Does my HVAC return have to be in the ceiling?

Answered by Brett ~ November 20, 2010 ~ Comments

I have a split level house and right now my furnace is in the utility room directly below my kitchen. The duct runs up the full height of the house and is partially blocking the doorway into my kitchen which I would like to widen. Does the return duct have to run all the way to the attic and finish in the ceiling? Would it be possible to end the return on a main floor wall and remove the duct that runs through the main floor? Right now the duct is in such a inconvenient location in middle of the house. Thanks in advance for the advice.

Silvana ~ Fredericksburg, Virginia

Brett Kulina

Silvana, when asked if something is possible, I always like to answer that anything is possible, especially when remodeling a house. The trick is to make sure that the possibilities make sense, don't blow your remodeling budget, and are safe.

It should not be a problem to relocate some duct work in your house, as long as the new ducting will not reduce the volume of return air that feeds into your furnace. Likewise, you need to also ensure that you are not reducing the amount of heated air that is flowing from your furnace into your home's interior. When designing a heat system for a house, a HVAC contractor relies on lots of needed information, such as air volume measurements, home insulation specifications, length of proposed duct runs and even window sizes and measurements. Therefore, altering any of these factors can effect how well your HVAC system functions, and this is why it is important for you to consult a HVAC contractor before your relocate any duct work in your house.

Like I said, anything is possible, and your plans sound like a reasonable way to increase the size of the doorway into your kitchen. Soliciting advice from a HVAC contractor who works in the Fredericksburg area will allow you to complete this project knowing that you have not compromised the design of your home's heat system. Good luck with your project and I hope you enjoy your newly remodeled kitchen.

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