AC return duct

On one side of my house there is an AC serving 4 bedrooms with a bathroom in the middle. The AC handler is located up in the attic inside the bathroom.
This bathroom has a lower ceiling than other rooms in the house.
I recently took down the sheetrock and noticed that this lower ceiling is an "add on", it was built and attached to the joists. After taking down the insulation and everything it is clear to me now the one single reason to build this lower ceiling is to accomodate a 16" insulated coiled duct from one side of the house to the other side of the handler.
There are altogether five returns, one in each room, and one in the hallway, and seven supplies (one in each of the 4 rooms, one in each of the three baths). The returns from two rooms on one side of the bath came together and then dropped into the lower part of the ceiling and go past the AC handler from below and then merge with the return ducts from the other two rooms on the opposite side.
So I am thinking, why do I need five returns? Many houses have only one return, so if I completely eliminate the return from one side of the house, I could eliminate that duct, and hence I can eliminate the lowered ceiling.
The AC guy says I could do that, and still have three returns on the other side, but I may feel a slight difference in temperature on one side. But he also said he is hesitant to remove that duct because it's 1970 sheet metal we are talking about and once you break it you may be opening a can of worms. These foam sprayed insulation on sheet metal may just disintegrate.
Any comments on the pros/cons of removing the returns from one side?
Thanks,
MC
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On May 22, 1:29 pm, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I dont think much of your ac guy and im not one, removing returns will affect you especialy with the Ac on, it was well thought out and balanced and I bet works now, instead of 16" round replace the section in the bath with rectangular duct it may only need to be 3-4" with the correct width, you could maybe raise the ceiling a foot. I dont understand why it would be more trouble than gaining a higher ceiling and keeping a balanced system or what the big deal is he is worried about, I think you need someone better.
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needed, but that doesn't mean you can't find another route to put a new run unless your just plain out of space. Anytime you can at least maintain returns you should. Removing a return will just start other problems. Lou
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote in news:04eebb71-5cd6-4eb3-8073-394c7e113768@ 27g2000hsf.googlegroups.com:

Each coil is designed to have a specific amout of air going over it per unit time. The return & ducts both affect this. Change it and the system becomes imbalanced and less efficient as well as the possibility of the AC to having to work harder, if it can.
I am not an AC guy. But a week ago a 25yr company owner is where I got that info from.
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