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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    SW Virginia (Roanoke)
    Posts
    48

    Two returns: one each for summer/winter?

    Greetings folks,

    I have a large great room with a high peaked ceiling. The air handler is installed in the attic of the adjacent garage. (The emergency overflow is well designed--I tested it with a garden hose.)

    There are eight output registers on the pitched ceiling a a foot or so from the wall.

    There is a single return at the ceiling peak, adjacent to the garage. (Photo attached.)

    I got to thinking (always dangerous )...shouldn't there be two returns: the (existing) high one for summer to intake the warmed cooling air; and a second one nearer the floor for winter, to take in cooled hearing air? I would open/close them appropriately when I switched between heating to cooling. A second return could easily be installed below the first (on the wall behind the TV).

    Comments?

    Thanks in advance,

    Joe
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rochester, MN
    Posts
    5,304
    Has it been an issue being cold for you near the floor or sitting in the chair, and when you stand up, and can feel the heat?

    If you are having that issue, could have a return down near the floor to draw the cold air.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,204
    Stick your hand 6" in front of your face, then blow. Felt the air movement didn't yah?

    Now leave your hand in the same spot and suck in real hard. You can't feel the air moving when you suck in can yah?

    Forced air systems put the conditioned air where you want it by blowing, not sucking. As soon as you get a foot away from the return the effect it has on air movement in the room is negligible.

    Based on these basic principals, and my experience I'd say you'd be wasting your time and money doing it.

    You may get different opinion's, when you can feel the air move when you suck in real hard is when I'd say it's time to do it .
    Ed J

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    18951
    Posts
    1,593
    You couldn't just put another filter grill with a return inside that wall, there wouldn't be enough capacity. You'd have to build another duct going up. IMO, not worth it. Would you remember to check the filter behind the TV frequently? Filters close to the floor tend to get dirty more.

    If you're having air flow problems, when was the last time you checked that air filter? Might be just the picture, but it looks dirty.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    4,970
    Well I guess Im gonna disagree with ED

    I have had quite a few places with high ceilings that we were able to steal some space sp we could put a return chase that we could have a high and low return grill ( really used a supply so we had a damper)

    You would have to damper the grills depending on wether you were air conditioning or heating but it worked great.

    Some builders will not be willing to give up that kind of space or a lot of times you cant make it look right ( so it looks like an after thought) but if you can ...... I think its a good idea.

    I now warm air attacks cold air but then under the same idea ........ you pull the cold or hot air away from and area thru a reaturn and its most likely gonna be replaced with a differant temperature air.


    ok so I didnt really word that all that great but I kinda think most in here know what Im saying

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    18951
    Posts
    1,593
    Yes, but this is a whole house filter grill that he is using. A little different than individual returns.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,837
    NATE question. Where should you put a return in a system? Up high on the ceiling or down low on the floor? The answer is: In all cases, up high on the ceiling and in some limited cases for heating, on the floor.

    No matter the season, warm air rises. So in the summer, you want to take the warmest air out of the room, send it through the AC unit and reintroduce it to the room as cooler air, that will sink toward the floor.

    Change seasons. Where's the warmest air? Up on the ceiling, right? Is that where you want it? Nope. So you pull it back into the system, run it through the heat exchanger and reintroduce it to the room. Putting a return down low will not pull that warm air off the ceiling. It's like putting a straw in a can of Coke 1/2inch from the liquid. You don't get any Coke and the return doesn't get the warm air off the ceiling either.
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

    If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    4,970
    Oh I will agree that in his application it would be a little tough and that itwould take ducting going down inside the garage wall and maybe installing the return grill under the desk were the electrical outlet is.

    IN the case of not using dampered regesters put a filter grill down low and take a peice of black plywood painted black cut the same demention as the filter and block off the return , not being used ( takes place of a damper). If you possibly can have both the high and low filter grills the same saze, just swap the piece of plywood to the return not being used that part of the season.


    As I say , it may not be feasable in his case but we have done it for years ........ makes a differace if you can do it and their willing to pay to do it that way.
    Last edited by dec; 02-24-2008 at 09:02 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,204
    dec, you’re correct about hot moving to cold. And I have no doubt you have “seen” high low returns work.

    But heat doesn’t rise. Lighter air does, and in this house with high ceilings that lighter air will migrate up (natural convection). Cold(er) air falls cause it’s heavier.

    We use the principles of forced convection in a hot air heating system. Yes there will be hotter air up at the top of a cathedral ceiling, but we can’t “pull” it in the return, it can end up in the high returns, but it’s not forced convection that is taking place it’s natural.

    I’ll never say you should put a return here because it will pull or suck…….. etc. I’ll say put then where ever you can that is the cheapest and you can seal them. Cause high or low really doesn’t matter.

    Supplies, now that’s a whole nother deal, it matters where they go. I enjoy talking about air movement and hearing others experience .
    Ed J

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,204
    Skip,

    If I can mix the room air with the air coming from my supplies, why would I want to put the returns up high? . Don't think it would be a good NATE question .

    Supply register selection is so important to duct design yet it so over looked, but I guess we need the right regs or we will have that pesky hot air sitting on the ceiling .
    Ed J

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,204
    Quote Originally Posted by dec View Post

    IN the case of not using dampered regesters put a filter grill down low and take a peice of black plywood painted black cut the same demention as the filter and block off the return , not being used ( takes place of a damper
    You're way more high end than me, we would have suran wrapped the filter .
    Ed J

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,743
    if you want to mix up the air better just turn on the fan thats already there..

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    4,970
    Well I have been in some houses with sunken living rooms that the people were freezing ,if they sat there. They had high wall returns.

    WE went in and added ductwork so we could get a return tru the wall right down by the floor in the sunken living room.

    IT totally solved the problem of the cold air setting at the lowest point.

    I guess the air didnt read the NATE TEST Thats probably the only reason why it solved the problem.

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