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Old 04-13-2011, 09:04 AM   #1
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Distance between HVAC supply and return vents


Having a new HVAC system installed in my attic. After a load calc the sales rep advised increasing from 2 ton to 2.5 ton and adding a return vent. The problem is that the builder of the house didn't locate the supply vents on the exterior walls of the rooms. The installer is wanting to add the new return vent in a location that is only about 4 to 5 feet from an existing supply. Should I have him put the return on the exterior wall which is opposite from the existing supply vent or have him move the supply to the exterior wall and place the return in the old supply location? Or, is locating the new return on an interior wall about 4 or 5 feet from the existing supply ok? Oh, and I should note that the existing supply is in the ceiling, not a wall. The new return would also be in the ceiling. Thanks!!!!

Last edited by atlantatd; 04-13-2011 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:58 PM   #2
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Distance between HVAC supply and return vents


Pics would make it easier for us to give you an opinion.

Did your old 2 ton cool the house ok? Or did it lose temp during the day? Often, low air flow is the cause of an A/C not maintaining temp.
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:41 PM   #3
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Distance between HVAC supply and return vents


The old unit in it's prime did just "ok" but didn't seem to be able to handle outside temps in the low 90's. It was over 20 years old SEER of 8 and was having other problems with fan switch, gas valve in furnace, among others. Plus last year it had a hard time even on just warm days let alone hot days, so it was just time to replace. I had more than one estimate and all but one sized the new one as a 2.5 ton. Here is a picture of the room they want to add the return vent. The pic is of the supply vent on the interior side of the room opposite the exterior wall which has a double window.
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Old 04-13-2011, 05:12 PM   #4
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Distance between HVAC supply and return vents


The return can be on the opposite wall and not have any ill effect.

Instead of getting a larger A/C. You might consider increasing your attic insulation. This will save you money in both heating and cooling season. Also, if you seal your windows, doors along with the wall receps and switches, you greatly reduce the heating and cooling load of your house. Saving money again on heating and cooling.
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:30 PM   #5
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Distance between HVAC supply and return vents


Good points about extra insulation and sealing outlets and switches. I have done that along with upgrading to insulated windows. I think the builder had simply undersized the original system. I had 5 estimates done and 4 recommended 2.5 ton and one said 3 ton. I went with the majority at 2.5 ton and will have the installer locate the new return on the opposite wall from the existing supply. Thanks for the responses!!
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