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We are refinishing our basement that wasn't original conditioned. New supplies and zoning were added by a contractor. We want to add an air return in the living space by tapping into the main return trunk and dropping a stack through the wall that splits the living space from the mechanical space. Unfortunately the only place we can put it in the wall is about 2 feet from the planned opening for the pocket door to the mechanical space and the back side of the framed wall is 4-5 feet from the furnace. Would this location be ok or do we need to rethink that part of the plan?

I've been looking up the mechanical code M1602.2 and having a hard time interpreting the 10 foot requirement.

I've attached a photo of the area I'm working on. You can see the furnace between the legs of the tables I'm going to have to reframe the section between the first and third studs if I do go this route, but that isn't a big deal. Note the area under the stairs is currently framed up as a cabinet, so I can't push the return further to the right. While we could swap the side the pocked door will open from, we really really don't want to do that.

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