Whenever the furnace runs I feel a steady draft of air pushing out from under the basement door and kitchen sink cabinets. I have a mostly finished basement with registers but not return vents in basement all return vents are on first floor. My home is about 1500 sq ft and I live in northern IL. Do I need cold air returns in the basement to stop this and to help increase the temperature in the basement.

2 Answers 2


You are supplying heated (or cooled, in season if it also does A/C) air to the basement, but not providing a return for it in the basement, so it's traveling to a return on the first floor by any means it can.

As you properly suspect, the cure for this is a return in the basement. Placing the return low in the basement will return colder air (good in heating season.) If you also air-condition you might want a way to switch to a high return vent in the summer (such as having one low, and one high and a damper to choose between them.)


Assuming you have a gas or oil furnace, it needs air to operate. The furnace is drawing in air to burn. I have added simple ducts such a 6" diameter galvanized or boxed in a the space between floor joists to bring outside air to the furnace for combustion. The duct will need a opening on the house exterior wall. That is more efficient than using warm humidified air for combustion as you are now doing. I have made some kind of plenum at the furnace which would depend on the specific installation. Otherwise you can make problems by trying to stop all air entry to the house. ( If you have gas water heaters they need air also ,but not as much.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.