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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    5

    Best Air Quality HVAC Contractor-Central FL

    My wife is extremely chemically-sensitive, I am looking for a top notch qualified HVAC contractor in central Florida who services Lake County to help diagonse and solve a home air quality we are having. I need someone who will get to the root cause and not just attempt to address the symptoms.

    Something has happened within one or both units during the past 6 weeks that is causing them to put out air that "feels" like that on I-75 and has a stringent odor about it. As a result, I have had to move us to a hotel until we can get it resolved.

    Thank you very much.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    Call Scott Suma ,at Suma A/C ,talk to him and he'll tell if he can assist you.

    Can you share any more about your situation?


    Age and size of the home,year built,all model numbers of the two systems,type of ducts??


    Pics of the indoor units and connecting duct might help.

    We have an energy rater here,that could test the home,but the travel time would make it pricey.Check the Florida Solar Energy site,likely someone in your area.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    5
    Dash,

    Thanks so much for the quick response!

    The home is right at 5 years old, and there are about 3,700 SF under air. There are two units, each American Standard Heritage, and all of the duct work is antimicrobial. There is an electronic filter in the air channel immediately off of the larger air handler, and the smaller unit had a drop in electronic filter in the master bedroom return air, but we removed it after it failed. Each primary room has a return air grill fitted for filters, and each has installed an AmericanAirFilter Dirt Demon Ultra Shield filter (disposable)-changed each 4-5 months. Finally here, there is a UV lamp installed in each unit's air channel, and these can be seen on the garage perspective photos attached (photos include the data plate for each outside unit).

    Just after we moved in we noticed that both garage units were significantly sweating on their outside metal covers, and I called in factory representatives, who said that the duct work was too restrictive (too much flow for the the size and cold air was being forced back into the units), so a lot of the ductwork was replaced, which seemed to solve the problem. That is when the sealing foil tape was applied to the units around all potential air leaks (see the photos).

    Both units have been serviced annually by the installing company, and the coils cleaned but with water only as the chemical typically used gave my wife fits until it disipated. The most recent service was about 6 weeks ago, but the company swears it used only water to clear; however this is the only thing we can think of that might have a bearing on the problem. I had another company out to "look", and they found no oder nor did they "see" anything wrong (to be honest, we were very under-impressed with the fellow that came even though he is from a BIG name company in central Florida).

    I now have an outfit called DuctBusters coming to take a look, but I have learned that "assuming" someone is qualified to solve our problem does not work, hence my query here that you were nice enough to answer.

    Thanks again so much!
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Naples, Fl
    Posts
    889
    might not be your immediate problem but you should check whether the UV lights are going to cause breakdown of your ductboard. The duct manufacturer will have that info. There's a more effective location for the UV lights also. I am not sure of that UV brand but do they produce ozone?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    Have the UVC bulbs been changed each year??

    Duct still looks like it could be restrictive,but no way to tell from here.

    We feel UVC lghts are better placed in the air handler to irradiate the coil,on the discharge side.Never seen bulbs that can treat the fast moving air flow in the duct,rather you treat the coil so nothing "grows" there.

    Ask if they can test the static pressure of the duct system,and determine the air flow.

    Almost looks like the air handlers share a common return.

    What the grille is the garage ceiling?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    5
    Dash,

    Just finished with the HVAC tech, and he could find nothing wrong with either system-inside of air handlers clean, "pristine" in his words. Ducts clean (he opened and re-sealed). He then suggested we power off the one electronic filter and the two UV lamps for a while to see if any of these could be emitting high levels of ozone, and we have done this. (on the UV lamps, the bulbs have not been changed).

    Next step will be to power the A/C units off and open a couple of windows on each side to "air" the house a bit. It is extremely tight with respect to air leaks.

    Agree on the placement of the UV lamps, although there are apparently multiple points of view on this (my contractor, the HVAC installer, and the HVAC manufacturer almost got into a shouting match over this), and various points of view as to even the value of the UV's.

    The units do not share a common return, although it does appear so.

    The grill is something I installed to let the attic "breathe" with the garage a little more (we have full soffet venting plus several ridge vents) at someone's suggestion.

    If none of the above solves the problem, the only other thing I know to do is inside air quality testing for VOC's and see what that turns up, if anything. Any other ideas you have?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    They may debate it ,but UVC light will not treat air that moving at the speed it does in a duct.

    The bulbs ,if wired to be on 24/7 only last about a year,they still "light up" ,but are useless.

    I'd want the pressure drop of each indoor coil measured,to be sure they aare clean in the middle,where you can't see.

    I agree on turning off the EAC's and UV lights to see if there's a difference.

    Look at the EAC's ,some can be adjusted to produce less ozone,low air flow increases ozone,if the coil is dirty that could be part of it,or if ducts are still undersized,where you get less then the desired air flow.

    Replacing UCV lights/bulbs might help as well,since there aeren't functioning due to hours of operation.


    Last thing is to be sure the home is not under negative pressure that causing infiltration.

    With the system running ,crack the door to the garage,if a candle shows movemeny of air into the home ,you have infiltration,better more professional ways to test ,but wotrh a try.

    Also check the Relative Humidity in the home,high humidity allows many thing that can irrste to grow.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    5
    Thank you.

    This is becoming bizarre. After the EAC and UV's were turned off, my wife said she no longer smelled/felt the oder-the larger unit was running. Some time later, the smaller unit came on, and she smelled/felt it again. I then shut down the small unit, and the oder reduced but returned with a vengence in five to ten minutes even with the smaller unit off.

    I called the contractor to ask about common return air or any connection between the two units, and he specifically stated not.

    We now have the house open, both AC's off, and the fans running full blast to "air", but I am not confident this is going to do anything as whatever this stuff is seems to be within the air units.

    I guess I can either ask for air testing and a full duct examination, and after that, I do not know.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,545
    Fresh air change every 4 hours, <50%RH, and keep the ducts dry between cooling cycles are the important issues important issues for sensitive occupants. OZone is a no no. How do you get fresh air to purge indoor pollutants and what is your %RH? Regards TB
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    5
    Teddy Bear,

    Fresh air only come in through opening/closing of the doors-house is super tight. Since we just "aired" for about 45 minutes with full fans, I cannot get the RH; however, I seem to recall it runs around the mid -30's. Before closing the house, we then ran each unit on vent only for about 5-6 minutes to clear the ducts of air. Following that, we closed up and are starting one AC unit and letting it run, and we will shortly start the second one.

    The problem with opening the house much here in FL is the high humidity (and heat, but we are used to that).

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,545
    Quote Originally Posted by Bilbo35 View Post
    Teddy Bear,

    Fresh air only come in through opening/closing of the doors-house is super tight. Since we just "aired" for about 45 minutes with full fans, I cannot get the RH; however, I seem to recall it runs around the mid -30's. Before closing the house, we then ran each unit on vent only for about 5-6 minutes to clear the ducts of air. Following that, we closed up and are starting one AC unit and letting it run, and we will shortly start the second one.

    The problem with opening the house much here in FL is the high humidity (and heat, but we are used to that).
    According to ASHRAE, American Lung ass, & EPA the idea is have consistant fresh air ventilation that continuously purges the indoor pollutants. The ideal would be 75 cfm of make-up fresh when you are in the home. This is an air change every 4 hours. When your a/c has a high cooling load, the humidity in the fresh air will be removed by the a/c. When there is not enough cooling load, supplemental dehumidification is required. During the dry winter, the fresh air is dry enough to need any dehumidification. Check out the American Lung ass. web site for suggestion. I would recommend thorough drying of the cooling coil/ducts for several hours everyday to avoid any biologicals that may grow in continuously wet ducts. Electronic air filters and many uv lites generate ozone which may irritate sensitive people. Best turn them off. I have been involved with ventilaing whole house dehumidifiers that manage the fresh air and maintain <50%RH when there is little or no cooling load. We have had good results. Regards TB
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    In your wife's case fresh air wih teddy's dehumidifier might be an option.

    But first I'd want to know what changed in the time you have lived there.


    How often were the EAC's cleaned?

    If not at least every 60 days,your indoor coil could be full of "stuff".


    30 % RH in Florida is very low,in this weather,check in in the morning if yu leave the systems on.

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