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heater return problem

My house has a unfinished crawlspace and last summer while fixing my blown pipe I saw that the return of the heater has a big hole. The main return is under the house and is made of
black plastic insulated material. Can I run my heater and just totally cover the main return? Because I can smell the odor under the house of damp soil when the heater runs. I thought of covering the hole, but i haven't check the lenght of the return if its still ok. I'm thinking yo let somebody fix it but it might cost a lot especially its a dirty crawlspace.
Help me please.

A. Spruce
Re: heater return problem

Get the hole patched, that will be the best means of repair. You can probably temp fix it yourself with some aluminum tape until you can get a pro out to fix it properly. You do not want to block off the return to the furnace or you will not get adequate heating or circulation.

Re: heater return problem

Also, if you let too much dust and dirt into the heater/a-c, depending on the type of unit you have, you will end up with a bigger cleaning job later.

While you must do what it takes to remedy the situation, working under the house is extremely difficult: dark, dusty, dirty, spiders and insects, hard to move etc.

I live in quake area, and whenver I go under the house, I need another person present and a fully charged cell phone...what if?

Therefore, the labor part won't be cheap.

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