I noticed quite a large opening (8" x 8") in the cold air return going into
my furnace in my basement.
It's been missing a while, and it's in a ackward spot to fix.
What is the prblems associated with this hole, and what improvements will I
gain by spending the time to fix it (seal the opening)?
It depends on alot of things, I leave mine open in winter to get it a
bit warmer and keep the air circulating and in summer close it for AC
to pull the most from the second floor return. It depends on duct
sizing, moisture issues, if you heat the basement or not..
IIUC, the air in the house, the heated air that has cooled off by
being in the rooms for a while, making contact with the cold windows,
being diluted by cold air from leaks, etc, Is pushed out of the room
my the hot air being blown into it, and is pulled out of the room by
the suction of the cold air return.
ISTM a hole like yours substantially lowers the suction. Thus it cuts
down on the circulation in the room and on the efficiency of the hot
air fan. I wonder if, even though now there is more than ever cold
air in the return, the longer more convuluted path that might arise
for air return might also cut down on the circulation. Or maybe that
would be counting the same thing twice.
You don't have to fix it right, with sheet metal and whatever. If it
is not a flammable area, a piece of carboard and duct tape, or even
duck tape, would probably last for 10 years. Then you can do it again
for another 10 years.
Depending on air circulation in the area, a danger exists of exhaust
gases being drawn into the air return. For that reason, a forced air
furnace installed in a closet often must have a combustion air supply
separate from the living space.
About the only natural gas by-product it would suck in is a fart in the
basement. Return air ducts have openings in every room of the house just to
suck in farts and re-distribute them to the rest of the house. Now, take a
deep breath and think about the furnace setup. .
Not be scare you, but you should have your basement/house tested for
Radon. If you have elevated radon levels, you DEFINATELY want to have
it fixed. You don't want to blow that into your living space. If
not, it's no big deal.
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