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DaleB 01-08-2009 06:54 PM

Cold Air Return in an Old House
I live in an old ranch style house that my wife's grandfather built approximately 50 years ago. At some point they put an oil fired hot air furnace in. I believe that the grandfather (passed away so I can't ask him) did the duck work at the same time.

The cold air return comes off of the furnace with a main trunk line and goes to the other end of the house. During that run, in a few spots, he blocked off an area in between the floor stringers with 2X's and then enclosed the bottom of that with tin. There is a hole cut in the top of the main trunk where this has been done.

From there, in the wall above, there has been holes cut into the wall with vents put in for the furnace to pull the air. My question is what happens to the rest of the air in that void in my wall? Is it OK to leave it as it is? Should I block off the area in the wall above the vent? Is this a good method of doing cold air reutrns (rather than the floor)? And lastly, forget all of this and leave it alone. Any information will be appreciated. Thanks.

biggles 01-08-2009 07:14 PM

you want the return to relfect the supply ducts connections,from the space and into that return trunk back to the furnace all tight.if the air around the return duct is colder(thru crawl spaces or foundations) in the winter wrapping it would help keep the space return as true to the space being drawn back.the furnace fan is sucking air from where ever it can the tighter the return is back into the furnace the better for your oil usage. might want to go around a check those supply duct connections off the main trunk into those supply grills.if you need to do any sealing they sell gallon containers of rubberized sealer you can brush on let it dry and your tight.....especially on those pressurized supply ducts.

dac122 01-09-2009 10:20 AM

Panning floor joists and using wall cavities are acceptable practice for returns. If they are interior spaces any leakage won't really matter, but if they butt exterior or unconditioned spaces you might want to insulate against that as mentioned.

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