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  1. #1

    Pulling basement air

    Hello all,

    I am a frustrated home owner that needs some advice. My heating/AC unit is pulling air through my return, which is on the first floor, but is also pulling in air through the basement from the opening for the filter. I have a somewhat wet basement. My sump pump is always going off and there are some damp areas. I have a dehumidifier going to help control the dampness but the air smell and quality is still not great.

    My question is, can I seal the entire vent from the return all the way to the furnace/AC including my filter access? I can use aluminum tape and insulation for the vents but how do I deal with the filter issue? I would need access to it obviously but want to make it air tight.

    Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,118
    It is very likely the return vents in the basement were added because you don't have enough returns upstairs. It's a very common mistake, and can be dangerous.
    I would have a qualified contractor come take a look at your situation, and suggest proper remediation.
    He may be able to add a cover for the filter also.
    "Hey Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort." And he says, "there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice. - Carl Spackler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    568

    Confused

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMusty View Post
    Hello all,

    I am a frustrated home owner that needs some advice. My heating/AC unit is pulling air through my return, which is on the first floor, but is also pulling in air through the basement from the opening for the filter. I have a somewhat wet basement. My sump pump is always going off and there are some damp areas. I have a dehumidifier going to help control the dampness but the air smell and quality is still not great.

    My question is, can I seal the entire vent from the return all the way to the furnace/AC including my filter access? I can use aluminum tape and insulation for the vents but how do I deal with the filter issue? I would need access to it obviously but want to make it air tight.

    Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.
    i've put silver tape over the opening of return filters, but told the home owner not to forget to change the filter, the key is you have to remove the tape to change filter, and then retape. sounds good to me, ps i'm assuming your taping the duct joints and not eliminating a return inlet in basement. if your eliminatin a return inlet in basement call a hvac co. and have them check out your return system, they may have to add a return some where else!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    pittsburgh
    Posts
    15
    you can tape it replace boot that hasa an access door or bend a door for it

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,637
    Taping your filter will not stop smelly basement air from entering living space. Get a good dehumidifier that will maintain <50%Rh in the basement. This will stop the musty odors in the space. Get a %RH meter and maintain low humidity, <50%RH, with an adequate dehumidifier like the Santa Fe that is large enough to remove 4-6 gallons of moisture per day.
    The entire home will be more comfortable smell good.
    Regards TB
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by 2old2rock View Post
    It is very likely the return vents in the basement were added because you don't have enough returns upstairs. It's a very common mistake, and can be dangerous.
    I would have a qualified contractor come take a look at your situation, and suggest proper remediation.
    He may be able to add a cover for the filter also.
    The return is not in the basement, just the piping.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by MM#7 View Post
    i've put silver tape over the opening of return filters, but told the home owner not to forget to change the filter, the key is you have to remove the tape to change filter, and then retape. sounds good to me, ps i'm assuming your taping the duct joints and not eliminating a return inlet in basement. if your eliminatin a return inlet in basement call a hvac co. and have them check out your return system, they may have to add a return some where else!
    This will be option 1. I was thinking the same thing but thought there was some magical adapter of some sort out there that I could fit over the filter. I figured I can't be the only guy having this issue.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by teddy bear View Post
    Taping your filter will not stop smelly basement air from entering living space. Get a good dehumidifier that will maintain <50%Rh in the basement. This will stop the musty odors in the space. Get a %RH meter and maintain low humidity, <50%RH, with an adequate dehumidifier like the Santa Fe that is large enough to remove 4-6 gallons of moisture per day.
    The entire home will be more comfortable smell good.
    Regards TB
    I have a dehumidfier going now but it only goes to <60%. Will get new dehumidifier and employing taping method. Hope this will at least mitigate the smell.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    568

    Confused

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMusty View Post
    This will be option 1. I was thinking the same thing but thought there was some magical adapter of some sort out there that I could fit over the filter. I figured I can't be the only guy having this issue.
    curious, have you had a quality HVAC co. check out your issues?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    381
    taping filter rack is not your solution.
    Call a pro.

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