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airheatman
airheatman, HVAC Technician
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 7724
Experience:  Furnace, A/C and heat pump specialist.
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There, we have a 1922 small home in Portland, OR. We're

Customer Question

Hi there, we have a 1922 small home in Portland, OR. We're looking to air seal and insulate the attic. In the basement, at the bottom of the stairs (two short runs with a landing) there is a plywood encased floor joist that runs under a large vent in the floor of the first floor hall. It basically just ends by the forced air furnace, which is about 12 yo and is Energy Star rated at a 90-92.
Some really careless DIYers had closed off the furnace and natural gas hot water heater in it's own room and the enclosed joist kind of ends on the top of the wall. There is no fresh air from the outside for furnace combustion, but 2 large louvered vents in the door that is used to close the wall.
Question? Do we need to keep that chintzy wallboard/plywood-encased joist? It basically hits us on the head as we exit the staircase.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: HVAC
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
To clarify, the cheaply enclosed floor joist runs along the basement ceiling, starting at a large wooden vent inset in the first floor hallway and ending at the top of the wall enclosing the furnace room. There's no connection to the furnace that we can see. We'd love to just remove it, and then add a combustion line from the outside (or whatever is supposed to be best in better sealed homes - medium tight envelope, probably, as it's super leaky now). There are currently two smaller return ducts (we think) in the first floor dining room and sunroom.
Expert:  airheatman replied 7 months ago.
First thing we have to do is determine for sure they are not using this as an air chase to supply those vents.Back in those days it was common practice and acceptable to use the joists as a duct.Do you have any pics you can attach?If you have a paper clip icon on your page you can attach using that link.OrYou can upload the pictures using the tiny pic site .Here is a link to the site.http://tinypic.com/Click on Browse , select the file from your folder.then click UPLOAD NOW.They will give you a quote to enter in the box to verify you are a human.Enter the quote and click UPLOAD NOWYou will see your picture on right side of screen.Then copy the link URL for email & IMPaste that link here on the site.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I'll grab my phone and post a couple pics. Thanks.
Expert:  airheatman replied 7 months ago.
Standing by
Expert:  airheatman replied 7 months ago.
I am about to leave for dinner.I can open to other experts while I am gone.I will be around tomorrow if no one is able to help tonight
Expert:  airheatman replied 6 months ago.
I see no one has helped you.Did you get the pictures?If you have a paper clip icon on your page you can attach using that link.OrYou can upload the pictures using the tiny pic site .Here is a link to the site.http://tinypic.com/Click on Browse , select the file from your folder.then click UPLOAD NOW.They will give you a quote to enter in the box to verify you are a human.Enter the quote and click UPLOAD NOWYou will see your picture on right side of screen.Then copy the link URL for email & IMPaste that link here on the site.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Wow. That was an involved process. My apologies, the family acted up and I was having serious issues finding how to reply to this message while supposedly logged in. Anyway, here are photos. Hopefully they are large/clear enough. The first photos are of the channel half of which is open now to the vent upstairs so you can see how it's built. It runs along a joist to the wall of the furnace enclosure, takes a 90 turn at the edge of the wall on the side opposite the furnace room and ends at the top of the furnace wall immediately above furnace. It's hard to see. The other photos are pics of the furnace itself.
Expert:  airheatman replied 6 months ago.
Looks to me like as I mentioned, they are using the joists as an air chase.If this is the case you would need to run ductwork somewhow to the vent. I think from looking at picture it is return air.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thanks - return air ducts should be actually connected to the furnace, correct? In this case, it isn't -- but perhaps it should be.
Expert:  airheatman replied 6 months ago.
Yes they should be.Hard to tell in pics as they are all cut off .Is the duct connected to that chaise?

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