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Old 12-15-2008, 05:58 PM   #1
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Cold air return?


My very first post :-)

I'm just starting to learn about a lot of this HVAC stuff so please forgive me. My first question for now is why would I have an open duct that runs straight outside?

I'm in a newly built house and in my unfinished basement, there is a line that runs straight outside and connects to nothing inside. It runs close to my furnace but it just has an elbow at the end. Is this a vent for future use? Can I close this off? I'm thinking about adding a couple vents to my basement so it isn't so cold but having this open will bring in lots of cold air. Any ideas?

Thanks for any and all help on this.

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Old 12-15-2008, 06:16 PM   #2
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Cold air return?


Sounds like it may be a dryer vent. You certainly can and very well should close up this empy vent.

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Old 12-15-2008, 06:25 PM   #3
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Cold air return?


Could it be a vent for the utility room? My basement is unfinished and the only thing I could think of, is the duct pipe elbow comes down in a spot that could be considered inside what will be the utility room. Is is standard practice to have a vent going outside in such a situation? I've got my water heater, and furnace right in the center of my basement up against the main wall. Eventually, it will all be framed into a single, fairly small room.

-my dryer by the way is upstairs and that does have a separate vent going outside.
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Old 12-15-2008, 06:29 PM   #4
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Cold air return?


No rooms should vent directly outside. Is your water heater gas or electric. If electric, no vent is required. If gas, there should be and better be a cone on top of the heater with a vent going outside. Your furnace will also have a vent going outside to get rid of the burnt fuel gases.
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Old 12-15-2008, 07:10 PM   #5
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Cold air return?


Sounds like a combustion air intake.

What size is your gas furnace, and water heater, if the water heater is gas fired.

Do both the furnace and water heater vent through a chimney.
Or do either or both vent with PVC pipe.

If the furnace vents with PVC pipe, does it have 1, or 2 pipes.
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:16 PM   #6
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Cold air return?


I tried posting this last night but it doesn't look like it made it for some reason.

I'm not sure how big my furnace is. How can I find that out?
Both the water heater and the furnace have vents coming out the top that go out through the attic.
Is it possible that this 8" pipe that goes outside is a combustion intake? Do you have a vent for the furnace as well as an intake?
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:26 PM   #7
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Cold air return?


Do you have a clothes dryer in the basement, and if so, does it vent outside?
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:29 PM   #8
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Cold air return?


I would ask the builder,,,find the sub that installed it and find out what the heck it is!! (maybe the builder knows,but doubt it)
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:55 PM   #9
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Cold air return?


I don't have a dryer in the basement, laundry is upstairs and that does vent outside.

So...it appears this hole in my house serves no purpose? Once the room is framed in, it doesn't need additional airflow? If I've got the two vents off the top of the water heater and the gas furnace and I've got my cold air returns, I don't need anything else?

I don't have much faith in the subs but it would surprise me a bit to have this random pipe that is used for nothing....

Any other ideas?
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Old 12-16-2008, 01:15 PM   #10
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Cold air return?


It is likely a combustion air intake. Don't block it unless you want to die.
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Old 12-16-2008, 02:53 PM   #11
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Cold air return?


The BTU size of your furnace, will be on a label inside the furnace panel.

Like I said earlier, its most likely a combustion air intake.
Smart contractors install them right away, so when the basement does get finnished later. And no one is thinking about combustion air. No one gets killed.
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Old 12-16-2008, 03:25 PM   #12
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Cold air return?


So do I need to do anything to/with it? When the utility room gets finished just make sure it is part of the room right? It just brings fresh air into the room with the furnace right?

Thanks!
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Old 12-16-2008, 03:35 PM   #13
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Cold air return?


Yep, just make sure its in the room with the furnace and water heater.
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Old 12-16-2008, 03:36 PM   #14
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Cold air return?


thanks!

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