Cold air return


When changing my furnace filter I looked inside the cold air return and noticed it was very dirty inside. I want to vacuum it out but the filter slot is to small to get the hose of the vacuum in it. I was wondering if I should cut an access hole in the sheet metal to get to it. When I am done should I 1) just close the hole back up with sheet metal and duct tape or 2) put a vent cover over it. The reason I was thinking a vent cover might be a good idea is because the unit is located in a utility room that has just the furnace and a hot water heater and by putting a vent in there it might help circulate the excess heat from the room into the rest of the house.
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On Dec 27, 6:38 am, "JimmyDahGeek@DON'T_SPAM_ME_gmail.com"

Unless the furnace has a sealed combustion unit that pulls the air in from outside the house, putting a return air vent in the closet may disrupt the natural combustion product flow or possibly pull combustion products into the house.
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What he said. The return air suction in the furnace room might pull smoke down the chimney. The furnace might be 90 percenter, but the WH likely isn't.
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Christopher A. Young
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Thanks for all of the responses. That is what I like about this news group. What sounded like a good idea to me probably isn't. I think I'll pass on the vent and just try removing a section to clean it.
On Dec 27, 10:38 am, "Stormin Mormon"

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On Dec 27, 6:38�am, "JimmyDahGeek@DON'T_SPAM_ME_gmail.com"

Put in the vent, assuming the vented air will be filtered also. You can always close the vent if you feel it is un-needed. I did it, no problems.
Hank
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Risk of sucking smoke down the water heater chimney.
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Christopher A. Young
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It is even possible to pull so much air down the WH chimney as to put out the pilot.
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In the furnaces I've installed, the cold air return "boot" is installed with several sheet metal screws. It is likely possible to remove the sheet metal, by removing several screws. Several in the side of the furnace, and several screws where the vertical pipe hooks to the horizontal duct in the floor.
That would be easier than sheet metal work, and patching later.
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Christopher A. Young
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On Dec 27, 5:38 am, "JimmyDahGeek@DON'T_SPAM_ME_gmail.com"

If dirt in duct is before the filter leave it alone, a vent in the utility room will probably make the water heater chimney suck in so it will be venting burnt gas inside, it could affect the pilot light also. Did you ever have a pro clean and check out everything. That would be smartest. Your experimenting might be a disaster.
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You may be correct, unless he has an electric water heater.
Hank
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On Dec 27, 3:38 am, "JimmyDahGeek@DON'T_SPAM_ME_gmail.com"

Unless you;re set on providing a larger access hole....
Try this, take one of those cardboard tubes from Xmas wrapping paper, fit it to the vacuum hose. Squeeze it down in diameter, making an oval of sorts. Seal the end with tape and cut a slot on the bottom side of the now squeezed tube. This should allow you to suck up most of the debris.
A vent is probably ok IF the combustion air doesn't come from that room.
cheers Bob
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Excellent idea. Thanks, I'm sure this will work.

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They sell attachments for cleaner hoses that attach a small diameter hose to the end of the normal one. That would be easier than doing sheet metal work, and you would have a handy tool to use in cleaning things like your computer (you would be surprised how much dirt accumulates in there and interferes with cooling if you don't clean it out. My wife got hers at an Oreck store; I'm sure other stores have them, too. Or you could just tape a piece of tubing in place.
JimmyDahGeek@DON'T_SPAM_ME_gmail.com wrote:

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