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Old 04-30-2017, 07:46 PM   #1
vipermanden
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Stair vent, What is it for?

It seems with nothing on, there is cold air rushing in on the middle stair going up to the kitchen in our 3820FK Montana. What are those big slats in that stair for? I see no filter, and can see wires and a big opening behind it. What is this for, and why with nothing on in our 5er is there cold air coming in from these slats?
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Old 04-30-2017, 08:12 PM   #2
K0LCB
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That is the return air vent for your furnace. Some fabricate a filter holder
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Old 04-30-2017, 08:31 PM   #3
DQDick
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The cold air is coming in from your basement and will also be a source of hot air in the summer. Since it's the cold air return for the furnace we leave ours open in the winter and then close it off in the summer as well as replacing the vents with ones that close so the cat fur etc doesn't go down the vents.
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Old 04-30-2017, 09:25 PM   #4
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But how is it actually blowing air into the 5er, with no units on? So in the winter, like tonight, when we use our heater, we should leave this open? But in hot months, close it off? It does not look like a duct, it looks like you are looking into the basement, like you said? I'm sure our two Golden retrievers have deposited a bunch of hair down in there? So you are supposed to take it off with the 4 screws, so you can vacuum down in there?
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Old 04-30-2017, 10:23 PM   #5
MARK A
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Originally Posted by vipermanden View Post
But how is it actually blowing air into the 5er, with no units on? So in the winter, like tonight, when we use our heater, we should leave this open? But in hot months, close it off? It does not look like a duct, it looks like you are looking into the basement, like you said? I'm sure our two Golden retrievers have deposited a bunch of hair down in there? So you are supposed to take it off with the 4 screws, so you can vacuum down in there?

It is just like your cold air return in your house, except there are no codes that make the manufacturers actually hook it to the furnace. So when your furnace isn't in use like in the summer, you can block it off.

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Old 04-30-2017, 11:07 PM   #6
bigskyjimmy
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I would say you could block them off like I have Permanently Full timing in my last three Monty's with no Problems IMO there is more than enough air in the huge basement area and underbelly of these rigs for the Furnace to work just fine BUT you have a FK with a smaller storage area so it might be different for you but for me No problems and glad I did it as it makes a nice difference in Summer and Winter
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Old 05-01-2017, 06:34 AM   #7
dieselguy
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I doubt if the dropped frame design has changed much since my unit was built. Here's a link with pictures to why you have air coming from under your steps ... there's holes and gaps all over under there and your storage compartment doors usually don't seal well. http://www.montanaowners.com/forums/...ht=design+flaw
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Old 05-01-2017, 08:27 AM   #8
vipermanden
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We figured it out. We had our fan on in the bathroom, with the door closed to keep our bathroom dry, and it was sucking air in from where ever it could get it. We turned off the fan, and the air stopped coming in from the stair vent, which is 20 feet away! I will make something to block it, that is easy to pull away when we want to use the furnace.

Thanks
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Old 05-01-2017, 10:25 AM   #9
jcurtis934
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I put magnetic closures on both of my stair vents and use the area behind there for extra shoe storage, think tennis shoes, flip flops. Sure beats using the screws for access.
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Old 05-01-2017, 12:19 PM   #10
Bill.vannuys
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I have 2 pieces of foam insulation that my wife covered with nice material. Each piece is cut to size and fits tightly into the basement (heater returns) under our bedroom steps to stop the cold air from pouring into the basement. Saves the lost cooling that sinks and goes to the basement.


Must remember to remove the return covers before using heater though.
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Old 05-01-2017, 03:42 PM   #11
waynemoore
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Close it off. There is more than enough air without nweeding them.
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Old 05-01-2017, 05:41 PM   #12
jameswbarton
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If you really want a draft leave a baggage compartment door open. Your furnace sucks more outside air than it returns from the interior spaces. Remove the baggage wall and look at all the daylight coming into the basement and thus the furnace area. I spent a lot of time insulating mine and sealing and installing an electric marine heater with freeze function to heat the basement in winter if needed.
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Old 05-02-2017, 01:20 PM   #13
artfuldodger
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If you are running the furnace, then it is cool or cold. If the outside temp goes below freezing the water lines in the basement may freeze if there is little or no air exchange in the basement. The manufacturer even has a duct in the basement to aid in this prevention of freezing the lines and the water centre. Also the reuse of living space air rather than outside air from gaps in the belly should help the furnace heat the unit. We bought a ceramic propane heater which uses much less propane than the furnace and is noiseless. However if frigid temps are expected we use the furnace to get that circulation of air in the basement.
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Old 05-02-2017, 05:41 PM   #14
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I have plans on putting in two closing registers, like floor registers, into the return air vents in the steps. These can be opened or closed when needed. I will also then put some filter material behind them to stop some of the dust from going into the space behind the steps. I would also like to put the boards/grills on some type of magnet set up so the space can be utilized for additional storage of shoes and etc. As previous posters have said, there is plenty of space under there for the furnace to draw air. Air comes not only from the space where the furnace is but also from the underbelly through holes in the basement flooring and around the framework. I have already insulated the ceiling in the basement and it's surprising how much warmer the floor is up in the basement and we'll see if it keep the bedroom cooler this summer too. I also took the furnace vent going to the bathroom and put a "Y" in it and added additional vent tubing and ran it to the base and behind convenient center to keep it warmer in the winter when the furnace is used to heat the basement and the underbelly. We run the fireplace to take the chill off in the mornings and also have a small ceramic heater incase we want to have some extra heat in the bedroom but that is very seldom used because of the insulation I put in the basement ceiling now.
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Old 05-02-2017, 10:04 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by vipermanden View Post
But how is it actually blowing air into the 5er, with no units on? So in the winter, like tonight, when we use our heater, we should leave this open? But in hot months, close it off? It does not look like a duct, it looks like you are looking into the basement, like you said? I'm sure our two Golden retrievers have deposited a bunch of hair down in there? So you are supposed to take it off with the 4 screws, so you can vacuum down in there?
The area your talking about is the basement area, that has a heat duct for keeping all your pipes from freezing, it's a conditioned area like your bedroom is, if your getting cold air drafts there is air entering from who knows where, that should be easy to locate and correct
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Old 05-03-2017, 08:54 AM   #16
vipermanden
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dumb question, how do you get in this basement area? Just by taking those 4 screws off, only lets you see in a small opening. Is there access to this area from under the RV?
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Old 05-03-2017, 08:58 AM   #17
richfaa
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It is a cold air return. We are never anywhere were it is to cold or to hot besides there are plenty of places for the cold air to return. We did put a filter there. Remember these are RV's not a S&B.
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Old 05-04-2017, 01:13 PM   #18
Arcamper
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I sealed mine better and put screen behind the steps to help keep spiders out. This along with sealing every place a pipe or wiring comes through the floor has helped with drafts.
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Old 05-04-2017, 04:44 PM   #19
bigskyjimmy
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the FK floor plan has a smaller front storage(basement) but most of us have the big Basement(storage) area and you can climb in there and there is the carpeted Partitions (walls) that are held on by black screws top and bottom remove those and take the wall(s) out and you will see into the underbelly/holding tanks/wiring/plumbing/furnace/stairs etc.... and oh yes LOTS of sawdust
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dumb question, how do you get in this basement area? Just by taking those 4 screws off, only lets you see in a small opening. Is there access to this area from under the RV?
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Old 05-05-2017, 12:09 PM   #20
bowlesj
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dumb question, how do you get in this basement area? Just by taking those 4 screws off, only lets you see in a small opening. Is there access to this area from under the RV?


Remove the aft basement walls - 4-6 screws each. For more access you can also loosen the center panel where your in command relay panel is mounted but the wiring prevents full removal.

Was just in there last week to repair a corroded splice that dropped power to the 2 living room slides. Yes, 2016 unit with rotten splices. Looked like water was sitting in the drop belly at some point before we took delivery.

John - 2016 3820FK
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