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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Down by the river
    Posts
    1,623

    Home I installed HVAC back in 06' moisture issue's

    OK, This is my best friends house ( I know no work for close friends and family). 2 story Colonial house on crawl. 1800 and some change 1st floor, which is the floor with a big problem. 3ton H.P. 1st I have never touched this unit but 1 time in 6 yrs, I do this for a living and don't just go around maintaining peoples stuff for free cause it brings me joy. The 1 time I did go look at it for him he said he was having mold in the registers. I go, it has clean effects filter, never cleaned, a/h outside full of mold and drains were backed up. A/H is in crawl with ductwork. At time of start up I told him that his cralw being a foot or more lower than grade was gonna be a problem...then he goes and piles mulch up around the house and slopes the crap back to the house, brilliant.

    Well we get into a big word fight, he insults me heavily say's the a/c unit is blowing mold his kids are sick alergies all the time the whole nine yards...all the while he pretty much alway's has standing water under the house. We chillout and chat...I tell him I'll look into it. Well I go under the house I find I left the supply plenum loose from where I took the door off a few years ago, so the unit was dumping some air in the crawl and I had a small return leak at the unit. I fix my issues, cleaned the unit up the best I could and replace a piece of flex from plenum to trunk line. Naturally everything is sweating, mold all over the place under the house. Here is the kicker, they really think it's all my fault. I am at a loss on how to handle this situation...had it been just a customer I would just say call a specialist but this is touchy.

    Coastal NC house by the way. I am about 1/2 ton oversized...they decided to do blown cell insulation after I did my job. At the time I saw it not to be an issue. I put in Trane 803 stats the other day, house is in the mid 45-47% humidity range in mild weather.
    Any words of wisdom?
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    It's hard to stop a Trane. but I have made one helluva living keeping them going.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Anderson, South Carolina, United States
    Posts
    6,453
    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Mech View Post
    OK, This is my best friends house ( I know no work for close friends and family). 2 story Colonial house on crawl. 1800 and some change 1st floor, which is the floor with a big problem. 3ton H.P. 1st I have never touched this unit but 1 time in 6 yrs, I do this for a living and don't just go around maintaining peoples stuff for free cause it brings me joy. The 1 time I did go look at it for him he said he was having mold in the registers. I go, it has clean effects filter, never cleaned, a/h outside full of mold and drains were backed up. A/H is in crawl with ductwork. At time of start up I told him that his cralw being a foot or more lower than grade was gonna be a problem...then he goes and piles mulch up around the house and slopes the crap back to the house, brilliant.

    Well we get into a big word fight, he insults me heavily say's the a/c unit is blowing mold his kids are sick alergies all the time the whole nine yards...all the while he pretty much alway's has standing water under the house. We chillout and chat...I tell him I'll look into it. Well I go under the house I find I left the supply plenum loose from where I took the door off a few years ago, so the unit was dumping some air in the crawl and I had a small return leak at the unit. I fix my issues, cleaned the unit up the best I could and replace a piece of flex from plenum to trunk line. Naturally everything is sweating, mold all over the place under the house. Here is the kicker, they really think it's all my fault. I am at a loss on how to handle this situation...had it been just a customer I would just say call a specialist but this is touchy.

    Any words of wisdom?
    He needs to waterproof the crawl, if the water is coming from the ground or draining from outside its not your problem imo

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    38
    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Mech View Post
    OK, This is my best friends house ( I know no work for close friends and family). 2 story Colonial house on crawl. 1800 and some change 1st floor, which is the floor with a big problem. 3ton H.P. 1st I have never touched this unit but 1 time in 6 yrs, I do this for a living and don't just go around maintaining peoples stuff for free cause it brings me joy. The 1 time I did go look at it for him he said he was having mold in the registers. I go, it has clean effects filter, never cleaned, a/h outside full of mold and drains were backed up. A/H is in crawl with ductwork. At time of start up I told him that his cralw being a foot or more lower than grade was gonna be a problem...then he goes and piles mulch up around the house and slopes the crap back to the house, brilliant.

    Well we get into a big word fight, he insults me heavily say's the a/c unit is blowing mold his kids are sick alergies all the time the whole nine yards...all the while he pretty much alway's has standing water under the house. We chillout and chat...I tell him I'll look into it. Well I go under the house I find I left the supply plenum loose from where I took the door off a few years ago, so the unit was dumping some air in the crawl and I had a small return leak at the unit. I fix my issues, cleaned the unit up the best I could and replace a piece of flex from plenum to trunk line. Naturally everything is sweating, mold all over the place under the house. Here is the kicker, they really think it's all my fault. I am at a loss on how to handle this situation...had it been just a customer I would just say call a specialist but this is touchy.

    Coastal NC house by the way. I am about 1/2 ton oversized...they decided to do blown cell insulation after I did my job. At the time I saw it not to be an issue. I put in Trane 803 stats the other day, house is in the mid 45-47% humidity range in mild weather.
    Any words of wisdom?
    Vent the crawl?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Anderson, South Carolina, United States
    Posts
    6,453
    You could put a fan exhausting air from crawl on a timer. Its a bandaid but does work. Pulls conditioned air from house like a PAV.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Down by the river
    Posts
    1,623
    Thanks for the reply's guy's. I personnally am not touching this issue with a 100ft stick. I am looking to make sure I am not liable for this issue. I know the crawl conditions are not my problem, they are causing equipment and duct issues, I didnt design my system to work in a pond. If this were to get way outa hand and go to court somehow I don't want any surprises.
    It's hard to stop a Trane. but I have made one helluva living keeping them going.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Savannah, Ga/H.H. Island, S.C.
    Posts
    1,406

    Home I installed HVAC back in 06' moisture issue's

    Encapsulate the crawlspace, install a small stand alone dehum in the crawl.

    This will control the dew point in the crawl and prevent any condensation.

    Give him a number of an encapsulation specialists, explain the situation rationally and walk away.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Gainesville, FL
    Posts
    325
    I like to see the vapor barrier on the joists if you have a wet crawlspace. If water is seeping in through the foundation wall he needs to parge or bitumen coat the outside of the wall.

    On the hvac side I would make sure there aren't any duct leaks, especially on the return side.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    East coast USA
    Posts
    960
    i had dealt with a similar issues in NC crawl space. Mold everywhere, They even cemented the floor but still it was wet..but not at bad as your pics.... outside of the obvious, no leaks in duct , supply and return well wrapped.... In my opinion proper landscaping is critical..but unless you have good air movement your fighting a loosing battle. sometimes i think a crawl space is the worst thing to have...But if your going to have it..proper construction is important, heavy foam board in the floor, than cement, foam board around the outside foundation and wall vapor barriers, no vents, with some ventilation from the house- through the space- and exhaust my help.. but from what i can gather..4 mil plastic on a dirt floor is not a vapor barrier make....he will have many more issues if he don't take care of the water issues. I bet his water lines sweat when he uses lots of cold water...

    or they can install a heat pump for the crawl space and waste a lot more money..

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Down by the river
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlove View Post
    i had dealt with a similar issues in NC crawl space. Mold everywhere, They even cemented the floor but still it was wet..but not at bad as your pics.... outside of the obvious, no leaks in duct , supply and return well wrapped.... In my opinion proper landscaping is critical..but unless you have good air movement your fighting a loosing battle. sometimes i think a crawl space is the worst thing to have...But if your going to have it..proper construction is important, heavy foam board in the floor, than cement, foam board around the outside foundation and wall vapor barriers, no vents, with some ventilation from the house- through the space- and exhaust my help.. but from what i can gather..4 mil plastic on a dirt floor is not a vapor barrier make....he will have many more issues if he don't take care of the water issues. I bet his water lines sweat when he uses lots of cold water...

    or they can install a heat pump for the crawl space and waste a lot more money..
    Everything is sweating. Mold on every joist, wire etc under the house. Yeah he has big problems from mold and wood rot to foundation issues if this isn't fixed.

    He isn't going to listen to me. I am a dumb sob who didn't install a proper hvac sytem causing all this.

    This is my 1st case of this in 17yrs of the trade. I did some research from a crawlspace company...it literally is amazing how this house and their website go hand and hand for issues.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    south louisiana
    Posts
    3,139
    what are the fixes the crawlspace website offers?

    you say 'blown cell insulation' they foam insulated the
    floors? open (soft) of closed (hard) cell?

    I find these problems are costly to fix. I'd put
    ducts in attic before crawlspace. you don't get mud in
    ducts in the attic.
    also if supply registers are molding up...check the
    cut for the supply box..that gap should be sealed with
    mastic tape..and all ducts & returns mastic sealed.

    good luck with the crawlspace.
    The cure of the part should not be attempted without the cure of the whole. ~Plato

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Ocean County, N.J.
    Posts
    465
    Tell your friend the truth: that it's not an HVAC issue, that he has moisture/humidity issues in the crawl from a multitude of reasons and only after those issues are professionally addressed that you would look into addressing any HVAC issues. Not to do it in that order would be a total waste of time. The equipment is in no way responsible for these problems, but that you will help him out starting with a thorough maintenance service. Just the fact the system had not been maintained in 6 or 7 years makes him responsible. Again, this is not your fault.
    Last edited by jack david; 01-11-2014 at 08:27 PM. Reason: bad spelling

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    SE Pennsylvania
    Posts
    898
    The system you installed is for the living quarters not the crawl space, so how can moisture in the crawl space be your issue? Apparently the grading of the property does little to drain water away from the home and they have made the issue worse by piling mulch around the structure. Looking at the crawl space access it is clear the grade is facing the house. Lack of maintenance leading to a clog drain caused the mold in the air handler. If this was me and talking to him didn't change is attitude and they were dead set to blame me for their lack of common sense I would walk, friendship and all and await the outcome if they decide litigation. You have pictures, keep them safe.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    south louisiana
    Posts
    3,139
    jack david & hvac 69...good advice.
    The cure of the part should not be attempted without the cure of the whole. ~Plato

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