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  • Mystery vent?????

    Hey all,

    I am not an HVAC expert at all. I understand the basic concept of ensuring neutral pressure in a forced air heating system, that about limits my understanding of the furnace system in my house.

    Here is my question:

    My wife and I just recently purchased a home and in one of the rooms in our house, I noticed that some cold air was coming from what I believed was a return air register for the furnace (it was located just about 5 inches above the floor on one of my walls). A quick investigation revealed that this is not connected to the furnace system at all and just leads to what otherwise looks like a dryer vent to the outside of my house (length from the "register" to the "dryer vent" is approximately 3').

    Of course, when I discovered this I thought to myself, let's seal it up, insulate it and call it a day. But my limited knowledge has made me reach out to the experts because I thought, "is it possible that this was put here to equalize pressure in our home?" It doesn't make sense to me if it is because why would it just vent/draw air from outside like this and not be directly connected to the furnace system. My limited understanding would make me believe that an efficient forced air heating system would be self-sustaining with just heat register's and the regular return registers that are in every room.

    So, am I right? Does this extra, unattached "register" have absolutely nothing to do with my forced air heating system and I can seal it up? Or do I not touch it? Maybe the gas company put it in there so that cold air would always come in the house during the winter to ensure I use lots of their gas!?!?!?! lol

    Your assistance is much appreciated!

    Cheers,

    Adam
    Last edited by cormier33; 02-26-2011, 02:09 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Mystery vent?????

    From my understanding of what your describing I see it serves no current purpose,

    some have places have a fresh air vent into the furnace area, but I do not think this is what your saying. (so the furnace has a good supply of combustion air).

    my guess is it may have been some type of vent for some type of hobbies work or some thing a previous owner may have done, and the "quick" way to deal with it was to put a vent over it,

    usually if there is a fresh air vent, it goes through a heat exchanger, to warm the incoming air from the out going warm air, (usually only used on a super insulated and extra tightly sealed homes)
    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
    attributed to Samuel Johnson
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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    • #3
      Re: Mystery vent?????

      Do not block the pipe. It sounds like a fresh air intake for the furnace, in older homes it was piped into the return air ducting. In newer homes it is piped to close proximity to the appliances. Get a professional to check out your system to make sure it is all piped properly. Different areas have differing requirements, but all gas fired appliances require fresh air for proper combustion. We can speculate on here and give some advice, but at the end of the day the best thing is to get someone who works with hvac to check it out.

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      • #4
        Re: Mystery vent?????

        Hey BHD,

        Thanks very much for the response. To add a bit more information, the "mystery vent" is located in my dining room. My furnace and hot water heater are both located in a small closet on the opposite side of the house. They have the proper exhaust pipes and the majority of the large venting is underneath my main floor in a 4' finished crawlspace.

        The "mystery vent" is partially made from the same style of ductwork that the rest of the furnace uses but, as I noted earlier, is in no way connected.

        So, with your information, I believe you are correct and I would say that considering the distance between the "mystery vent" and the furnace and the fact that the "mystery vent" is not connected to a heat exchanger, I think it is something I could seal up.

        Knowing the position of the furnace and the "mystery vent" would you still agree?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Mystery vent?????

          Originally posted by shock1964 View Post
          Do not block the pipe. It sounds like a fresh air intake for the furnace, in older homes it was piped into the return air ducting. In newer homes it is piped to close proximity to the appliances. Get a professional to check out your system to make sure it is all piped properly. Different areas have differing requirements, but all gas fired appliances require fresh air for proper combustion. We can speculate on here and give some advice, but at the end of the day the best thing is to get someone who works with hvac to check it out.

          I see, thanks very much for the information. I think considering the materials used to make up the vent that I will leave it as is.

          It is approximately 20 feet away from the furnace but it is the only fresh air intake I note that is located on the main floor of my house.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Mystery vent?????

            I would doubt if it is a fresh air intake for the furnace, but I would have no idea on the why it is there,
            maybe having a local person look it over could be good for a final decision,

            but IF It was a air intake for the furnace I would think moving to the furnace area would be wise,
            Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
            attributed to Samuel Johnson
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Mystery vent?????

              Originally posted by BHD View Post
              I would doubt if it is a fresh air intake for the furnace, but I would have no idea on the why it is there,
              maybe having a local person look it over could be good for a final decision,

              but IF It was a air intake for the furnace I would think moving to the furnace area would be wise,

              That is what I had thought. I've really looked over everything now and I see there are 2 fresh air vents leading into the closet that contains my gas furnace/gas hot water heater. One that is open and measures the regular register dimensions and is open, the other comes up from my crawlspace and seems to disappear into the bottom of my furnace.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Mystery vent?????

                In Vancouver, BC?

                Crop ventilation...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Mystery vent?????

                  Originally posted by Bldr View Post
                  In Vancouver, BC?

                  Crop ventilation...
                  hahaha.....if I didn't know any better! lol

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Mystery vent?????

                    how far away from this vent is a return duct
                    It is not for fresh air ,fresh air goes into the return just before it hits the unit ,this way it has a chance to heat the air before it goes into the house
                    Charlie

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                    • #11
                      Re: Mystery vent?????

                      Originally posted by HVAC HAWK View Post
                      how far away from this vent is a return duct
                      It is not for fresh air ,fresh air goes into the return just before it hits the unit ,this way it has a chance to heat the air before it goes into the house
                      The closest return duct vent is in the same room, approximately 8-10 feet away.

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