undercut on the door (1" above flooring. If carpeted, 1" above the carpeting) or a by pass chase in a wall between the room and the common area where the return ducting is will help.
If going with a bypass chase, have a grill installed low in the wall in the closed room and high in the same stud chase of that wall in the common area where return ducting is. Make sure the wall cavity is free of obstructions such as cross braciing.Government is a disease......masquerading as its own cureEcclesiastes 10:2 NIV
08-18-2012, 01:23 PM #9
Unless its an extremely small room then a one inch undercut is not sufficient. 1" x 36" = 36sq in. It's usuall more like a 6" undercut which is not feasible. Bypass chase or "jumper" duct is better if you want any privacy
08-18-2012, 01:25 PM #10
Jumper ducts have to be Sized correctly. Much larger than a regular return because you don't have the force of the blower to create pressure
08-18-2012, 02:34 PM #11Government is a disease......masquerading as its own cureEcclesiastes 10:2 NIV
08-18-2012, 02:35 PM #12Government is a disease......masquerading as its own cureEcclesiastes 10:2 NIV
08-18-2012, 03:10 PM #13