How to Build a Cold Air Return

Published on: Feb 10 2014 by Austin Dopp

EcoFoil is an ecofriendly and economical way to construct joist panning for hvac returns.Cold air returns are an important part of heating a house. These vents return cool air to a furnace for heating. Without cold air returns, furnaces perform poorly because they have little air to heat. The heater may need to draw air from outside, shortening its lifespan and introducing pollution into your home.

 

When a new furnace is installed, an HVAC specialist may recommend adding additional cold air returns. When cold air returns are properly insulated, the furnace will require less energy to reheat the air returned via the cold air return.

 

Also known as cold air panning or return panning, there are two common ways to construct a cold air return:

Cold Air Return Materials - metal1. Construct a Cold Air Return with Sheet Metal Duct Material

Metal ducts are often used to create cold air returns. These cold air returns are similar to the ducts used throughout the rest of your heating system. Metal ducts can be insulated easily with EcoFoil R-8 duct insulation which will reduce air leakage to improve your furnace’s energy efficiency. However, using rigid venting to install cold air returns is expensive, labor intensive, and requires significant space beneath your house or inside the walls.

 

Return-Air-Panning2. Using Joist Panning to Create a Cold Air Return

Joist panning is an easy way to construct a cold air return from the spaces between joists in a home. Because it takes advantage of existing space, it’s an excellent option if there is little room to add rigid sheet metal ducts.

 

A common way to install a joist cold air return is using foil-faced cardboard products , which are stapled directly to the floor joist. While effective, these must be replaced if they become wet. The cardboard design is also in-flexible and can be difficult to seal properly.

 

EcoFoil reflective insulation is used for joist panning of cold air returns.  EcoFoil’s 16″ floor joist insulation is an eco-friendly and economical alternative to using cardboard foil.  EcoFoil requires no special tools and can be stapled directly to the joist for quick installation. Unlike the more rigid cardboard-based products that can be damaged by moisture, Eco-Foil is both flexible and waterproof.  It is important that you create an air-tight seal on the seams with EcoFoil’s premium HVAC tape, which will increase the efficiency of your HVAC system.

 

In some states, building codes allow the creation of cold air returns without having to insulating the area.  EcoFoil floor joist insulation is a superior joist panning material because it is insulation and can add an R-17 to your cold air return.  This saves you time and money during installation of your cold air returns and for the life of your home.  Of all the methods for constructing cold air returns, joist panning with EcoFoil is the simplest and least expensive way to build a cold air return.

 

Have you created cold air returns with EcoFoil? Let us know! Your story just may be featured on a future blog post. Contact us via the link at the top of the page, or give us a call at 888-349-3645. We’re here Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm (CST).

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