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  1. #1
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    Default return air stops in utility closet

    Ranch house with full basement electric heat, the return air duct stopped about five off of the floor in the utility closet. Sorry the picture does not show it but it does not leave the furnace area. Besides being poor workmanship is there a code requirement that the cold air return extend to the first floor? If this were a gas furnace would there be a problem?

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  2. #2
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: return air stops in utility closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Hawley View Post
    Ranch house with full basement electric heat, the return air duct stopped about five off of the floor in the utility closet. Sorry the picture does not show it but it does not leave the furnace area. Besides being poor workmanship is there a code requirement that the cold air return extend to the first floor? If this were a gas furnace would there be a problem?
    IRC 1606.2 has the requirements. Must be more than 10 feet from a fuel burning appliance. Closets, mechanical rooms not ok. There are other requirements as well, including size of the room. Best bet is to take a look and compare to what you saw.

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

  3. #3
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: return air stops in utility closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Hawley View Post
    Ranch house with full basement electric heat, the return air duct stopped about five off of the floor in the utility closet.
    I'm not fully visualizing what you are describing.

    Are you saying that the return air grille (or open duct) is above/at/near the air handler unit in the basement (not connected to the AHU), and that the return air duct then runs up (to where ever)?

    Or are you saying that the return air duct is directly connected to the AHU, runs a short distance, then ends (still in the basement)?

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

  4. #4
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    Default Re: return air stops in utility closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I'm not fully visualizing what you are describing.

    Are you saying that the return air grille (or open duct) is above/at/near the air handler unit in the basement (not connected to the AHU), and that the return air duct then runs up (to where ever)?

    Or are you saying that the return air duct is directly connected to the AHU, runs a short distance, then ends (still in the basement)?
    Yes the return air duct is directly connected to the AHU, runs a short distance, then ends (still in the basement)?[/QUOTE] The the utility closet was only about 30 inches deep and the supply plenum runs left and right blocking the cold air return from continuing up to the first floor as I would have expected. So if just ends right below the supply plenum about five feet or so off of the floor.

    Sorry the picture does not show the termination, I wasn't thinking of posting when I took the picture


  5. #5
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    Oct 2015
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    il
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    Default Re: return air stops in utility closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    IRC 1606.2 has the requirements. Must be more than 10 feet from a fuel burning appliance. Closets, mechanical rooms not ok. There are other requirements as well, including size of the room. Best bet is to take a look and compare to what you saw.
    Thanks Gunnar

    I know it is not correct for gas fired furnaces just not sure with the electric unit.


  6. #6
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    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,248

    Default Re: return air stops in utility closet

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Hawley View Post
    I know it is not correct for gas fired furnaces just not sure with the electric unit.
    The code states prohibited places not to take return air from, but presumes that a contractor has sufficient sense and knowledge about their work to know where to put the return air for proper and efficient operation ... and, yes, the above does sound like an oxymoron because "if the "contractor has sufficient sense and knowledge about their work to know where to put the return air for proper and efficient operation" ... there wouldn't be a need to say where not to put the return.

    Shows the lack of knowledge and care contractors have.

    You may need to have a DIFFERENT contractor run the return duct to the living space - but let that DIFFERENT contractor decide where to put it (so they are responsible for it), or explain why it is good where it is (and "because there is no space to run it" is NOT a suitable or acceptable answer).

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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: return air stops in utility closet

    I inspected a house that had an electric furnace blowing down into the crawl space. Every room had floor vents, but there were no ducts. House 10 years old. It was nice and cozy in the crawlspace.
    My clients was very grateful, and the agent who had given him my card, well, I never saw her again, and so it goes.

    I know everybody uses their phone for pictures, but a rugged camera with flash and zoom does a way better job.

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

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