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  1. #1

    Need Expert Opinion

    Hi,

    Due to fumes my renovation contractor diverted our forced air intake vent by temporarily covering the intake with a small duct attached to an even smaller tube.

    It stayed like this for around 2 days. Is this a bad idea? The furnace sounds like it is straining. I asked him if the pipe needed to have a minimum diameter and he said it was fine like this.

    I attached a photo. just looking for a second opinion especially since the furnace sounds louder since he added this. Even when I removed it, the furnace now sounds louder.

    Thanks,
    Frank
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    DC Metro Area (MD)
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    3,371
    Is this the only return? If it is... Definitely not fine. I'm surprised the furnace hasn't cut off on high limit. Not good to run any system if it's starved for return air.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply. Yes this is the only return in this zone. Can this cause furnace damage even of only done for 2 days? I am pretty sure the furnace is making a squealing type of noise that it did not make before. Even after removing this.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    DC Metro Area (MD)
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    3,371
    Do you know the approximate age of the furnace? I'm just surprised that the high limit switch did not cause the furnace to shut off for safety (not enough return air = too great of a temperature rise, can cause heat exchanger damage over a long period of time). Unless the safety features of the furnace aren't working, or it has none. 2 days isn't very long, but given the outdoor temperatures lately it was probably running most of the day. I can't tell you with any certainty if any damage was done. Best to have it checked out especially if it's now making noises it didn't before. By this being the only return in this zone, is that to say that this is the only return that serves this particular furnace?

  5. #5
    Its a relatively new Goodman (withing 7 years). We have 2 zones but the other zone is actually turned off during our renovations. This zone has one intake, the upper zone has 2 intakes, but again that zone was turned off.

    On a side note, I cant get the second zone to come on now. They moved the Honeywell rth6300b thermostat so maybe they didn't reconnect it correctly. The screen comes on, I can set the temperature,but it never comes on.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    DC Metro Area (MD)
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    3,371
    Even if the other zone was not on, the other two returns still were open, so that makes the situation better. With a typical zoning system all returns are open, and the dampers only open and close to control supply air. It is possible that they didn't reconnect the thermostat properly. I think you would do good to have a professional look over the system, ensure no damage, and check the wiring -- hopefully paid for by your remodeling contractor. All returns were not blocked off and the furnace never cut off due to high temp limit, so it's likely that the furnace is okay. Odd that it is now making a new noise...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Arnold mo
    Posts
    3,957
    What kind of fumes? Why would fumes be comming from a return vent?
    An answer without a question is meaningless.
    Information without understanding is useless.
    You can lead a horse to water............
    http://www.mohomeenergyaudits.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    DC Metro Area (MD)
    Posts
    3,371
    Quote Originally Posted by tipsrfine View Post
    What kind of fumes? Why would fumes be comming from a return vent?
    Probably didn't want fumes from where the return was located to enter the system and spread throughout the home.

  9. #9
    Yes exactly, polyurethane fumes from doing a floor would have gotten into the return so it was rerouted through a door that was covered in plastic.

    I am positive that the second zone has dedicated intakes and they are not shared, is that uncommon? I know because had my head literally in the intake while the lower zone was on yesterday and there was no air flowing. Also, the polyurethane was applied mostly in the second zone which is why we had it off and the smell never carried to the first zone.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    DC Metro Area (MD)
    Posts
    3,371
    Quote Originally Posted by franksmartin View Post
    Yes exactly, polyurethane fumes from doing a floor would have gotten into the return so it was rerouted through a door that was covered in plastic.

    I am positive that the second zone has dedicated intakes and they are not shared, is that uncommon? I know because had my head literally in the intake while the lower zone was on yesterday and there was no air flowing. Also, the polyurethane was applied mostly in the second zone which is why we had it off and the smell never carried to the first zone.
    For a single furnace with zoning controls, that surprises me that no air would come from the second zone returns if the other return was blocked off. Curious to hear others' opinions on that.

  11. #11
    Actually second zone may actually have its own furnace in the attic? There is a panel that I haven't been able to get open in the attic but there is some kind of furnace behind that panel. I really should know this, but I bought the house recently.

  12. #12
    Thanks for all of the input.

    It sound like in general it was a pretty bad idea to restrict the only intake. I'll have the furnace looked at and if any damage the contractor may have to pay for it.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Houston, Tx
    Posts
    2,093
    Grief. At least now I can say I've seen it all.

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