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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Unhappy Bad Installation - options?

    I bought a house 3 years ago and completely gutted the entire house on the inside (complete = new floor joists, walls, etc). I had a new hvac system installed on the 3rd floor to serve the whole house. The house is 1850 SF and the contractor installed a 4 ton, 90k btu system (way oversized). He also ran flex duct EVERYWHERE. Basicly there is only hard-duct in the vertical stud cavities.
    third floor = 2 supply and one return
    second floor = 4 supply and 3 returns
    first floor = 3 very weak supplies and one very weak return
    ground floor = 1 supply (with a large booster fan I attached later)

    The temperature during heating season varies on average 5 degrees or more as you progress upwards. T-stat is on first floor. As the first floor is 67 degrees the third floor will be 81 degrees.

    I have been nursing it for 3 years. adjusting this, adjusting that, always having the fan run, etc.

    The contractor's work is such a mess. It's a candidate for the wall of shame. He even forgot to run a supply to the powder room which is a bump-out outside the main house, which he ended coming back after construction was done and tapping into the dining rm. supply. I have an electric heater in the powder room to supplement.

    So, now my story is done. I have several questions (i apologize for the length).

    1) Where can I find information on testing agencies who can test for duct leakage in the house ( I know for a fact it leaks everywhere into the walls).

    2) any easy remedy for the use of flex duct in the joist bays or hidden in third floor cavities?

    3) any action I can take against the installer?

    I appreciate any assistance anyone may offer.

    I live in the philadelphia, pa area
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Naples, Fla.
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    Well - you certainly have a lot on your plate.

    Given the large # of variables involved, I'd suggest you start from the bottom up.

    1) Seek out a professional -- IF you want professional results
    2) Get a detailed (room X room) load calc
    3) Get a detailed evaluation of what you have in place - at the end of the day, some of it may be salvageable.
    4) Get 3 bids from PROFESSIONALS - ask for referrals, don't go low bid
    5) Mandate permits & inspections

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
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    1. if available in your area

    2.Flex is okay if sized properly,your preference for hard duct is okay as well,no easy fix

    3.I doubt you'll get anything from them,but small claims court is always an option to try

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Here and there
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    Unbelievable !!!!! How do people sleep at night ? I agree you will probably not get anywhere in court, but if it's not to costly I'd take him anyway just to make his life difficult.
    i belong to peta ... people eating tasty animals. all my opinions are just mine.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Western Kansas
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    Are my eyes deceiving me? A return grille on the side of the gathering box? an unfinished area???...I bet it was added after the A/C wasn't performing up to snuff.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    SHEW! That is nasty! Nice return grille right at the plenum. Looks like humidifier is wrong too. You will never balance out your home without a good zone system, a properly sized duct, or more than one system. Flex duct looses a lot of velocity on long runs.
    Sucks to be you!
    Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    thanks - especially "dash"

    Thanks everyone for the sympathy and thanks dash for linking me to aeroseal. They have an outfit relatively close to me.

    Yes, the return in the plenum box was where a return duct to the third floor was removed and that actually has a blank panel behind it to close it off 90%

    When walking down from second floor to first you're hit with a blast of hot air rolling across the first floor ceiling and funneling up the stairwell. I thought if i closed it off then the one return on the first floor would pull more.

    I didnt even tell you about that one. The return on the first floor is ducted down to the ceiling and opens into a large chase space with return grills cut into the wall. the chase is open to the ceiling joist bays, furred out stud walls (original house was cmu block and new stud walls were added on the inside face of exterior walls). So it really pulls from everywhere.

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