Why is the requirement for a certain distance from the unit (e.g. 10 feet) for return air access so close? I would think that it should be in a separate room with an auto-closing doorway between.
The return air system is a vital part of your overall heating/cooling system. If you place a closed door betweem the return air registers and the rest of the house, there would be only limited air flow and the whole heating/cooling system would suffer. Would create hot/cool areas where you do not want any. It's all a trade-off but better to have good air circulation and more even heat/cool.
Actually, what I meant was how can the return air be allowed to be so close to the unit, especially on a low, gravity fed, or standard efficiency unit where the negative pressure from the return air can draw combustion gasses back down out of the flue into the furnace closet? Wouldn't it take a door and some greater distance than that to keep this from happening?
Thank you for your input. You seem very knowledgeable about HVAC. I am also currently looking for someone who is knowledgable about HVAC and may have a large number of photos on HVAC defects/code problems on both new residential and commercial. Do you know of anyone like that?
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