Can I Add More Return Ducts To An Existing Forced Air System? - HVAC - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


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Old 05-21-2013, 11:34 AM   #1
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Can I add more return ducts to an existing forced air system?


I recently installed an Aprilaire 5000 EAC and want to know if I can add 4 return ducts to an existing system; one for each upstairs bedroom (2nd level)for better air cleaning. I have a 3 level home (in ground basement, 1st and 2nd levels) that was built in 1997 (3400 Sq ft). The unit is a Carrier 2-1/2 ton heating and cooling system (don’t have model # on me). Currently the return duct goes from the basement straight to the upstairs area with 2 large return grills; one in the kitchen area and one in the upstairs foyer. The return duct is about 16x8 or 16x10. I want to branch off the top of the return and install one in each bedroom, via the ceilings, so that I am pulling more indoor air to the EAC for cleaning and possibly better circulation. I have access to the top of the return duct in the attic space and can easily install to each bedroom. I'm open to any suggestions.

Can this be done without any adverse affects?

Are there any limitations to the number of return ducts that can be installed in such a system?

What's the best method to do this work?

If you can provide me with links for such answers that would be good, too. Meanwhile I am googling.

Thanks...Al

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Last edited by Methodical; 05-21-2013 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:41 PM   #2
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Can I add more return ducts to an existing forced air system?


There are some services online which you can pay for, and they will do ductwork calculations etc... for you. But it is a science with lots of calculations, so I wouldn't undertake this lightly. Particularly with returns you can short circuit your circulation. I know when we just had our a/c installed one installer said they'd like to have a return in each bedroom if they could; but that's expensive, and difficult to do properly.

I would definitely suggest not doing it without some serious calculations as you can starve the system of air, and/or remove circulation completely.


I had thought about doing the work for myself, but I ended up having someone do the whole thing, but before I did I bought the DVD from this place. They can probably advise for a fee if you draw up your existing ductwork. Or give them a call and see what they say.

http://www.ductworks.net/

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Old 05-21-2013, 08:13 PM   #3
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Can I add more return ducts to an existing forced air system?


Ocelaris thanks for taking the time to chime in. I will explore the website you provided.

Question. The installer that told you that installing returns in each room was difficult - was it difficult because of the layout of your home that made routing the duct work difficult or was it difficult for the the installer to ensure an optimum setup and/or flow?

Thanks...Al
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Old 05-21-2013, 09:04 PM   #4
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Can I add more return ducts to an existing forced air system?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Methodical View Post
Ocelaris thanks for taking the time to chime in. I will explore the website you provided.

Question. The installer that told you that installing returns in each room was difficult - was it difficult because of the layout of your home that made routing the duct work difficult or was it difficult for the the installer to ensure an optimum setup and/or flow?

Thanks...Al

Its not difficult. Its only difficult if you are space restrictive or something like that! Done it several times, seal it well! Will make a difference in those rooms as far as comfort is concerned.

Have one in every room upstairs.
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:25 PM   #5
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Can I add more return ducts to an existing forced air system?


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Originally Posted by digitalplumber View Post
Its not difficult. Its only difficult if you are space restrictive or something like that! Done it several times, seal it well! Will make a difference in those rooms as far as comfort is concerned.

Have one in every room upstairs.
Thanks. That's good to know. I have plenty space as I have access to the top of the return in the attic and can run the duct to the ceiling in each room. The master bedroom has a vaulted ceiling and in the summer the heat just sits at the ceiling and when I turn on the ceiling fan I can feel all that heat coming down. I'm thinking the return in the ceiling should move that hot air up and out.

Last edited by Methodical; 05-22-2013 at 09:29 PM.
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