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Requirement for Return vents in a home


aaron
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I wanted to get to a site that could tell me the standard placement for Return vents.

I know that this will change from area to area, I just need something that would tell me the industry standard for the placement of Returns. Specifically, if they are needed on each level of the house.

Thank

Aaron Flook

A-Z Tech Home Inspections

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Hi Aaron:

Try http://www.ashrae.org/ to start with.

On a new home you should expect to find return air ducts in all rooms especially bedrooms!

On older homes it's a crap shoot. The home may have only had one return air grill which was usually cut into the floor of the first floor. This may have worked ok for heating but it is quite problematic for a/c. I always tell my clients to expect the second floor to be 10 degrees warmer (or there abouts) when running a/c. Adding return air upstairs always helps however, not always feasible.

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To make it work good, Sizing the return is important. And all Flex Duct returns terminating on the return air plenums would be best. Though not popular, it all needs to be as leak proof as possible. Standard placement.... I don't think there ia a requirement..... Seen them all over. Oh Yea, did I say size is important.

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On a new home you should expect to find return air ducts in all rooms especially bedrooms!

I never see them in individual rooms, unless that room has its own system. I find them in central hallways most of the time. The air return comes from the undercut bedroom doors. I admit that this is not enough but it is all that the builders are required to do in my area and just about every other part of south that I have seen.

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That's interesting, on "almost" all homes here, that have been built since around '96, have a return layout as described. My 3 bedroom condo, built in '97, has them in each room (the living room & dining room share one). I'll breakout our states code book which, is based on IRC, and give it a scan. Regardless, the HVAC systems performs much better with this type of design.

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Originally posted by Paul MacLean

The situation here in Central Texas is like that described by Scott and Mike.

Same here in AZ. Some builders have been adding "jumper" ducts that equalize pressure. These are registers that connect to each other by ducting, one being in the hall, and one or more in the bedrooms.

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