The Return Air Chase – Misunderstood and Often Abused

The return air chase (aka “the return” or “return”) is the box or space located directly behind your air filter. Some returns are designed to work in the ceiling and others are located on a wall. Most often this space is in a common area of your home. Your thermostat should be located near the return filter. All the air in your home will eventually be drawn into the air handler (your heating/cooling system) through the filter on it way to be conditioned and then re-distributed to the home. Your comfort largely depends on air temperature.

See this basic concept below:

Indoor air and it’s quality depend on the design of the interconnected parts of your home; somewhat like the knee bone is connected to the hip bone. Air quality can suffer when there are poor connections or no connections within the return air system. The system can become dirty (sick house) if the air return system can’t properly do its job.  In the video below we see a system that is drawing air borne particulates through an unsealed chase, bringing in outdoor air and picking up humidity and has lost a tremendous amount of pressure/velocity due to the leaky chase. The system is also drawing unwanted gases (radon), pollen, fumes and a host of other unhealthy conditions.

Watch the video:

A properly installed chase does not allow air into the return without first being drawn through the air filter. A sealed return protects your system from increased maintenance, provides improved indoor air quality and helps keep you healthy.

Watch this video as he attempts to balance the home by adding a return chase, as we mentioned above. Call us for a thorough inspection of your return air chase, duct system and heating and cooling system. Air balance is so very important in helping you fight high energy bills and controlling your comfort.

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