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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    DFW
    Posts
    684

    Why DIY is necessary.

    I do not use foul language, but I was sure thinking a lot of it this evening.

    I went by my house (in construction) to check on the rough-in work my HVAC contractor was supposed to finish today.

    The air handler and all the duct work is in the unfinished basement (conditioned space). The return air is supposed to come through a framed 18" x 18" chase that I had the house designer and framer install in a central closet. There is a short run of 14" flex duct from the floor of the chase to the return plenum on the air handler right underneath. I told the HVAC contractor that I wanted a couple of return air vents high up on the wall on two sides of this framed chase.

    The HVAC installer sealed the top of the chase, and then added the frames for the two return air vents to the framing. The house is supposed to be ready for inspection and drywall, so they are obviously planning on an unlined return air chase. The expletives started at this point.

    One of the two return air vents is so far off center of the chase that it overlaps the adjacent wall cavity by several inches. Both return air vents are about 1/3 blocked by the existing framing.

    I have spent a LOT of money and hundreds of hours trying to make my house as air tight and efficient as possible. And the HVAC installer obviously hasn't got a clue. His answer is obviously going to pull return air out of the attic, and he doesn't seem to have the slightest care that might not be a good idea.

    Calling them back out there to fix their mess seems like a lost cause. If they are that clueless, why would I expect the next round to be any more acceptable. It seems that any time I give them any choices in how the project will go, they find a really horrible cheap answer.

    So, I am hoping I can find some place open on a Saturday morning that sells duct board so I can line the chase half way properly.

    If I can't get the duct board, what are my other code legal choices for lining a return air chase?

    If I find no other answer, I might resort to creating a drywall liner on the inside of the chase.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    Lots of luck,find a better contractor then what you have,based on your description!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    DFW
    Posts
    684
    I have a signed contract with this HVAC contractor, and they have quite a bit of money invested in equipment. Switching contractors at this point is not that simple.

    Fixing it myself will take less time than finding somebody competent.

    The interest on the construction loan keeps on ticking, and I hope to fix this mess they left behind over the weekend and have it ready for inspection on Monday.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Atlanta GA area
    Posts
    20,862
    Understand your problem...

    On the other hand, your HVAC contractor is not performing to 'industry standards'... so you have every right to stop construction and demand he do it right. If not, just call the local code enforcement folks and meet them there and discuss it...

    It is your money, you need to get what you pay for.
    GA-HVAC-Tech

    Quality work at a fair price with excellent customer service!

    Romans Ch's 5-6-7-8

    2 Chronicles 7:14

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    in my lumpy chair
    Posts
    1,947
    sorry your having problems...did you go with the low bid?
    I dont warranty Tinkeritus

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Lufkin TX
    Posts
    72
    Quote Originally Posted by paul42 View Post
    Calling them back out there to fix their mess seems like a lost cause. If they are that clueless, why would I expect the next round to be any more acceptable.
    Not a lost cause, You PAID them to do a job now hold them accountable for their actions. THey got paid to screw the job up now they can pay to fix it.
    I have no sympathey for contractors or home owners that allow this half ass work to continue.
    Stand on them and make them do it right and maybe learn from their mistakes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    DFW
    Posts
    684
    Quote Originally Posted by lolson View Post
    sorry your having problems...did you go with the low bid?
    An even longer story there. I went with the only quote. All the installers in this area want to put the airhandler in the attic and run flex duct. That is the cheap answer for the builder, but really expensive answer for the homeowner.

    I found one hvac contractor that was willing to try something different.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Burleson, Texas
    Posts
    1,741
    We need pics...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    East Haven,CT
    Posts
    159
    Quote Originally Posted by paul42 View Post
    An even longer story there. I went with the only quote. All the installers in this area want to put the airhandler in the attic and run flex duct. That is the cheap answer for the builder, but really expensive answer for the homeowner.

    I found one hvac contractor that was willing to try something different.
    so what is the story with that? why did everyone else wanna put the air handler in the attic and one wanna try something different?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Round Rock
    Posts
    3,517
    Where is the builder during all this? His job is to oversee the job and handles all issues with subs. I will err on the side of caution. You sound very involved (maybe too much and are irritating everybody) we get them all the time. That being said, you are paying for the job, so you should get what you want. As long as you have said it and not assuming it to be understood. I agree that the return boxes should be lined, but if there is a duct in the chase, the chase doesn't need to be lined, just because there is a duct in it. I will assume you already know that. Before you start cussing and piss somebody off, which will get you nowhere usually. Call the HVAC guy and talk to him like you would a police officer that just pulled you over for speeding, it will probably get you alittle further. Sometimes people get a little emotional and think the sun rises and sets on their ONE project, the HVAC guy likely has many things going on and if you explain to him your concerns, it will most likely be addressed and remedied in a manner that will benefit you. Oh yeah, DIY is necessary, it means I get to come in and fix homeowners screwups. Like the dude that went out and bought $200 worth of Tstats this last week because his unit was cycling on and off and his buddy told him it would fix it He installed them and everything. It turned out to be a $1.28 light switch for the disconnect on the furnace. So yeah, keep on DIY'ers, I like your money.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    292
    Quote Originally Posted by ga-hvac-tech View Post
    Understand your problem...

    On the other hand, your HVAC contractor is not performing to 'industry standards'... so you have every right to stop construction and demand he do it right. If not, just call the local code enforcement folks and meet them there and discuss it...

    It is your money, you need to get what you pay for.
    This is the best way to handle situations where you have a contract. While I do not know your states requirements, most will have a mechanical code which typically will invoke an energy code for HVAC, or may refer to ASHRAE or ACCA standards. In my state the ACCA standards are invoked by the energy code so they are required by law, even though it is rarely used as a mechanism to force the job to be done correctly. In your case, the limited time you have is a problem.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    6,316
    Did you contact any of the numerous contractors from this site that are in your area. I am sure Mark Beiser would have been a god fit for you.

    There is no reason that sheetrock would not work fine for lining your chase. I am assuming this is a center house chase surrounded by conditioned rooms. If the chase is subject to unconditioned temps ductboard would be much preferable.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    North Richland Hills, Texas
    Posts
    14,914
    The problem with residential new construction HVAC is that the equipment placement and duct design/routing are usually left up to the lowest paid employees of the lowest bidder.
    If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.

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