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Where's the Air?


kurt
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Is anyone else noticing an amazing proliferation of HVAC systems in new homes that don't push air the way one would imagine they should?

In the Big Dirty, it has gotten to the point of nearly every new home having lousy systems. The causes are not hard to trace. In the quest for ever more square footage, furnaces are being relegated to tiny closets in corners & oddball duct runs w/lots of turns & length. Top feeding rooms is also increasingly popular; maybe I'm confused, but the last time I checked, didn't hot air go up? At least we don't have flex duct.....

Of course, these are most commonly found in the $1 million & up range of houses, so the realtors are less than interested when I comment on it. I did a $4.5 million crib 2 months ago where there was literally NO air coming into, or out of, several roooms.

Just curious; is this a nationwide phenomenon, or is it just another stupid thing in the City?

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Hi Kurt,

Around here (Seattle vicinity) they are about evenly split between floor registers and ceiling registers. In splits they are both ways of course. However, we don't have the severe winters that you do, so indoor climate conditions for forced air may not react exactly the same without frozen ground and sub-zero temperatures all around.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I did an inspection last month on a ranch home that was 67 feet long. The furnace, hot water tank, electric panel and water meter were all bunched together at the far end from the bedrooms. This is what the buyers found most attractive about the house. The open space (unfinished) basement. They told me that this was the main reason they put in an offer on the house.

The main supply trunk is 59 feet long and one master bedroom run is 19 feet off of that, with two others at 14' each. All three runs have 2 ell's each, and there is a 19 CFM total from all 3 registers. Now I don't usually take any of those measurements, but in this case, it was so glaring and the buyers seemed so unconcerned, I just know, come hot weather, I will be hearing from them. (this bedroom has a south facing door wall and two other windows)

Well anyway, this house is two years old and the sellers are moving to an older colonial. During the conversation, the seller blurts out that they have duct boosters on back order from last July and they will throw them in the deal.

Now here is where it gets goofy, they actually produced a receipt for five duct boosters, bought and paid for last July.

Think about it...duct boosters on back order? What the hell is happening here?

Ceiling diffusers on the other hand (in these parts) are usually from an attic air handler installations. Often to add A/C where there is hot water heat. Cold air falls, so it works pretty well.

George

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Originally posted by kurt

Is anyone else noticing an amazing proliferation of HVAC systems in new homes that don't push air the way one would imagine they should?

Just curious; is this a nationwide phenomenon, or is it just another stupid thing in the City?

It's epidemic. It's probably the #1 problem I see with air conditioning systems. Much of it's due to flex duct poorly installed.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Interesting Topic,

I get calls quite regularly with home owners complaining that some rooms get hot and do not cool off. I sometimes find that the temperatured difference out of balance but mostly there is a 3 to 5 degree range between all supply registers.

I've always thought that volume to these registers were the probelm, but how do you go about determining this? Is there a standard for the amount of air coming out of the registers?

Donald

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I see a lot of what Donald sees. I consider a 3 to 5 degree difference between registers as "normal." Air movement seems minimal, but most systems seem to do the job. When I get a 6 to 8 degree or larger temperature spread between registers I tell'em to have a qualified HVAC contractor balance the system. Excessive sags and bends in flex ducts is common.

All our supply registers are high on walls or in the ceiling.

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Kurt

It's an endemic desease that has no borders. We suffer from the same thing your'e talking about, called

GET IN

GET OUT

GET PAID

GET TO THE NEXT JOB

I have recently noticed more and more substandard heating systems, poorly designed and installed.

The biggest culprit is the undersized or inappropriately designed return air ducting. Ducting not reduced or convoluted runs around undersized framing opening etc.

What's caused all that?

GC accepting the lowest bids to maximize profit$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

I have a friend in this predicament

New home

No heat at end runs

Calculated return = half the requirement.

High TD

After removing the return air grills we found framing not cut to accommodate for the size of the grill.

What we have is a marginally undersized design installed by an unsupervised, unskilled labor force under a strict schedule to finish the job as quickly as possible.

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Originally posted by erol

Inspected 2 year old home with a client and Betty Zoid. There was no heat source in the first floor 1/2 bath. Is this common with new homes?

Thanks

Erol Kartal

Erol,

If the bathroom has no exterior walls, that is common. If it is on an outside wall, that would be unusual in my neck of the woods.

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