Location of Forced Air Vents in Basement

Hi,
We are developing our basement and are receiving different recommendations from different contractors. We have 8.5 foot ceiling and want the basement to be warm. Some contractors state that it is best to install the forced air heat runs close to the ceiling (near windows) and cold air returns near the floor. Other contractors state that the forced air heats runs should be near the floor and the cold air returns should be near the floor (across the room).
Before we invest all this money, does anyone know which recommendation is correct? We live in Canada and do have cold winters. The main "rec room" that will be developed in the basement will probably have a gas fireplace. The total square footage of our basement is 850.
Any help or recommendations would be appreciated.
John
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On 3 Feb 2005 12:32:22 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (Joh Harris) wrote:

Hi John,
I'm a contractor in Calgary; about 70% of my business is finishing basements. The short answer is that both are right.
My counsel to you would be as follows:
The "correct" way would be to drop the heating ducts and cold air return to floor level. It is also the most expensive.
Another way is to drop only the cold air return ... returns (plural) if there is more than one room ... and leave the heating ducts in the ceiling. This has the effect of drawing the hot air down into the room. It is cheaper and, my hvac guys assure, just as effective.
This second approach is the one we take in almost all cases.
You might want to consider supplementary electric baseboard heat on separate thermostats in bedroom, office and bath (if you're adding those). I suggest it for two reasons: 1) it is difficult to balance a single forced air furnace between two and three levels and 2) it is most useful in the summer when the basement can be cool compared to the upstairs.
Since you will have a gas fireplace in the main room, I wouldn't worry about that area.
Hope this helps,
Ken
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'Other contractors state that the forced air heats runs should be near the floor and the cold air returns should be near the floor (across the room).'
ME: This is the best. The supplys should be near the floor and close to windows if at all possible. Returns should be as far away from the supplys to eliminate stratification , and near the floor also. If you live in a very frigid part of North America, then supplementing with baseboard electric may be required also..especially on the coldest of days.
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Warm air rises. You can save heat and blower power by putting returns in the floor near windows and supplies near the top of interior walls.
Nick
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snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

Dave (HVACFella.) should know this; he's full of hot air and blows regularly. What happened to DaveinLakeVilla, DaveinIllinois, and all your other nicks? Why have you gone back to HVACFella? You were exposed as a hack many time under that one last year! The inconsistency of this retard never ceases to amaze me!
Incidentally why are you no longer preaching your version of Xianity all over usenet? Have you finally realised that all that we Pagans said in the dating groups you trolled was true? Or did you just get fedup with banging your head on a brick wall? Don't assume that I disagree with you having your own individual non-Pagan belief in any way; that is your choice and your right. : While I may not agree with your dogma I do agree that you have every right to believe it on a personal level. It seems strange that you have suddenly abruptly stopped trying to shove it down people's throats against their will. Why the change of tac?
--
My part-time website is at http://5110.sytes.net
The full-time one is at http://www.geocities.com/spmf38 , but there's
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wrote:

Returns on outside...floor level......TO FUNNY!!
~kjpro~
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This speaks to typical HVAC criminal ignorance.
Nick
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all
Just what profession are you associated with?
Give you a clue, mine is HVAC!
~kjpro~
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all
Actually, Daves post did....KJs didnt.
I guess you dont know a thing about Manual D, or how to insure that a home is PROPERLY cooled and heated..
I guess all this time we have been doing it so wrong...
Please, Mr WannaBe Master HVAC Tech....tell those of us who know better what you know...or think you know.
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Not necessarily. Harry Thomason had the right idea.

There's a typical HVAC criminal mixture of ignorance and arrogance :-)
We can save heat power because cooler windows lose less heat to the outdoors. We can save blower power because an interior wall or an enclosed stairwell can act as a convector, with a column of warm air that creates a bouyant force above a heat source. Got something against saving fuel and electricity?
Why fight nature? House air tends to cool and fall near exterior walls.
Nick
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Joh Harris wrote:

Hi, My basement has hot air vent at floor level and return duct like you mentioned. I think it's only logical. I live in Calgary. Basement is ~1300 sq. ft. of 2 storey house and ceiling is 8 ft. high. Basement walls are insulated with R12 fiberglass batts with vapor barrier top to bottom and it was finished when house was built. It's cool in summer, warm in winter. Tony
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Interesting. I just moved into my house a few months ago and I have a hot air system with an A/C coil added to it for central air. My basement has the vents at ceiling level by the windows. My return grill is at the furnace. For some reason someone marked on the return grill "open for cooling, close for heat". Right now, the grill is closed. I also have return grills up athe the 1st and 2nd floors and those grills are open. Should I have my return grill in the basement open? Now that I read this discussion it makes sense to have the return grill open to draw the heat down from the vents.
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Mike;
I'd guess that the previous home owner opened the bottom return grille during cooling because he / she didn't have sufficent return upstairs in the first place.
A common problem with many HVAC installations is there is insufficent return.. Call your local proffesional out, have him / her check your ducts and the layout. You'll problable find that the ducts weren't designed to any particlar mean, and, you could drastically cut your utility bill by having them professionally designed and installed.
It is a known fact by the trade that many systems have too small of returns and the duct system usually leaks somthing on the order of 20% - 30%. So give your neighborhood pro a call and have him / her take a look.
Zyp

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