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Old 01-10-2011, 12:18 PM   #1
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Is this air intake set up correct? (apartment)

Hi there,

I live in an apartment building (built in the 70's I think) in PA. We just got a 'whole house' humidifier that you're supposed to place next to the furnace air intake. When we did this, we noticed the humidity in the apartment didn't really increase much, even in the room it is running (living room).

So today I took off the cover of the air intake vent to clear dust out of the grate and this is what it looks like inside: (for an idea of scale, this goes back about 3 feet)

The pvp pipe I'm assuming is a gas line, the cord in front is a phone line that's been run through. It's all (bottom, top, sides) plywood. I was surprised and expecting an actual vent instead of piles of dust, fragments of insulation, and wood.

This crawlspace goes outside to our balcony. On top of the crawlspace sits an outdoor closet with our furnace on it. I'm guessing there's an air intake somewhere on the top of the crawlspace in the back. Here's a photo of the outside closet:

The crawlspace portion here is caulked, but not really well. There's a huge gap under the door of the closet as well. So possibly, I'm wondering if the humidified air from our living room is just getting pulled outside. I tested the indoor vent when the furnace was on (using a strip of paper towel) and there was significant air being pulled in. I think there was air being pulled in through cracks outside in the wood frame of the crawlspace, but it was difficult to tell since it is windy).

I should add, we have no problem keeping our apartment warm and there is of course an air filter on our furnace (though I've always thought our apartment gets dusty quickly for some reason).

Sorry I'm a complete novice at this, but I'd appreciate thoughts on peoples opinions on how they've set up our air intake and if there's anything I should do/have the landlord do to make the situation better.

Thank you for the help.


Last edited by Emys; 01-10-2011 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 01-10-2011, 12:33 PM   #2
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Firstly, the whole house humidifier being pulled into the return air vent is the way to go, if the apartment is drafty, it will take a long time to increase the humidity if ever.

Secondly, I would be calling the apartment management, showing then that picture and insist on them cleaning that return air space/ as you call it crawl space. This is the source of your dusty apartment!

When was the furnace filter changed, is it clean now, it should be changed a minimum of 2x per year, I prefer 4x.


When its all said and done there is usually more said than done
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Emys (01-10-2011)
Old 01-10-2011, 12:36 PM   #3
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Supposedly they change it twice a year, once in the winter, once in the summer when they come around and change smoke detector batteries/etc. It was last changed in late October/early November. I have no idea how clean it is now, I have no idea where the thing is on the furnace. I will have my husband check when he gets home.

Thanks for the terminology, I had no idea what to call that thing!

Edit: Thought I'd add, we have all new windows in the apartment and seals on the doors, besides this gross air area our apartment is pretty non-drafty. We have had the issue this winter of the back of the apartment being cooler than the front, not sure we had that last winter. It's hard to tell how much is our heat and how much isn't. We live on the 3rd floor and I think the lady below us runs her heat high all winter.

Last edited by Emys; 01-10-2011 at 12:48 PM.
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