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Old 04-16-2012, 10:29 AM   #1
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Negative Pressure in Furnace & Heater Room


We recently moved to a newly constructed house as renters. The builder/landlord didn't want to pay the HVAC company for the ductwork in the basement rooms (about $2000), as he wanted a free cold air return setup, instead of what they did: a cold air return on every room in the basement. So what he did was take off the cold air return duct so the air filter is now exposed.

When the HVAC guy came in, he said this will create a negative pressure especially if the door is closed, as it should, and could possibly suck in the air outside from the water heater vent pipe and I'm thinking, possibly Carbon Monoxide from the heater.

The filter's size is 16x25 so he said he'll just put a similar-sized grill or register on the oak door (which would make the adjoining rooms noisy, I argue). And cut off one inch from the bottom of each bedroom door as cold air returns.

So right now I'm asking him to fix the problem as he has not installed the register on the door yet. I would just like it to be that way it was, a perfectly installed HVAC system. Another thing that would bother me is the noise of the furnace room through the opening/register that he would put on the oak door.

What do you guys think of my situation?



The water heater is about 4-5 feet from furnace. The filter is exposed and the cold air return duct was taken out.


Last edited by monch; 04-16-2012 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:42 AM   #2
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Negative Pressure in Furnace & Heater Room


I think you should move. Pretty good indication of things to come with that landlord.

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Old 04-16-2012, 11:46 AM   #3
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Negative Pressure in Furnace & Heater Room


You have completely legitamate CO concerns for the present set up.
What fresh air set up is now supplying the HWT. Pictures of the full front of the furnace or brand and model of furnace would paint a better picture.

Return air needs to be returned the way it was. New return air lines need to be connected to your living area.
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:23 PM   #4
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Land lords have to maintain a safe property. Call you local building authority
or state office that oversees rentals. Almost every state has one.
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:24 PM   #5
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Negative Pressure in Furnace & Heater Room


Here is a photo of the WH. The winds outside vary from 35-50mph so I can hear it in the vent pipe.



This is the front of the Water heater. The furnace is on the left.

I told his daughter that it should be returned the way it was and one of her brothers in law will check it next week.

I guess, even if he puts a big register on the door, it would still suck some air from the WH since it's much closer (5 feet while the door is about 10 ft away), right?
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:32 PM   #6
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Do you live down there? Is there supply air vents into that basement? Is your bed there? Your tv? Your kitchen, bathroom?

No.

Return air is meant to help condition the air of LIVING SPACE, end of discussion.
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:43 PM   #7
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How, here is the picture of the furnace, it's a Comfortmaker. I forgot to mention that this is the basement furnace, on the left is the furnace for the first floor.




Hvac5646, while I mentioned the house is newly built, it has not passed inspection yet, at least a few items need to be rectified. Although when the initial inspection was done, the duct was still attached to the furnace.

I don't know when the final inspection will be, but I would definitely point this problem out if this had not been rectified by that time.

Thanks for all the replies!
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:48 PM   #8
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Doc Holliday, the basement is fully furnished with a kitchenette and 2 bedrooms. As you can see from the last photo, the room immediately outside the furnace room is the Family room. We sleep on the first floor though.
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:51 PM   #9
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Do you have any return on the first floor?
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:52 PM   #10
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What country are you located in? My guess is Canada, from what you stated in post #8. How do you enter and exit into the basement area? If it was me, I would be moving very quickly and let the authorities know that the property owner is doing questionable things.
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:08 PM   #11
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Do you have any return on the first floor?
Yes, Doc. All rooms upstairs have returns.

In a 2 furnace setup, would all returns in the first floor go through just the 1st furnace or is it mixed with the one downstairs?
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:17 PM   #12
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In a 2 furnace setup, would all returns in the first floor go through just the 1st furnace or is it mixed with the one downstairs?
The returns should be only for that particular furnace. Especially in a rental situation, due to you do not want a fire to use the return ducts to help spread, and also you do not want to spread smells between units. Same even in a standard home.
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:18 PM   #13
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Dedicated supplies and returns per each unit.
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:21 PM   #14
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What country are you located in? My guess is Canada, from what you stated in post #8. How do you enter and exit into the basement area? If it was me, I would be moving very quickly and let the authorities know that the property owner is doing questionable things.
We live in Wisconsin. We signed a one year lease 3 months ago, that is why I'm trying to have him correct all the problems for our sake. He's just an arrogant person, not wanting to admit his mistake nor correct them. I'm disappointed about what is happening but if you guys believe this is a major problem, this will give me more reason to tell him to fix this immediately.
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:25 PM   #15
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Better yet, tell him to come on here. You might want to fix your last statement though, talk about how pleasant and nice and concerned he his.

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