First of all, thanks to everyone who helped me out awhile back with picking out a good HVAC contractor. Your advice helped me weed out a bad installer and hook up with a good one. Now I'm helping out my brother in law who will be building his first home in Buffalo NY. Where he is building, there is already a builder attached to the site.
I was looking at the HVAC system that my brother in law's builder had installed in a home next to his (where his will be built):
I noticed that the return air passeges were not lined, they were bare studs and drywall. It's my understanding that returns should be fully lined - am I wrong?
I also noticed that the tin in some floor returns was not sealed, so that air would be pulled from the basement instead of the room where the return is pulling from. You could look up through gaps into the room above. Is this sloppy work that is not acceptable?
The duct sealent applied to the joins in the metal duct also seemed very thin - neat but very thin, like one coat of latex thin. It didn't appear to be enough material to seal the ribbed metal that slipped into the next tube. If you were eyeballing someones sealing work, how would you judge it's likely effectiveness?
Lastly: He will be having part of his basement finished. He is getting a 9' deep basement instead of the standard 8'. Alot of the supply duct goes over that finished space, and there will be branches off those main lines to supply this finished basement area. What should he ask for from his HVAC contractor to ensure that a loud boisterous poker game in the basement isn't piped into every room in the house?
Thanks for any advice you can offer!