|Closet Air Return|
In October 2013, I replaced my 25 year old heat pump with a new Rheem Prestige Heat Pump. It is a two stage heat pump with an ECM variable speed blower. During the summer, we left the unit's fan on so that the blower ran continuously (it sped up and slowed down as needed, but never stopped). I had hoped that would solve a damp condition in the master bedroom closet, but it didn't. I had removed the door to the closet and left a small fan on in the closet, but that didn't completely solve the dampness problem either. So the next thing I decided to try is to install an air return in the back of the closet. That will do two things. One it will make it easier for the blower since there will be less restriction in the return, and two the air will turn over in the closet whenever the blower runs. This album Closet Air Return documents the construction and installation of that additional air return.
I got the 12" collars, 12" R-6 insulated duct, and the 16" x 16" return grille with filter at my local home center along with the other supplies (mastic, plastic duct clamps, etc). I had drywall supplies on hand as well as foam board. I did the project in several phases spread out over a month. Two of phases, framing and dry walling the return box and then installing the metal return grille with filter, required me to remove the equipment and clothes from the closet. The rest of the work of making a transition box and running the duct I did with the clothes and equipment in place. The only part of the project I left unfinished was sanding and painting the the drywall. I decided I didn't want to deal with the dust. No one is likely to see this unfinished bit. If I get 2-3 days when no one but me is here, I'll finish it. If that doesn't happen, then I'll sand and paint it when I sell the house.
I won't know until next summer if this helps with the dampness. I've already noticed that the door to the master bedroom opens and closes easier now that the pressure differential is not as great between the den and master bedroom.