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Oil furnace return question

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by briansol, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,743
    Loc:
    central ct
    I primarily burn pellets for heat, but the oil deamon still runs for my lower level (i have a split level, and the stove is on level 2 of 3 above grade, so level 1 stays cold without the oil boiler.) My hot water is off it as well so its on anyway.

    My question is, since I moved in, the previous owners had put a piece of insulation on the return vent from level 1 into the basement (level 0) (on the basement side), there-by blocking off the return vent to the basement which is foot-level on level 1 and eye level in the basment area, due to the house design.

    Should i remove this insulation for better results?

    Will this help pull warm air down into the room on level 1? Will it suck heat from the stove too? i'd like to use more pellets than oil if i can. Will this keep the basement warmer or cooler? I rent out this area to a buddy and there is no other heat source in this room than the boiler, other than his portable plug-in that eats juice. My basement is finished on the inside (the outer wall, which has a window, holds all the utilities, and a fake inner wall 4 feet out was created to wrap the utilities into the outer box and the finished area in the inside.

    What was their thought process to doing this?

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  2. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
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    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    First of all, the laws of physics will tell you that warm air will NOT travel downward, unless you force it down. Return vents are for cold air drops so the warmed air will convect upwards. Secondly, what kind of system do you actually have? You mention furnace & you mention boiler, but DHW generally doesn't run through a hot air furnace.
    Thirdly, why not just remove the insulation & see what happens? Worst case scenario is that you will have to put it back...
  3. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    central ct
    It's a boiler system with hot-water baseboards. By hot air, i meant the pellet-generated 'forced air', not the furnaces' warmed radiant effect.
    the reason why I haven't done it is that it's a PITA to get too. the false wall on this wall is about 4 inches thick.... and my 230lb ass doesn't fit in there. lol So, i don't want to find a small child to feed through the wall if i don't have to/it doesn't make sense to.
  4. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    2,785
    Loc:
    Commonwealth Of Massachussetts
    Still doesn't make sense. If you have baseboard hot water heat why is there a return?
  5. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
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    Loc:
    central ct
    I have no idea.... that's why i'm here :p it seems like the vent was part of the house (the framing wasn't cut/boxed... it was designed this way) and it's not an old house... built in 1997. So, i really don't know why its there or what i should do with it.
  6. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    2,785
    Loc:
    Commonwealth Of Massachussetts
    O.K., so it's not a cold air return. As pointed out, it is unlikely to bring warm air down, if anything it will vent heated air upwards. I would leave it blocked it it were me.
    If your tenant needs more heat, consider installing a piece of heat or a kickspace heater to run off your boiler.

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