I am living in the basement level of a rental unit with forced air heat. There are 9 heating vents and one cold air return, all of which are in the ceiling. The air isn't mixing very well resulting in a hot ceiling and cold floor. I would like to hack together a cheap cold air return that we can lower down to the floor. I suspect it will dramatically increase the comfort in our apartment.

Can you recommend a cheap non-permanent solution? I'm imagining a plastic flexible pipe with a standard attachment to a heating duct.

  • What size is the cold air vent? square, rectangle or round etc. Nov 10, 2011 at 10:46
  • is there enough headroom for a ceiling fan? that might be another solution.
    – mohlsen
    Nov 11, 2011 at 13:35
  • @gregmac We got tired of living in a cold dark garden-level apartment, so we finished up our lease & bought a house. Figured I should accept the best answer to my question to close this question up.
    – Pete
    Jan 21, 2013 at 21:37

2 Answers 2


If you're not too concerned about aesthetics, you can use some flexible duct (or dryer duct) and a couple boots.

Use some foil HVAC tape to connect one boot to the duct on the ceiling, and then put the other boot on the ground, and use foil tape to connect the boots to the flex duct.


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You can get boots that are straight, 45, 90 degrees, and horizontal or vertical, and many sizes -- the box stores all have lots to choose from.

You can also stick a grill on the bottom, just to make it look a very slight amount nicer.

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We did this in college with corrugated boxes and duct tape.

The ideal solution is to get a ceiling fan to help mix the air more.

  • 1
    Thanks for the suggestions. I think a ceiling fan would chop my head off given the low basement ceiling!
    – Pete
    Dec 5, 2011 at 23:53

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