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Hi there, please forgive my ignorance here, but I’m definitely a layman and don’t know all the lingo. We’ve had such bad experience with HVAC companies in our area that I don’t trust anyone locally to give me a straight answer when it comes to questions about our HVAC setup.

my specific question relates to modifying our returns. We have a 2000 sq ft two story house. The house was 125 years old and remodeled to add the second story before we bought it. As such, it seems they had to think “creatively” in order to incorporate a modern HVAC set-up. The furnace and air handler are located in a small crawl space with the supply and return ducts running directly beside one another and up to the ceiling of the 1st floor, where they then distribute to the rest of the house. The main return is located directly above the furnace unit, 3-4 feet from the unit.

when hvac kicks on, whether we’re talking about AC or Heat, the sound coming from the main return is loud enough to affect normal conversation in the immediate area. It is not a whistling sound, or a hum. It just sounds like an extremely loud fan. When we have had HVAC people out to the house for maintenance before, they’ve told us it is loud because the main return is just so close to the air handler.

My questions are:

1. Does the diagnosis sound right? The return is too close to the air handler?

2. we have 6 other returns throughout the house, various sizes. Would it be feasible or even advisable to somehow close or seal off the main return in order to address this problem?

3. Are there any other ways to fix this problem without serious modifications to the duct.

thanks sincerely for your opinion!
 

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