Furnace components

This is a 3 year old bryant furnace installed on the 2nd level of a townhome.

I recommended an HVAC specialist for about 5 reasons.

1/ The serviceman switch wasnt functional due to the PVC flue being right on top of the switch.
2/ The PVC flue that vented through the roof wasnt properly connected at the roof flange.
3/ The filter access was poor at best. You have to remove 8 screws and then you may be able to remove the filter.
4/ Excesive noise in the cabinet. Sounded like the induced dratf fan.

5/ The pipe coming of the cold air return has an access panel cut in the kitchen but the pipe doesnt terminate anywhere.

The utility room has enough compustion air as the door is louvered & vented.
Why was this other vent added?

I pictured in order of the #'s



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Are you needing help with anything specific Dave?

Thanks Russ

I need help understand the duct that is installed in the return air and doesnt have an opening that I could see at the access panel. I find it strange that there is an access panel for a duct. I thought maybe they added the duct for return air from the outside, but it doesnt go outside. Seems strange to me.


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I usually stay out of the furnace topics, preferring to read and learn since it is not my strong point. However, I’ll take a shot at this one.

That looks to be one of the newer high-efficiency units, so I suspect that it replaced an older unit. I suspect that the vents were not added but were already there for the older system.

High-efficiency systems can be unique in their operation, maintenance, and installation, so if the manufacturer’s installation guide is not at the furnace (I usually find them there with the hi-eff systems), then a visit to the manufacturer’s web site or a recommendation to say, “Hi-eff systems are fairly new [on the market/in my area/here in Hicksville/whatever] and I don’t have enough experience or knowledge to make a proper determination concerning this installation. Recommend further evaluation by a licensed heating and cooling professional familiar with hi-eff systems.” If you want, you can offer to pay for the service call from the licensed HVAC tech if and only if no problems are found. If he determines that there are problems, then he typically will waive his service charge if he gets to make the repairs. So offer to pay if and only if no problems are found. Good marketing.

I think I was reading over on inspectionnews.com that it is okay for the hi-eff units to pull air from the attic or to terminate their exhaust flues in the attic, but I can’t find the thread right now, so I could be dead wrong. Ms Margarita and Dr Cuervo might have taken some of my memory cells to the beach with them today.

After looking at your pics again, let me suggest something.
Since the 6" pipe attached to the return air duct at the top of this down-draft furnace terminates somewhere on the first level I suspect it is fresh air intake for the house OR cold air return for at least part of the lower level. There should be a vent/grill somewhere. Good luck and perhaps someone else will comment.

Is the access panel in the kitchen ceiling the only access on that level?

This would be a great place to use an inspection mirror to see where the pipe goes.:slight_smile:


access doors are for access right, maybe there is a shut off valve for water,gas above duct? or electrical junction box? maybe the duct was added later? have you put your hands in behind the duct,felt for valve of some sort?

In any event good call “further evaluation”

just my thoughts


Scrap the hand suggestion,Michael is right use mirror!!!


poor install, no filter rack, no gas line drip leg. Have you looked at the duct work to make sure it is a downflow, I have seen many put in backwards.
Write it up for further evaluation for certified HVAV contractor and get out of harms way.:smiley:
Happy Inspecting

Speaking of upside down, is this upside down?