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Shubi
Re: Cold Air Return
Shubi
Langtry wrote:

I have a pre-fab home with a forced air furnace in the basement and one cold air return in the dining room. A previous owner finished the basement and added a cold air return in the basement (about half the size of the upstairs one).

I notice that most of the cold air from upstairs simply flows down the stairs (which are only 10 ft away from the cold air duct). As a result my basement is usually cold.

Would there be anything wrong with simply closing the upstairs return and putting a grate directly on the furnace intake downstairs? Thus drawing all of my cold air out of the basement? It seems to me that this would do a much better job of circulating the heat.

YES, big problems with that! Aside from the efficiency of your furnace, you would also draw in underground contaminants, such as radon gas, etc. You can install a heat run in the basement, but it should be sized by conducting a static pressure test. Seal the return in the basement and install additional returns in the living area if necessary. Also seal all joints in the return with furnace mastic to prevent drawing air, as well as magnetic tape or duct tape over the filter slot.

Matthew
Re: Cold Air Return
Matthew
canuk wrote:

The cold air return on the main level is the only one up there ?
If this is the case I'd be suspicious the heating system isn't balanced very well.

Ideally there should be a return air vent in each room of the house .... with the exception of bathrooms and kitchens .... these would be serviced indirectly from nearby return vents .... one reason the bathroom doors have a larger gap between the bottom of the door and floor.

It would be great to use the terms consistently.  That is, a "vent" brings air into a room and a "return" removes air from the room. There is no such thing as a "return air vent".  Given those definitions, we should have a "vent" in every room you need heat/AC in, but should NOT have a "return" in every room.  The rest of canuk's comment seems reasonable and consistent.

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