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Old 09-09-2008, 08:42 PM   #1
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ac returns


I had ac added to the second floor and the contractor installed rectangular return vents with round ducts in the ceiling. The air handler is in the attic. I would like to close the return lines in the winter so I dont have too much heat going into the attic. What is the best way to seal the returns?

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Old 09-10-2008, 07:32 AM   #2
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I had ac added to the second floor and the contractor installed rectangular return vents with round ducts in the ceiling. The air handler is in the attic. I would like to close the return lines in the winter so I dont have too much heat going into the attic. What is the best way to seal the returns?
Won't this new AC unit serve to heat your second floor during the winter? If so, then you shouldn't seal the returns.

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Old 09-10-2008, 07:34 AM   #3
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I second hand_mab88's question. Also, do your returns vent directly into the attic space, or are they connected to the return plenum of the unit? How are your supply runs setup?
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Old 09-10-2008, 10:07 AM   #4
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Won't this new AC unit serve to heat your second floor during the winter? If so, then you shouldn't seal the returns.
No the house has baseboard heat. the returns do go back to the air handler. i am concerned about how much heated air is also going up to the air handler.
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Old 09-10-2008, 10:08 AM   #5
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I second hand_mab88's question. Also, do your returns vent directly into the attic space, or are they connected to the return plenum of the unit? How are your supply runs setup?
we have baseboard heat. The returns go to the AC air handler.
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Old 09-10-2008, 10:22 AM   #6
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ac returns


Okay, then you do have a legitimate concern on the return side as hot air can rise into them, and cold air can conduct through the uninsulated duct work and drop down. But this may also be an issues on the supply side ducts from this A/C unit.

I should think a simple insulated cover over the grills will work. A more complex system of power dampers that open only when the unit is run would save you the effort, but probably not worth the installation cost.
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Old 09-10-2008, 11:01 AM   #7
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Okay, then you do have a legitimate concern on the return side as hot air can rise into them, and cold air can conduct through the uninsulated duct work and drop down. But this may also be an issues on the supply side ducts from this A/C unit.

I should think a simple insulated cover over the grills will work. A more complex system of power dampers that open only when the unit is run would save you the effort, but probably not worth the installation cost.
Any idea what I should be looking for? Will home depot carry something? I have seen the magnetic covers, but I am not sure if they actually do much.
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Old 09-10-2008, 11:26 AM   #8
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You could try the magnets for starters and see how that works.

If that doesn't work, remove the grill, cut a piece of pink foam a little smaller than the grill, sandwich the foam between ceiling and grill, and re-secure the grill with extra long screws. Any air gaps around the pink insulation use some thin weatherstripping. Painting the foam insulation the color of your ceiling may look a little better.

I disavow any knowledge of these suggestions if you ever run your A/C without removing the cover.
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Old 09-10-2008, 11:59 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by nbmech View Post
I had ac added to the second floor and the contractor installed rectangular return vents with round ducts in the ceiling. The air handler is in the attic. I would like to close the return lines in the winter so I dont have too much heat going into the attic. What is the best way to seal the returns?
So this wasn't a worry during the cooling season?
Before I plugged everything up I think 'I' would use that new air handler in the "fan only" mode and recirculate that warm air off the ceiling.
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Old 09-10-2008, 12:23 PM   #10
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So this wasn't a worry during the cooling season?
Before I plugged everything up I think 'I' would use that new air handler in the "fan only" mode and recirculate that warm air off the ceiling.
Good idea i think I will try it
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Old 09-10-2008, 12:33 PM   #11
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Good idea i think I will try it
Remember to clean/change filters often
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Old 09-10-2008, 01:41 PM   #12
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No the house has baseboard heat. the returns do go back to the air handler. i am concerned about how much heated air is also going up to the air handler.
I would remove the grate, cut a foam board that fits in place of the filter, and tape it in place with ducting tape.

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