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Old 05-27-2012, 01:15 PM   #1
dng
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Is an "open return" a good idea?


Hi (again). I have a furnace in the middle of a small (835sf) condo. There is only about 9" between the return vent and the blower motor. This creates a giant sucking sound that reverberates through the entire living space. An HVAC contractor has suggested using an "open return" -- removing the duct work to the return vent, sealing the return vent, and cutting a new return vent at the top of the wall of the closet with no duct work at all. This will reduce (but not eliminate the noise). Is this a good idea? What are the disadvantages?
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Old 05-27-2012, 03:05 PM   #2
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Is an "open return" a good idea?


That's one possible solution. Have you tried coiling about 6 feet of return ducting between the return grill and the furnace> Might be worth a try before you start cutting away drywall.

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Old 05-27-2012, 06:22 PM   #3
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Is an "open return" a good idea?


Called a return air chase and it's common. Just need to make sure it is completely sealed.
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Old 05-28-2012, 06:07 PM   #4
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Is an "open return" a good idea?


I think my original question was a little unclear, so let me try it again...

The furnace is in a closet off the kitchen. The return grill is down low and connected to the blower motor intake by about 9" of duct. My HVAC technician suggested that he remove the duct work to open the intake to the closet, seal the wall where the grill is, then cut a new grill above the door to the closet. Essentially, it is using the closet as a huge duct/baffle to reduce the noise from the blower motor.

Is this a good idea? bad idea? Is there unhealthy stuff in the closet that I don't want pumped into my living space (eg, carbon monoxide)? The now-sealed closet wall is about 4" from the intake. Is this too close (like having a sofa pushed up against a wall return)? OK to have the return high instead of low? OK to have the return 6ft from the kitchen stove?

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Old 05-28-2012, 06:36 PM   #5
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Is an "open return" a good idea?


What you are describing is essentially putting your entire system inside of a return air chase. I guess it could be done and can't from the top of my head see why not other than that I've never seen it done.

You can never have too much return air, you can leave the return completely open with just a filter on the bottom of the unit but in your case he's going to have to cut the sides of the furnace to expose the blower to be able to suck air in. Cutting the furnace to expose the blower is also very common while the entire system sitting in a return air chase is doable, but questionable.
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:41 AM   #6
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Is an "open return" a good idea?


Is your hot water tank also in the closet? is the tank natural draft? if it is
you can't do it. Code around here is you can't have an open return next to a hot water tank because it can suck the fumes out of the open area of the natural draft flue pipe. What kind of filter your using? Pleated ones will have a more pressure drop across it and make noise. The closer the return grill to the furnace the noisier it will be. any way to raise it to the top of the wall and duct it in?

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