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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    17

    Question

    It appears that we are going to have to replace ductwork again for third time in 7 years. We have some real problems. This is so frustrating.

    Previous contractor was apparently not reliable. We thought he was down to earth, nice, honest. But we have found places where things were not sealed, ductwork left lying on the ground, etc. We did not use the lowest bidder---in fact, no where close to lowest bidder.

    I think we may have misjudged him.

    How does one judge a contractor's reliability before he does his work?

    How do we know he will seal everything properly and tie everything up properly?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    997
    I would stay away from the mom and pop companies. Some will do a great job but for the most part they are far and few.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    58
    "I would stay away from the mom and pop companies. Some will do a great job but for the most part they are far and few."

    I have had the opposite experiance, with all subs.

    With a small company, the guy doing the work has his name on the van and his name on the line.

    The installer for a large firm has no real stake in the quality of work.

    In general, 99% of HVAC companies are hacks, I do not mean to offend, just the way it is. But then again maybe they have to be to survive in this "cheapest price" world we live in.

    Nick

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Franklin
    Posts
    256
    Originally posted by wifelet
    It appears that we are going to have to replace ductwork again for third time in 7 years. We have some real problems. This is so frustrating.

    Previous contractor was apparently not reliable. We thought he was down to earth, nice, honest. But we have found places where things were not sealed, ductwork left lying on the ground, etc. We did not use the lowest bidder---in fact, no where close to lowest bidder.

    I think we may have misjudged him.

    How does one judge a contractor's reliability before he does his work?

    How do we know he will seal everything properly and tie everything up properly?
    Ask friends, neighbors and family who they used. Don't rely on the BBB. Anyone with $300 can join that racket. Try a three or four truck contractor. Stay away from huge contractors and the one man shops.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    108
    Originally posted by wifelet
    It appears that we are going to have to replace ductwork again for third time in 7 years. We have some real problems. This is so frustrating.

    Previous contractor was apparently not reliable. We thought he was down to earth, nice, honest. But we have found places where things were not sealed, ductwork left lying on the ground, etc. We did not use the lowest bidder---in fact, no where close to lowest bidder.

    I think we may have misjudged him.

    How does one judge a contractor's reliability before he does his work?

    How do we know he will seal everything properly and tie everything up properly?
    Find a contractor that has done homes to E.P.A. standards for a Star Energy home then have them do the duct system to those standards and have it tested for leaks by a seperate firm that is impartial to insure that it is sealed properly.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    17
    I'm not sure that we have Star Energy homes in North Alabama, but I will ask around to see if anyone uses those standards.

    I like the idea of having a different firm do the leak test. Will do!

    I think the contractor that put in the new unit plus new ductwork in 1998 did not use mastic to seal everything. He just used tape. There was no caulk where the boots entered the floor so when I complained of smelling "basement" and "mildew" --- I really was smelling crawl space air coming into the house from around the outside of the metal boots.

    My husband had put in the "positive drain" just before the new central heat/air system was put it. He thought it was working just fine until he went for a "swim" yesterday in the 12 inch deep lake under our house! We will be putting in a sump pump.

    We thought we had our water and mold problems solved.

    We'll be calling different contractors on Monday to get estimates.

    We cannot afford to replace the 7 year old 3.5 ton unit, so we will have it cleaned. We will not be replacing all ductwork---just the two main trunk lines that got water in them. We will be looking at putting in a dehumidifier.

    Are there any specific questions we should be asking other than "do you go by EPA standards" or mentioning "Star Energy Homes"?

    Thanks, everyone, for all your help!




  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    165
    I think you may be placing blame where it doesn't belong, your previous contractors may have been very reliable and competent when placed in a normal situation. A/C Contractors are trained to design a system assuming a certain set of circumstances using normally accepted criteria for the region of the country.

    When put into a situation such as yours which is totally outside the normal, you should enlist the aid of an engineer experienced in addressing your specific problem.

    1) If you have a periodic lake in the crawl space and the ducts are there also, no amount of design will stop them from growing mold. (I don't like ducts in the crawl space anyway but certainly not when it has a water problem.)

    2) If you have a periodic lake in the crawl space and there are opening between the living space and the crawl space the relative humidity inside your living space will be above the normally accepted design criteria used by an AC contractor to design a system for your area. (There are ALWAYS opening between the crawl space and the living space)

    I suggest that you hire an engineer to design the system before reinstalling ducts and get and AC Contractor to do the install according to the engineers specifications.

    Don't have the money? Do you have the money to replace the ducts again in a couple of years?

    Frank

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