During a recent inspection of my renovated townhouse I came upon a return that I believe will return a loss versus gain for my home and family. The duct system within the home is entirely new, yet old ways of installation are being used.
One in particular is the vernacular joist bay plenum. For my 4' return two joist bays are used. The problem is that these 75 year old joists have remnants of lead paint on them, which will surely slam my filter and possibly make it through to the air my family breathes.
In addition, the work is full of holes. I could not run a private pressure test on the system because of this. There was limited tape on the joints, (none at the return at all) and the tape that was there was not even UL-181.
The truth is a plenum will never be sealed correctly like a metal, sealed ducted return. And the lead paint issue is a clear problem. Yet, I was never in on that discussion of the application. I know the deal on ways and means with contractors, but this area is rife with concerns.
Now, I am being charged a hefty fee for my contractor to remove the plenum and hard duct the return. Can you believe that? And the lead paint argument went without sympathy. What should I do?