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Old 09-11-2012, 12:22 PM   #16
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unfinished basement comfort


Hi again,

So we just had the return on main floor reconnected. Friendly reminder that there were three. Two on the main floor, one on the ground floor, none up stairs, none in the basement. One on the main floor was closed off because a wall was moved.

While it was closed off there was alot of suction into the basement such that it would suck the basement door shut. I added a vent in the door (10" x 6"). It still sucked the door shut!

So today we reconnected the return on the main floor... and you can feel with your hand and a kleenex that it is pulling air. But the basement door still sucks shut. I guess the system balances out to use the least resistive path!

I have no clue where the sucking is coming from. I assume it's all the little cracks in the returns . Corners, etc. Also they use 2 joists with a piece of tin to make a duct. So the top of the duct is the diagonal floorboards and there is a 1/4" gap between each board.. so I think all these little things add up. But it seems like alot!

Could this affect the burner? or the fact that it might suck oil smells/fumes/smoke into the furnace?

Any suggestions?

thanks!
terry

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Old 09-11-2012, 04:02 PM   #17
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Yes, fumes could be draw back into the basement/house from the chimney. The return duct leaks in the basement may have become worse then they were due to that one return having been closed off.
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:06 PM   #18
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Hi,

With the third return reconnected (note it was sealed shut for a few summer months), i do not see a noticable change in the sucking of the door. It appears to suck it shut just as fast as when we had 2 returns. We can feel the same wind on the basement side of the door vent when we only had 2 returns.

Weird or what!

terry
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:28 PM   #19
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The one return being closed. probably caused the leak in the ducts in the basement to become worse. So now even with that third return in use again. Your basement return duct system is leaking so bad that your door is drawn shut.
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:33 PM   #20
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Hi,

I never tested the system before the return was sealed. We did not own the house at that time.

But, you make it sound like there were physical changes to the return ductwork. As though a small gap somehow grew to a big gap, and so on. the ductwork is makde of tin and wood. Are you implying that the force of air widened gaps, bent steel, etc?

What is the best method to find the large leaks? Candle smoke? incense (those smelly smokey sticks)?

thanks!
terry
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:42 PM   #21
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Smoke sticks work best, reduced fire hazard, from dust being ignited.

The sheet metal panning on the joist gets sucked up into the joist cavity pulling on teh nails that hold it up, which loosens those nails, and allows more air leakage. Trunk line joints get pulled in and the gaps at the joints get bigger.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:20 PM   #22
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by the way....are there supply air registers in the basement..if not, install some..2 or 3 to balance air flow and eliminate excess suction in basement
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:24 PM   #23
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Hi,

So I think I found the problem. There are three returns, each one takes advantage of 2 joists with floor above and a single sheet of tin closing the bottom.

Now the main return that connects the 3 returns runs perpendicular to the returns and below them (below the joists). So there are 3 opening in the main return on the top side, one for each sub return running within the joists.

I found that they did not seal the sides where they connect. So air from the basement gets inside where they are supposed to connect. So this adds up to a ton of openings.

It's hard to describe. I will take a picture shortly and post.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:25 PM   #24
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and there are air supply vents in the basement, but they are closed for the summer AC season. I suppose when I open them this problem will get a little better.

I will vacuum up all the debris collected for 50 years and put almin tape to seal those openings.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:47 PM   #25
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if you open them during the cooling season as well AND leave the circ fan on constant "low" speed that would help balance the system AND provide much more average temps throughout the house...On AC you should have the option to set the thermostat so the fan runs continuously on low speed and automatically to high speed when TT calls for cooling/compressor on. It's all about circulation. Of course you should fix any excess return air problems.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:50 PM   #26
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currently we have a 3 speed fan. But the controller only allows for 1 speed. And settings are Auto or ON. Its currently wired for high speed only. I have to get a extra relay to control the fan when heat/ac not required.

See the attached image for my design.

S1 will control high or med speed when heat or ac required
S2 will allow med or low speed when NO heat or ac required
S3 will allow for no fan when NO heat or AC required

thanks!
terry
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unfinished basement comfort-furnace-fan.jpg  
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:11 PM   #27
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attached are the images I took. You can see in the first picture the main and returns 1, 2, and 3. #3 is closed off and #4 replaces it.

In the second picture is a closeup. The tin is the top of the main return vent and the wood to the right is one of the vents. You can see the tin is not connected to the wood. There are 5 like that gap. Thats were all the air is getting in.

What would be the best way to seal that? Note that the tin is flimsy and you can push it down with your finger (and enlarge the gap). I tried some tape tests. It does not stick well. And there's lots of dust! Hachoo!

You cannot get a drill in there either to drill onto the tin. And my arms are not long enough to reach the end. And I'm sure the end side is open too!

Maybe the best thing is to cut an opening in the bottom as an access panel and then screw the tin into the wood then close up the access panel.

Someone suggested minimal expanding spray foam (in a can) for all the wire holes. Maybe it would be good for the crack too?


Any suggestions?

thanks!
terry
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unfinished basement comfort-returns1.jpg   unfinished basement comfort-returns2.jpg  
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:28 PM   #28
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I believe You need a TT that has "heat" and "cool" settings as well as "auto" / "ON"/OFF for starters..then you may requite a multi wire cable to be run from TT to furnace/ac unit You may or may not require an additinal relay..I didn't work on domestic units that much so, hopoefully a "domestic" tech can provide more info in that regard. However, believe me ..constant circulation is beneficial in a single storey house but, a MUST in a multi level house. Try to cruise other blogs on this forum and you will see many examples of this.
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:34 PM   #29
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We have an aube brand thermostat with a controller. It has sophisticated communication from the thermostat to the controller via the old fashion 2 wire cable. We also have a heatpump. However they don't have a system that allows for multi speed fan (different speeds depending on what the requirement is).

Any suggestions on another thermostat. Up here in the north we don't use programmable thermostats because when heating in the winter it just takes to bloodly long to bring it up 3 degrees with a heat pump. Save more $ buy setting and not touching.

So we have oil furnace, heat pump for light heating and AC.

Finally any suggestions on how to seal up them leaks in the picture?

The furnace is a Lincoln Barriere made in Laval, Quebec. I would say it's 15-20 years old if not more. But I cannot find any info on it. See attache pic for model #.

thanks!
terry
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unfinished basement comfort-furnace.jpg  

Last edited by tls1; 09-11-2012 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:54 PM   #30
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We have these switches on the furnace The top one is a push/pull. Out for auto fan, in for fan on all the time. When I push it in the fan goes to high speed.
The toggle switch in the lower box does not appear to do anything. The label says fan. But nothing happens.

Anyone have any suggestions what the lower one is for?

thanks!
Terry
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