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Thread: Return air ?

  1. #1

    Return air ?

    Return air vents : I have an old 3 storey house. I live on the 1st floor over the basement.?

    There are 4 apartments on the 2 floors above. We replaced the old boiler hot water heat in the basement with a gas forced air furnace and ran ductwork to the 1st floor rooms. Almost half of my apartment is over crawl space. The installer never put in returns to pull the cold air out from my apartment so it always feels cold at the floor level. He set up the return right at the furnace with a filter so it draws on air from the basement to warm & send up to my apartment. I wonder if I can cut 2 openings in the floor in 2 rooms over the basement area, put in a floor vent . I am thinking that the heavier cold air will go into the basement and that will take away some of that cold feeling at the floor level ?

    We also put in a second unit on the second floor hallway that supplies warm air to the 4 apartments on the 2 floors upstairs. Again no way or connecting returns to pull out the cold air at floor level. Could I cut an opening at a low point on the front doors of each of the 4 apartments, put in a grill and that will let the cold air come into the hallway where it can get sucked into the furnace intake.

    Do let me know if gravity will work in my favor by these simple changes I can do myself. I am hoping that the priciple of hot air rising & cold air sinking will work in my favor & I can get some benefit by letting this cold air have somewhere to go instead of just sitting there.

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Saskatoon, Canada
    Posts
    25
    Do your self a favor and call a professional. This doesn't sound a system that ever had a chance of working properly and may even be dangerous.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Arnold mo
    Posts
    3,966
    That principle of hot air rising & cold air sinking is actually working against you. You likely have some significant air leakage in your building both high & low, so "stack effect" is allowing the cold air to enter it down low (where you are at) and the heated air is escaping up high in the building. It could be their not having returns in your area was an attempt to reduce this stack effect by pressuring your area.
    I don't see a cheap & easy DIY way to resolve the problem. Without the details, I could venture that one solution would be to air seal & insulate that crawlspace beneath you at the exterior walls and install a return vent in your floor and one through the wall separating the crawlspace from the basement. This would solve the problem of having a cold crawlspace beneath you and would also allow better supply air into your area due to the area not becomming pressurized as a result of no return. The supply air needs a place to go, or it will stop comming out of your supplies.
    Please don't think anything is simple when it comes to this stuff, and you should not attempt something like this based on my advice. The best advice is to find a company that offers whole house solutions to comfort & energy needs that is BPI or RESNET certified to perform an energy audit of the building and to offer their recommendations.
    An answer without a question is meaningless.
    Information without understanding is useless.
    You can lead a horse to water............
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  4. #4
    Thanks. that actually would work fot the part over the crawl space. On the paer that is over the basement, do you think just having the floor vents to let the cold air go down to the basement would help get rid of the cooler air at the floor level ?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Arnold mo
    Posts
    3,966
    Quote Originally Posted by nikki View Post
    Thanks. that actually would work fot the part over the crawl space. On the paer that is over the basement, do you think just having the floor vents to let the cold air go down to the basement would help get rid of the cooler air at the floor level ?
    You have to remember, your house is not creating cold air, it is creating heat. The cold air is only there because it is entering your building. This is a very simplified explanation. Lack of insulation can cause heat loss through conduction, but your likely enemy is air infiltration/exfiltration.
    An answer without a question is meaningless.
    Information without understanding is useless.
    You can lead a horse to water............
    http://www.mohomeenergyaudits.com

  6. #6
    You're right. I guess all houses are colder at the floor level and warmer up above. I was hoping to find a simple way to have the cool air replaced by warm air ! No simple way I think. Thanks so much for your time.

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