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Old 06-18-2013, 06:22 PM   #1
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Return air duct / joist bay alignment


Hello,

I am a long time lurker and new member here. I am remodeling the laundry room in my 1954 house. As part of the renovations, I am rebuilding a closet around my furnace and hot water heater. After removing some very poor ceiling patches where the return duct penetrates the ceiling, it became evident that the return duct does not align with the joist bay above it. The joist bay is "sealed" on top with sheet metal and serves as part of the duct system itself. I know this is a common method in my area even on new construction although I'm certain it is not a great method.

I am looking for suggestions on how to remedy this misalignment? Should I just seal the end of the duct where it protrudes beyond the joist bay with a 1x and sealant or is this too large a hack?

Thank you for reading this.

Also, I've included a pic as friendly reminder to keep your vacuum hoses away from halogen lights...
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Last edited by newcomtd; 06-18-2013 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:45 PM   #2
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Return air duct / joist bay alignment


Yep, seal it with a 1X, or with metal. Don't forget to insulate the top of that panning if it isn't.

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Old 06-19-2013, 06:19 AM   #3
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Return air duct / joist bay alignment


Thank you beenthere. I'll give that a try.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:52 AM   #4
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Return air duct / joist bay alignment


If you are enclosing these appliances please be certain that you have adequate combustion air and that your return air is not drawing anything from that space. You have an atmospheric (natural draft) vented water heater and if you starve your appliances including the water heater the easiest way the air will come in is through that vent and that is never good.

I cannot tell if you have make-up air intakes in there already, if you do, great. If not get some fresh air in there.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:17 AM   #5
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Return air duct / joist bay alignment


FClef,

Those are some great points. I am actually rebuilding a closet that used to be around these appliances. I will be more or less replicating the layout that was there before: a louvered bi-fold door on the short side of the closet and double sliding doors on the long side in a 48" opening. Should I put a vent in the ceiling too? The attic is an unconditioned space, open to the outside through gable and roof vents.

Thanks
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:46 AM   #6
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Return air duct / joist bay alignment


If the air coming through the louvers on the door are sufficient then you may not have a problem. I am not trying to be an alarmist, I have just seen too many of these projects that enclose appliances end up with serious problems.

I would not draw any air for combustion from a living space, including the attic. Drawing from outside will make certain that you are getting a good supply of combustion air. It will also make certain that with any other insulating projects, replacement windows etc. that you will not be solely relying on the air within the home to support the appliances. The more you tighten up the home filling in with caulk or that wonderful expanding foam stuff, less fresh air can get into your home. Without being there I cannot make any other suggestions on how to do it so do some research because there are a ton of ways to get it done right.

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