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  1. #40
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,347
    Quote Originally Posted by perrybucsdad View Post
    I'm no pro, so maybe tehre is a better way to figure out if it is air starved, but I did this with mine.

    I turned of the power to the furnace and then removed the blower door. I then taped down the cut off switch that turns the blower off if you remove the blower door. I then put the door back up against the frame of the blower unit, and then had someone turn the power back onto furnace. I then had the same person go to the T-Stat and make the AC come on. When the blower was up to speed, I pulled away the blower door and I could feel the unit trying to pull it back into place. To me (and again, I am no pro so maybe I am wrong with my assumption), this indicates that not enough air is entering the system.

    Maybe a pro can comment and let us know if this is a reliable test or not, or if there is a better way.

    BTW, when you are done, make sure you take the tape off the blower kill switch so it operates as it should.
    Measuring return and supply static pressures, and total external static pressure (TESP) is the most reliable way to determine if a system is moving enough air.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  2. #41
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Perry Village, Ohio
    Posts
    164
    What is the TESP? The combination of the return and supply pressures?

  3. #42
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    56
    Quote Originally Posted by efelkey View Post
    Ok. Now I am really screwed. I called the HVAC company that installed the system in the first place. They are telling me that a second zone to be added would cost at least $xxxx. I am in no position to afford that at this time. I need a lower cost way of making my home habitable. All help is great. I know I should be paying all of you. My return on the main floor is half the size of the one on the second floor. I am getting tempted to try my neighbors trick. How would I know if the system is "air starved" when the block is in place?
    You didnt say if the quote for a second zone was for a completley seperate system or if it was to have a zoning system installed for your existing system.

    If the quote was a for a completley seperate system, ask for a quote to have your existing system zoned. It may be more cost affective for you.

  4. #43
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by Rdy2Zone View Post
    You didnt say if the quote for a second zone was for a completley seperate system or if it was to have a zoning system installed for your existing system.

    If the quote was a for a completley seperate system, ask for a quote to have your existing system zoned. It may be more cost affective for you.

    That was NOT for a seperate system. That was to add the dampers to create two zones on my existing one zone system.

  5. #44
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Raleigh,NC.
    Posts
    357
    you know what, i've been drinking and can't believe this is still going on . my last word on it....... if you ask someone about something that they do and have done for a living for 30 or fourty years, you probably should take heed to the answer. there is no quick fix! the sun rises on one side and falls on the other. hot air rises and cold air falls. hvac technoligy changes so fast that it's hard to keep up with. get two or more long-established contractors in and LISTEN TO THEM!
    remember, with electronics; when its brown,its cooking and when its black, its done!!!

  6. #45
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by micdundee View Post
    you know what, i've been drinking and can't believe this is still going on . my last word on it....... if you ask someone about something that they do and have done for a living for 30 or fourty years, you probably should take heed to the answer. there is no quick fix! the sun rises on one side and falls on the other. hot air rises and cold air falls. hvac technoligy changes so fast that it's hard to keep up with. get two or more long-established contractors in and LISTEN TO THEM!
    Do you get mean when you are drinking? I am not ignoring anyone's advice in here. I am not trying to insult someone's life work. If there is nothing to fix my issue then so be it. I have only responded to other questions. I am sorry if I offended you by telling you my estimates were out of my price range, but because technology changes so fast I was hopeful that someone has an answer that I could use.

    Once again, I am not trying to piss anyone off and if I did......I realize now that because I am not a HVAC professional and I may not be welcome here by everyone.......

    Thanks to all that offered their advice.

  7. #46
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    south louisiana
    Posts
    3,188
    and we are trying efelkey..beware of bandaid fixes.. it could be that you need more return air, but none of us have seen your return,
    or house, and are just troubleshooting online. and yes we are all advising you not to hork around with your system.
    you are welcome here, and are getting good advice.
    I'm no hvac pro but I know in my area (hot humid) that leaving the
    fan on constantly adds to RH in the house..talk about make you uncomfortable.
    my suggestion was to reduce heat gain to upstairs before more costly other options. didn't mean to mislead your thread.
    that said...I'll prolly do it again.
    also, it is in your best interest to understand why you are not being urged to try these 'fixes' for yourself. everyone in the hvac business can tell you of client's systems that they had to repair after home owner's repair..and the cost is much more than if the
    professional had been hired first.


    ampulman..it is hard to install radiant barrier materials tightly enough to make an air tight seal. been there, done that.
    some of those attic spaces are tight.

    if you break down costs.. about .50 per sq ft of foil bubble foil wrap
    vs $15.00 for a 4'x8' sheet of foil/foam sheathing board (1/2" closed cell) it shakes out pretty close.
    and if you want to close between floors with rb wrap...it will be hard to get the air seal you will with sheathing boards. one is a flexible product the other has much more rigidity.

    covering sheathing or RB with osb...surely you won't work the same area twice!!
    with radiant barrier it needs a minimum of 3/4" air space between it
    and any covering, so in addition to installing RB you would then need furring strips to nail osb to so that air space will be maintained.
    if you plan on osb..just do osb. it isn't worth the double work to install sheathing board. just trade off the R-3 from 1/2"
    sheathing board for osb (1'2" would give you R-.5)
    osb will give you an air seal if you caulk all seams and joints.. just take the saw instead of the razor knife into the attic to cut your pieces...and be careful!
    no offense, shophound, but I think you are making it harder than necessary. I have a tendency to overthink and over-engineer myself sometimes.

    I'm going to be in code class for the rest of the week, I'll ask those
    guys about foam sheathing left exposed in attic and let y'all know what they think. It will be interesting to see what they say as compared to my educators and provider who advocated this install in the first place..

    just in thinking about it..I can't see why foam sheathing which is either open cell or closed ..is any different from foam insulation sprayed on roof decking or attic floor. these areas are not sheetrocked over or osb installed. foam is to attic space, not
    living area. sheetrock is on interior of walls.

    and energystar...don't just come in and say staple up bubble wrap.
    come on! first off bubble wrap is for wrapping breakables.
    radiant barrier is what you are referring to?
    then explain how the rb is to be installed, or give a informational only site, not a mfg selling products site. you might also want to explain that rb has to cover entire roofline. just a bit harder than what we were trying to achieve here.
    the rb I use is a single sided foil. costs me about .10 per sq ft.
    (compare that to foil bubble foil rb and explain why you would pay or recommend some one else pay 4x the cost for the same performance please)
    and I only install it on the roofline with foil facing into attic space. specific products have specific applications.

    again..best of luck to you OP.
    The cure of the part should not be attempted without the cure of the whole. ~Plato

  8. #47
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Raleigh,NC.
    Posts
    357

    efelkey

    a thousand pradons. bad day . had to fire a good worker with good people skills and the potential for of being a good service tech. but he makes too many bad personal decisions that get in everybodys way. although the spirit was, a little harsh the advice was still good. good luck.
    remember, with electronics; when its brown,its cooking and when its black, its done!!!

  9. #48
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    south louisiana
    Posts
    3,188
    no problem. don't you hate to see good people making bad choices.
    the older I get the more I want to tell them to just stop.
    fortunatley I remember how receptive I was at that age also.
    (so NOT receptive to advice when I was younger..now at least I listen!)
    I always hated firing people, glad its not an issue anymore.

    and yes it can be a little tough here sometimes, but the spirit is good. long hot days can leave us all a little short-tempered.

    have a good one.
    The cure of the part should not be attempted without the cure of the whole. ~Plato

  10. #49
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,347
    La, no offense taken. If I see instructions on a product that clearly state it is not to be left exposed, I am hesitant to countermand that instruction online. I do agree with you that other forms of foam insulation are left exposed in an attic, and perhaps there are foam board products that can be left exposed. The product I use is called R Max, made locally (one reason I like to use it), and it states flat out do not leave it exposed. Should other products not state such, I only ask forgiveness for speaking over cautiously.

    I agree with your re: the bubble wrap products. I understand they have around a 1 to 2 R value at best, and do not provide an air seal. Foam board on the attic side (exposed or no) is going to improve the overall assembly R value of the wall, period, and do so 24/7. The radiant barrier component of the bubble wrap will reduce radiant heat transfer, but how about conduction? And since you mentioned air sealing (or the lack thereof) we're then talking about convection as well (in particular, within the cavities).
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  11. #50
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Delaware
    Posts
    3,824
    "and energystar...don't just come in and say staple up bubble wrap."

    I will make a cleaner post once I wake up a bit (actually I have been up since 3:30 but this is not an urgent matter that needs my attention this early). What bugs me is your attitude.........So.......... Whats with the attitude energy rater. Please don't tell me what I can post. I guess I may have forgotten what section this topic was in, and being this is an HVAC site, we would all know (I hope) that bubble wrap is insulation. So, sorry bout the miss understanding. I only want to help anyone I can.
    Always here

  12. #51
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    56
    Quote Originally Posted by efelkey View Post
    That was NOT for a seperate system. That was to add the dampers to create two zones on my existing one zone system.
    Get a few more quotes to have your existing system zoned.

    There are several different zoning products out there. Though I don’t know your financial situation, a two zone panel, two dampers, two thermostats, a bypass damper, discharge air temperature sensor and outdoor sensor shouldn’t break the bank or come close to the cost of a completely new system. The variable will be the labor to have it properly installed and will most likely depend on how accessible the HVAC trunk going to the upstairs and downstairs is.

    Be sure your receiving quotes from HVAC companies that do Zoning regularly. Try and screen them ahead of time. Thos that install zoning regularly do it very well and efficiently. If you are having a difficult time determining this, you could get recommendations from the zoning manufacturers like Honeywell.

  13. #52
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    3,386
    I am not an HVAC pro but I am very interested in air flow as it related to a heating and cooling system. This is one such thread I find particularly intriguing. These are my observations of the recommendation so far.

    The OP says he has a five year old house with thick blown-in insulation. He undoubtedly has proper wall insulation, dual pane windows, vapor barriers, and a properly sized AC unit. Yet nearly all the advice centers around lowering the temp of the attic, sealing the attic from the living space, or redirecting the supplies through zoning or dampening. But by all means do not tamper with a return because that is a “band aid”.

    Someone recommended dampening the supplies to the downstairs and there were no objections, but doesn’t that restrict airflow as much as dampening a return? Why would restricting supplies be ok for the unit but closing off a return would hurt the unit? The net affect to the unit is the same…it’s being choked. If adding or moving a supply is ok, why isn't adding or moving a return ok?

    A supply adds desirable air to the living space and a return CAN remove undesirable air if placed properly. In this case it would be upstairs. Why is tampering with supplies recommended but focusing on returns a “band-aid”? They both deal with the addition and extraction of wanted and unwanted air.

    Reducing the temp of the attic assumes the hot upstairs condition is caused by the hot attic air, a porous ceiling, but not from rising hot air? Why would the removal of unwanted air not be the other side of the coin from adding wanted air?

    And, I have a question for the OP. What have you learned from all the responses so far? IOW, since you are not going to throw $3,000 at your problem are you most likely going to seal your attic, insulate your attic, zone (restrict) your supplies, or restrict a return?

    Brian

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