Short story: I own an old 2 story frame house with basement in North
Central WI built before 1930. I am in need of a new furnace and "was"
considering a high efficiency unit with central air (house is 24x34
Every HVAC contactor who I have received a quote from says that for a
high efficiency furnace w/central air that I realistically need return
vents in every room. I understand the reason why I need return vents,
but I'm not willing to shell out the extra $ to put returns all over
the house since I live in a region where central air is not a
requirement for comfortable living in the summer time (I have large
trees on the South elevation which provide substantial shade to the
house in the summer). I currently have an ancient Lenox Aire Flo
K5-135M (135k BTU input / 108k BTU output) with the air intake on top
of the furnace and a single return opening through the first floor
The question is whether it is possible to have a high efficiency
furnace without return vents? (the furnace is in the basement). I'm
willing to have a lower efficiency unit without central air as a
trade-off for not having to spend the extra $ to put returns all over
the house. If I go with a lower efficiency unit, what percentage
efficiency might it be, and what would be the best make/model for this
type of scenario/design?
Thanks in advance for any advice,
As you know, all those contractors are wrong. Here's my expert advice. Have
them block off the one intake in the living room, and just have one large
one in the bathroom. This should be suffice for your high efficiency a/c.
Good thing you don't listen to those jack legs.
I am not HVAC person but I seen enough installation
and I can't tell you what will be good for your situation
however if you house configuration allow you to put return
air duct some place centrally located in your house you should
not have any problems many installations are done that way and
what ever others might tell you otherwise. I will assumed that
your stairways are open and not enclosed, also focus that
60 to 70% of your supply air is going on upper floor.
Curious. You said 24 x 34? You said 2 story? You know, a single wide is
about those dimensions. I know you said basement...... but does your house
have chrome hubcaps? Is the basement about crawl height?
I'm not trailer trash. The height of the basement is 96 inches from
the basement floor to the bottom of the first floor (excluding the
2x8's). My intention here was to seek an opinion by anyone who has no
pecuniary interest in the advice rendered. With the exception of
udarrell, most of the folks here seem to be more interested in waving
their dick around to see who can insult civilians with the greatest
intensity. With the exception of just a few persons, this group
appears to be largely a usenet wasteland.
Look sport, you were told that the new furnace DOES require return air ducts
and vents.... Now, quit being a cheap bastard, and let the contractor do his
job instead of trying to second guess him. you got the information you
wanted.... now go away.
Well there ya go. Why don't ask *your* local HVAC professional? I think
you will find that most HVAC people are generally compassionate and honest
to *their* clients. Unlike your self obviously because *you* are looking
for free info. That's what the interent is about. Try Google - it's free
and there's a host of sights that will give you the information you seek
just by inquiring.
Now go find your own cirlce to jerk.
Joe, I just found out this group is a troll party. Udarell is about the
only helpful person here. The standard answer to most questions appears
to be "you're a retard. Call a pro." That said, FTWHD is right.
If you've asked several contractors and they have all said you need
returns in every room, it's reliable information. That or it's a
I suggest you consider the more expensive option. It will increase the
value of the house in the long run. Plus, the high efficiency will
eventually justify itself with the lower utility cost.
I'll put my two cents in. As you might expect, there are a broad
range of opinions on how to design residential AC systems. In
general, and a "best" practice, you'll have a return for every room
that you are supplying. That allows the room heat load to be taken
out and directly fed to the AC unit. That said, most residential
systems are not built or designed that way. I live in northern calif
(SF Bay) were we have limited AC demands. We have only one return in
a common area. I think your designer can take some of this into
consideration when designing your system. You'll still save energy in
that the newer units are much better in terms of using the energy they
burn (the definition of effieiency - energy in divided by energy
out). You may find that some rooms may not cool as well as they might
if had a direct return. Check out some commericial or other
residential .....I'm sure you'll find that each office or room does
not have a return. Having said that, if you have a common return or a
limited number of returns, thier location needs to be thought out some
and they have to be sized adequately. With fewer returns, the
remaining returns will need to larger to accomidate the added flow.
hope this helps.....Jack
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