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  1. #1

    Space between wall studs for return air "duct"

    I have several bedrooms that have less-than-desirable return air flow at night because when the bedroom doors are closed, air can't get to the central return ducts (which are in hallways). The bedrooms have air vents in the ceilings, and I've been told that the best place for return ducts is therefore near the floor.
    However, it's not very easy to get the ducts near the floor without tearing out walls, which I'm reluctant to do.

    I read somewhere else that one potential work-around for this is to use the space between the studs in an interior wall for return venting, and then to just connect a flex duct at the top stud that runs back to the main return vent (I have pretty easy access to all the bedroom ceilings). In other words, the air enters the wall through a grille near the floor, travels between the studs and up through holes drilled into the top header, and then goes into a regular duct.

    Anyone ever done this? Any drawbacks to this approach?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    The stud space is not sealed air tight,like a duct could be,so they pull air from the next space,which could have opening to the attic,from the framing,or electrical and plumbing penatrations,bad idea.

    We do Aeroseal, www.aeroseal.com , and those wall returns take the longest to seal.

    Just use a ceiling return and keep it all air tight. Locate them near the supply,but not in the path of supply air,so the air mixes well in the room,this is assuming ceiling supplies.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    7,405
    Find a closet or open up the walls.

    It's not hard to patch drywall. It is well worth it for the performance of your system.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Cal
    Posts
    1,596
    Wouldn't meet code in California, don't know about your location or the code that applies to you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Saskatchewan
    Posts
    492
    It is a cheap trick. It is still allowed here on new construction. Sadly. With the caveat in regards to fire barriers. I would be worried about weakening structure if you do this. You would most likely end up cutting supporting plates.

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