How to make sure return is working

Old 03-07-23, 10:44 AM
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How to make sure return is working

Hi all,

We recently had a new addition built on our house and part of the project was to get a new heating/AC system.

We got a 5 ton electric heat pump (with electric back up, etc.) The air handler is in the attic.

The subcontractor that my contractor hired is kind of a rookie (I actually think this may be his 1st big project). He's made a lot of mistakes along the way, but has come back and fixed them. He installed the entire system, duct work and all.

This is a 2 floor home and he has it zoned with 1 zone upstairs and 1 down.

When he initially installed the system, he only had 1 return for the entire house which was upstairs. It is pretty big, but when the inspector came for the rough ins, he told him to put 2 more down stairs.

So he finally put the 2 in down stairs, but they are pulling in absolutely zero air! If I run the system on full blast, I cannot get either of the two downstairs, to even pull up a tissue. (You know if I hold a tissue up to the screen).
I checked in the attic and both these returns appear to be connected.

But should I be complaining here? Should my returns at least be able to pull up a tissue? I think this somewhat proves that the returns are not moving any air.

By the way, the one up stairs pulls so hard that it pulls my doors shut!
Old 03-07-23, 10:54 AM
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To positively test for more flow..... lay a piece of paper or cardboard over main return grill.
Now check the downstairs returns.
You can use a match or smoldering piece of paper too.
Run system in fan on mode when restricting airflow.
carlg voted this post useful.
Old 03-07-23, 11:15 AM
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Great idea,

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