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  1. #1
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    Mar 2007
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    Daniel Island, SC.
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    Default One return, two levels

    Hello!

    I looked at a house today that had a 3-ton heat pump supplying two levels with a zone system installed. There was only one return and that was on the 2nd level in the hallway. Shouldn't there be an additional return on the 1st level?

    Jim

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
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    2,477

    Default Re: One return, two levels

    Quote Originally Posted by JIM MURPHY View Post
    Hello!

    I looked at a house today that had a 3-ton heat pump supplying two levels with a zone system installed. There was only one return and that was on the 2nd level in the hallway. Shouldn't there be an additional return on the 1st level?

    Jim
    Hi Jim,

    The solenoid dampers are only connected to the distribution side of the ducting, so I would think a single intake would be fine, as long as it was properly sized. Now, if there were two separate HVAC systems (I sometimes see those in larger, two story homes), then two returns would be necessary.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  3. #3
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    Mar 2007
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    Daniel Island, SC.
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    230

    Default Re: One return, two levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Hi Jim,

    The solenoid dampers are only connected to the distribution side of the ducting, so I would think a single intake would be fine, as long as it was properly sized. Now, if there were two separate HVAC systems (I sometimes see those in larger, two story homes), then two returns would be necessary.

    Thanks Gunnar, it is properly sized and after giving some more thought I realize that it would be fine. Always good to ask though and double check yourself!!!!

    Jim


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lansdale, PA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: One return, two levels

    There is no requirement where returns are located, but I don't think that is a good design. It may affect system performance during the heating season.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
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    2,776

    Default Re: One return, two levels

    "Shouldn't there be an additional return on the 1st level?" Should yes, required no.

    The better system installation would have two returns. One as a high wall return on the second floor. The other as a low wall return on the first floor.

    2nd fl is summer with heat rising to highest point. 1st fl is winter with coldest air settling to lowest point. Each return would have the ability to be shut off to alternate seasons.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,244

    Default Re: One return, two levels

    I am presuming that the description means the return is upstairs, is ducted to, and sealed to, the unit which is downstairs?

    Is the unit downstairs, upstairs, or in the attic?

    If the unit is downstairs, and the return is ducted to, but not sealed to, the unit, then there may be a return air path for the downstairs.

    They were likely subscribing to the theory that the stairs serves as a return air transfer path between stories (it does - it is just not a very efficient way to maintain the same or similar temperatures between the stories due to what Garry described).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Daniel Island, SC.
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    230

    Angry Re: One return, two levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I am presuming that the description means the return is upstairs, is ducted to, and sealed to, the unit which is downstairs?

    Is the unit downstairs, upstairs, or in the attic?

    If the unit is downstairs, and the return is ducted to, but not sealed to, the unit, then there may be a return air path for the downstairs.

    They were likely subscribing to the theory that the stairs serves as a return air transfer path between stories (it does - it is just not a very efficient way to maintain the same or similar temperatures between the stories due to what Garry described).
    Jerry, the air handler was in the garage attic which was attached to the house. It would have been very easy to have two returns installed. At least they installed a zone system. The other part of the story with this house ( built by DR Horton ) was that they never installed an access to the attic above the 2nd level.

    Jim


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: One return, two levels

    Hello Jim. It sounds like you found a flaky installation, where maybe the good doctor got short-changed on his HVAC installation?
    So, are you able to recommend an upgrade or improvements? I think there is always room in the reports for stuff like that, improvements for better efficiency. Not required, so they can't expect it from the sellers.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

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