After thinking about this a bit I am curious whether new homes now
offer two things that I think would improve they way air returns
work in forced-air systems. In my ancient home I of course lack these...
1. Filters located at the entry of the air-returns rather than just
before the furnace blower, so that your ductwork will get less dirty
over the years.
2. Two level air returns, that can be closed, with one at the floor
and one at the ceiling, so that in the Summer you would open the
return at the ceiling and in the Winter you would open the one at the
The second is becoming more common. The first is not a good idea
because restricting the inlet to the ducts will put the whole return
duct at a lower pressure, causing it to pull dirt etc in through the
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