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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    29

    My cold air return too noisy. Please help!

    I apologize in advance for lack of my knowledge about HVAC systems and sorry for the long posting. I am trying to provide as much information as I can.

    This is my first home and I moved in to this home in February 07. It is about 3500 sqft home with 2000 sqft in the first floor and 1500 in the second floor. It has two HVAC systems. First floor unit is in the basement and the second floor unit is in the attic. The first floor has 12 air vents but only one cold air return in the hallway. The HVAC unit is right underneath the hallway in the basement. The cold air return is connected to the unit with a big circular shiny metal duct about 2 feet in diameter. This duct is about 15 feet long in total with two 90 degree bends.

    The cold air return is exceptionally noisy. It sounds like a giant vaccum cleaner. The noise level is same with furnace(winter) and AC(summer). When it comes on, it is really scaring little kids if they are near the duct. Because this is a new house, builder is still attending some of the issues ( I have a basement leak. That is another story). But for the noise, he says that he followed the design specification and there is not much he can do to reduce the noise.

    As far as the make and model is concerned, it is a Goodman. The furnace model number is GMH8. This is the only number I could find in the material that builder gave me during closing. I went to the unit and looked for model number for the blower but did not find any. The whole unit looks like a tower with three units stacked on top of each other. There is a little sticker on the middle unit with model number as CAPF4860C6AA with serial number next to it.

    Sorry for not providing much information. I can call the installer to get more information if needed.

    But as mentioned above, the noise is really unbearable. I am planning to talk to the builder's senior management to escalate the issue. But I doubt, if they are willing do anything to fix the problem.

    Is there anything I can do to reduce the noise. I hired a building inspector before closing and he said that I can use automobile sound insulation tape inside the duct to reduce the noise. What do you think about this option.

    Before closing, I raised this issue and they added insulation around the duct and told me they added a grid inside the duct to reduce the noise. Not sure where they added the grid but, it didn't help much.

    Is there any specification on max allowed noise for home units. I can get a meter and measure the noise in db if required.

    Thanks for reading this long posting. Any help is highly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    new jersey
    Posts
    752
    can you show some photos

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,506
    I would check the static pressure on the furnace. That will tell the story if your return duct work and air flow is adequate. You should be moving 400 cfm/ton
    Buy American! The job you save may be your own.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    29
    I will post pictures tomorrow.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    4H: Hot, Humid Houston H.O.
    Posts
    3,304
    I had a new return added to my system (I'm a homeowner) and it was a bit noisy due to being a short length of duct with only a 90 degree bend. At the time I was only thinking about airflow and places to locate the return. It is my understanding that I may have made a mistake by not having longer and more bendy duct, more changes of direction, so that sound waves get dissipated on the duct walls. Or something like that. If a pro contradicts me, then I expect he is right.

    Before that experience, I figured excessive noise would be due to air flowing at too high a speed thru the return duct. Or whistling past a small opening. Obviously I don't know whether either of these applies to your situation. I sympathise with your problem, am interested in the subject, and hope you can succeed in fixing it.

    Best of luck -- Pstu

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Houston,Tx.
    Posts
    16,122
    Quote Originally Posted by pstu View Post
    It is my understanding that I may have made a mistake by not having longer and more bendy duct, more changes of direction, so that sound waves get dissipated on the duct walls. Or something like that. If a pro contradicts me, then I expect he is right.

    I will not contradict you but I might add some food for thought, if you return is in the attic "as in big large flex return laying in attic" common sense would tell me yes the longer the flex the quieter the return may be, but you also will have more heat added to a longer return flex line than you would a shorter on, will a 20' pipe heated at one end hold more heat than a 5' pipe heated at the end?
    My analogy here may be small as to the amount of heat picked up in a longer return, but only a good old test will bring out the truth.
    __________________________________________________ _______________________
    “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards". - Vernon Law

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    4H: Hot, Humid Houston H.O.
    Posts
    3,304
    Very true. Thanks for bringing it up.

    Best wishes -- Pstu

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    990
    High Static is the problem, no matter what size big pipe thing'y you see. Only if and when a correct test for it is done and a professional with experience sizes what you need will you have any results. Until then it's "The big jet engine".

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    29
    Here are the pictures.


    This is the air return.

    http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...m/IMG_1175.gif
    http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...m/IMG_1173.gif
    http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...m/IMG_1171.gif
    http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...m/IMG_1172.gif
    When the unit is running, I could feel the cold air rushing out the white plastic pipe (marked with red color arrow). Is it suppose to do that. I thought that it is a drain pipe for condensation.

    http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...m/IMG_1174.gif
    This is the duct connected to the air return.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,032
    when you open the filter grill cover does the noise go away? if yes, you need to to have that 20 x 20 filter grill replaced with a bar type filter grill, you can call your a/c company and ask if they will sell you one or at their convenience can swap it out, the stamped face you have is garbage and has much restriction in face area. I see this all the time, you may be hearing other system noise, but if opening the door with the filter in helps make the noise go away, then this is what I would do.

    matt

  11. #11

    Cool

    I am no technician.. But, is sounds as if you cold air duct is too small. The sound is negitive or low pressure.. Then again it could be the airhandler.. Many air handlers are noisy.. NEW homes are built to "code" not for comfort.
    Some people have need to Upgrade thier system to suit thier life style.

    The children will get over the noise. Although, memories are long as life..
    Do you remember the cold, dark basement? or the cold spot on the back porch?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    11,347

    *

    Quote Originally Posted by transportithere View Post
    I am no technician. Many air handlers are noisy.. NEW homes are built to "code" not for comfort.
    The children will get over the noise.

    hey we cant help it if your not a tech, airhandlers are not noisy if installed properly!

    your advise on the children getting over or used to the noise is non productive!

    there is a static pressure problem with the system that must be addressed!



    .

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,506
    Do a static pressure test. That will tell you what's up. I wonder how that round duct runs through the floor and wall? Can you post a close up of the round duct as it penetrates the first floor? How wide is the wall where the duct is burried? Is there plenty of room that it didn''t get crushed?
    Buy American! The job you save may be your own.

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