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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    373

    Should another return be helpful for basement system?

    We had our basement system inspected and tuned-up last Tuesday. The system is a 2003 Trane XR11 1.5 ton heat pump that heats and cools the finished 2200 sq ft basement. I questioned the tech about if a return should be added to the system to help the game room feel more comfortable in the winter. He was able to increase airflow to the system. The current supply serving the room is a 6 inch. He said that a 6 inch return could be added but he also said that it was not really needed and it will have to go in the ceiling. There are currently 2 other returns (One is a 12 inch in the theater room where the thermostat is located and the other is a 6 inch located in the man cave (billiards room). Both of those returns are located on the lower section of the wall. There's a total of 6 supplies in the basement: an 8 inch in the theater room, a 6 inch in the man cave, a 6 inch in the music room, a 6 inch in the workshop, a 4 inch in the unfinished bathroom (which will be finished starting this spring) and of course the 6 inch in the game room. The workshop and music room supplies are coming off an 8 inch trunk. All of the supplies are located in the ceiling.

    My question is, is he right that a return will not be needed? Are the current 2 returns enough for the system?
    Thanks in advanced.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The Quad-Cities area (midwest).
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    2,626
    Is it a gas furnace or an electric (heat) fan coil? There is enough airflow, 800cfm, assuming that it's steel (solid) pipe, but just barely.

    However, there is no room for any airflow balancing. Is the large return able to service the majority of the area iwthout being "closed off"?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The Quad-Cities area (midwest).
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    I recounted to cfm of the supplies..........you have about 650cfm there.

    I always oversize my supplies (and returns) for balancing reasons. It never hurts to have too much airflow. Problems arise when there is not enough, i.e; lack of comfort, less efficiency and shortened equipment life.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by George2 View Post
    I recounted to cfm of the supplies..........you have about 650cfm there.

    I always oversize my supplies (and returns) for balancing reasons. It never hurts to have too much airflow. Problems arise when there is not enough, i.e; lack of comfort, less efficiency and shortened equipment life.
    Thanks for the info. I forgot to question the tech if increasing the supply duct size to an 8 inch will help for the game room, but I don't know if it's a good idea or not.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The Quad-Cities area (midwest).
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    Electric heat, I believe, needs more airflow than gas. Flexible duct is an airflow killer.

    Add more return and more supply. I agree with SBK, to a degree, by adding just return air doesn't always make a room more comfortable, but, if a system is short on RA, it does effect to supply side. But you're short on both supply and return. Forget the 6" materials, that's a waste of time, money and energy!

    Your house must be very nice (and large) to have 3 systems. Were the 3 systems installed when the home was built? I would love to visit GA.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    373
    Quote Originally Posted by George2 View Post
    Electric heat, I believe, needs more airflow than gas. Flexible duct is an airflow killer.

    Add more return and more supply. I agree with SBK, to a degree, by adding just return air doesn't always make a room more comfortable, but, if a system is short on RA, it does effect to supply side. But you're short on both supply and return. Forget the 6" materials, that's a waste of time, money and energy!

    Your house must be very nice (and large) to have 3 systems. Were the 3 systems installed when the home was built? I would love to visit GA.
    Thanks for the input. I do agree that flexible duct can kill airflow. Is it okay for the return to be located in the ceiling?

    Our house is pretty large. The main level and upstairs systems were installed when the house was built back in 2002 and the basement system was installed right before the basement was finished in November 2003. Georgia is a nice state!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    373
    Quote Originally Posted by George2 View Post
    Is it a gas furnace or an electric (heat) fan coil? There is enough airflow, 800cfm, assuming that it's steel (solid) pipe, but just barely.

    However, there is no room for any airflow balancing. Is the large return able to service the majority of the area iwthout being "closed off"?
    It's a fan coil with electric backup heat. The other two systems in my house have gas heat (except main level system is dual fuel). All of the ductwork is flex. For the large return it is able to serve the whole theater room and with the door to the game room open all the time, It helps just a little, but still feels much cooler in there, and air flow is very weak in there as well. My son plans to move his bedroom to the game room in the future and he likes to keep his door closed. A 6 inch return was added to the man cave because when that room was finished the 6 inch supply was added. The system was installed several years before the man cave room was finished. That room is located far away from the 12 inch return.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Tallahassee, FL
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    Usually if a room is hot or cold it is not resolved by adding small return

  9. #9
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    Sep 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBKold View Post
    Usually if a room is hot or cold it is not resolved by adding small return
    Thanks. So are you saying that the room does not need a return?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,721
    Probably more "don't get your hopes too high" as it's not likely to be a major tipping point.

    You probably need more supply and balancing as well. See George's comments.
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    373
    Here's some pics. hope this helps. Name:  DSC00295.jpg
Views: 67
Size:  28.5 KB the 12 inch return in theater room Name:  DSC00296.jpg
Views: 74
Size:  27.2 KB the 6 inch supply and the 6 inch return in man cave Name:  DSC00297.jpg
Views: 69
Size:  20.9 KB another look of the 6 inch return Name:  DSC00298.jpg
Views: 72
Size:  38.5 KB the 6 inch supply in game room

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The Quad-Cities area (midwest).
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    2,626
    Thanks for the picture. They are helpful. The 12" is connected to a filter grille and the 6" is not a filter grille. How many filters are in the system?

    Also, what size is that filter grille? If it's a 16"x25" (800cfm), then (if possible) a larger pipe could go there for more RA.

    Honestly, I don't know why anyone would run just one 6" supply to any basement room other than a small bathroom.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    373
    Quote Originally Posted by George2 View Post
    Thanks for the picture. They are helpful. The 12" is connected to a filter grille and the 6" is not a filter grille. How many filters are in the system?

    Also, what size is that filter grille? If it's a 16"x25" (800cfm), then (if possible) a larger pipe could go there for more RA.

    Honestly, I don't know why anyone would run just one 6" supply to any basement room other than a small bathroom.
    Your welcome. There used to be a filter in the 12 return filter grille but then the 6 inch return was added to the man cave which made us put a 14 x 20 filter in the air handler. The filter grille is a 14" x14". I just measured it.

    I agree, 6 inch sounds too small for basement rooms.

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