While doing a little home improvement, I took down a hall closet(in the
front hallay) and built a new closet on the opposite wall away from the
Now comes the ooppss. A few weeks later I notice that the cold air return
on the second floor is no longer sucking any air. Take off the grill, get a
flashlight and mirror and look through the cavity and realize that the small
whole in the ceiling downstairs from inside the closet wall I took down must
have been the hole that I covered up. So now I go to the basment and find
the cavity that has the duct work in it for the upstairs hallway and sure
enough, it's covered.
All that said and done, my question is, how do I get the cold air from
upstairs to go away? It is now colder up there than it ever was. There is
one other cold air return and thats at the opposite end of the hall, so I
don't think this one return is sufficient to handle all the cold air from 4
Any comments/suggestions would greatly be appreciated.
C in NY
So you're saying the cold air return "duct" in a two-story dwelling
was the wall cavity between two joists in between an external return
register/angle and short duct on each end?
If so, this violates every building code for fire blocking I ever saw
and should be corrected. You really should route a cold air return
somehow to connect the two ends w/ regular HVAC ductwork and ensure
there is blocking in the previous hole. Also, if there is a second
return also in the same fashion, it ought to be corrected as well.
This is common practice where I live (in residential construction) and
is passed by our building inspectors. Can't have an outlet in that
space, and wires and pipes must cross horizontally in a vertical
space. As for how you restore the return path, that is really going
to take someone standing there and figuring it out. There's no magic
answer. Don't think it really matters if it is in a duct or a joist
space. I think some remodelling is in your future!
Really??? Granted it's been a while since I've been involved in new
construction of a multi-story residence, but it would _never_ have
been approved to have a combustible chamber serve as a return
_between_ floors. It was required to have an unbroken inflammable
connection through the plate between floors.
I was responding to a reply that said it was a practice _still_ being
approved in his area and found that astounding -- saw many old houses
that way when doing the rebuild/refurbish, but was unaware that it was
still an approved practice anywhere in the US...of course, I was
assuming the respondent was/is in the US. :)
my 1950 home uses the stud cavaties for return air and some original
power lines pass thru the cavaties too.
Of course the builder also ran a sewer line to the underside of the
home to drain any excess under slab water.This results in flooded
sewer plant, politics dictate a bigger sewer plant otherwise all 3000
homes would need all new sewr lines including under the basement floor
about 10 grand per home.
Neither of these would pass building inspection today
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