The Best Place for Air Return Ducts in a Two-Story House

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Air ducts are an integral part of your Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning, or HVAC, system; inadequate duct work can dramatically affect the climate comfort of your home. Two-story houses present their own series of challenges when you install ducts, as they often must run through walls or ceilings to reach the lower level. Certain locations are more preferable to house your ducts.

General Information

  • Many HVAC units are split systems in which the condenser is located outside and the evaporator coil is located inside. The heat pump transports heat from one unit to the other. During hot weather, the HVAC system takes heat from inside the home and transports it outside so that cold air can remain indoors and be circulated through ducts. Ducts are installed through holes in the subfloor so that they can run from the attic to lower floors.

Closet

  • A closet can often be used to run ducts through them. A typical duct will only take up about 4 cubic feet of the closet's space. This allows you to effectively run the duct through the closet without taking up valuable space or sacrificing the architecture of your home.

Laundry Chute

  • A laundry chute can often be substituted for an air return duct. Old laundry chutes are often centrally located near bedrooms and extend to the lower floor. Their compact size make them ideal for use as air return ducts. Of course, using a laundry chute for this purpose means you will have to sacrifice the laundry convenience.

Pantry

  • A pantry often runs from the first floor to an interior wall on the second floor. This option is best for you if square footage is limited and you don't want to take up any of the available space.

Bedroom

  • Adding duct work in a bedroom can help make a convenient location to run a vent. It may be necessary to add the duct, then drywall around it. The drywall will hide the duct so that it looks like it is part of the wall, while providing the necessary link between the first and second floors.

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