2 cold air returns, one high one low?

lovestotravelOctober 23, 2012

In daughter's new house, there is an old woodburner that we had inspected. Passed the test and tech was kind enough to give us an 'all you need to know about woodburners but was afraid to ask' presentation :) Outside of basics, he also looked around her home and came up with a couple of ways to use the woodburner as a whole-home heat source if necessary or desired -- he said it's a shame to waste the hot air that a woodburner can crank out!

He explained about how the hot air from the woodburner could go into the cold air return etc. However for better efficiency for woodburner heat, it would be better to have cold air return higher (hot air rises), right now it is on wall by floor. Turn the furnace on 'fan' and it will spread the heat out of the other ducts.

Then we talked about how a furnace is more efficient with the cold air return on the floor...

He said we could very easily cut into the wall to put in a second cold air return vent near the ceiling -- keep that one open when using the woodburner as a whole home heat source (close bottom one) and visa versa when using the furnace as the whole home heat source.

Has anyone done this? Is it really that easy to add a second vent to the same return?

Hope you understand all of this haha, and thanks in advance for replies!!

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My parents did this in their home. They swap the return location based on the season. Pull cold air off the floor during the heating season, pull from the ceiling during cooling season. Makes sense for combating hot/cold spots when you think about it. Havn't heard any complaints since they did this, so assume it works fine for them.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 5:57PM
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For the heating/cooling changeover, it makes sense to me. Now and again, I see supplies that are set up in a similar way. For the wood whatever, I am not so sure it will make that much difference if the device is near the return. Maybe if it is on the other side of the room it will help. What, in more detail, is this "woodburner" device that you write about?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 2:30PM
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Thanks for these replies! Wood burner stove. It is located at the opposite end of the long and wide room :) House is a split, therefore a few levels to distribute the heat to if she wishes to use this as an alternative heat source.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 10:04PM
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What the tech has suggested might work if you had a low fan speed setting on your furnace. If the air flow is too fast then you may get a wind chill effect and you may actually feel colder. I doubt adding a second higher vent is going to make much a difference unless you had a cathedral ceiling. Try an experiment before cutting another vent. You may not like having the fan running for long periods of time.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 8:16AM
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Thanks for this thought-provoking post, will have to figure it all out, am glad for everyone's comments!!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 6:46PM
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