Did you miss this 'very first reply'???
Originally posted by dx
I only asked if anyone could help me find an engineer. Period. You couldn't,
And I was going to tell you of someone that is in no way affiliated with me!
Originally posted by jultzya
I know of a guy for about $500/hr...
(no commision either)
Engineer came and looked at everything. Study in progress. Preliminary findings: 1. Poor design of original system. Not enough airflow to second floor due to insufficient duct sizes and insufficient number of supply registers. 2. Poor installation. Lots of air leaks and one return register connected to supply side trunk. 3. Poorly designed and installed supplemental system. Some of the original supply ducts disconnected from original system and connected (with duct tape!) to supplemental system. 4. Thermostats for both systems on first floor, none on second floor. 5. Booster fans installed in several ducts by yet another contractor in attempt to get more air upstairs. Poor installation resulted in high noise and no improvement. Later disconected by same contractor and left in place, which adds restriction.
Engineer now trying to figure out if it is possible to get more air to 2nd floor without tearing up all the walls and floors and redoing all the ducts.
I did talk to my favorite HVAC contractor. His take: you are doing the right thing. HVAC contractors make money selling and servicing systems, not doing drywall and patching ducts. He did say that he would have declined the job. Too much hassle and risk.
Now, I'm curious.
Did all of the business people miss the real question here? If so, what a shame. To me, this sounds like a real business opportunity, well maybe not HIS job but similar ones.
Say I want someone to do an independent evaluation of my system(s), home, business, etc.. Who do I call? He asks for an "engineer", which upset some, but I think he is just looking for some indendent expert to prevent another ripoff. I'd probably call a good Home Inspector, with some engineering crap behind his name, as a starting point. Hopefully they would have some recommendations, or the local electric utility might.
Anyways, when seeking a Blower Door Test, a Manual J, Manual D, Duct Inspection, ..... who to call. Hmmm, pick up the Yellow pages, and there is little help there. Call a couple of HVAC Contractors and get something like - you don't need no stinking blower door test, and/or Manual J what's that? By the way, that is not a joke - actually happened.
My point is someone could make a good business / subbusiness advertising independent system reviews. Not to insult jultzya, but $500/hr residential might be a tad too much though.
Yes, Amiga, absolutely. I wanted an expert, as the title of the thread states. The contractors were offended that the HO wanted somebody higher up on the food chain. Look,if I go to have blood drawn and 5 different nurses poke me in 20 places and screw up my veins, I don't look for another nurse. I go to a doctor.
The other important point is specific experience or specialization. I want somebody who designs, reviews and troubleshoots for a living. Your point about the business opportunity occurred to me after I contacted the local ASHRAE chapter. I only got a reply 5 days later to say they didn't have a referral service, or a list of local engineers, or anything like that. What a lost opportunity!
Look DX the problems your engineer found were not some fantastic engineering feat.I could have spotted most if not all of them.Just because you find out the are some bad HVAC companys out there(the same in your biz) does not mean they all are.I have worked for several outfits that had design engineers in house for retro-fits, new, residential and commercial work.You also said poor design of original system.The T-Stat location was a slam dunk.A lot of service techs know enough about installation to spot a poor or bad one.I get a call and the customer tells me his system worked fine till just the other day I have to know enough to see wheather it ever has.Also any recent work on it,in fact all the history helps me.Now calling an engineer in to redisign or design a fix was a good idea,but you mean to tell me the you could not get a company to do that?I put a RSW system on a boat or a walk-in freezer in a store or a furnace in a house it better work or I don't get paid.Sour grapes-do people still say that?I'm sure there are engineer consulting firms in the phone book of the nearest large town.Now about this kitchen I need remodeled.......
Madjack, you make correct statements but draw the wrong conclusions. Yes, the engineer's findings were not rocket science, but getting it fixed without rebuilding the house might. Yes, you (and even I for that matter) could have spotted some of the problems but may not be qualified to solve the overall problem. Yes, a lot of techs know enough about installation to spot a poor one. But not qualified to redesign the system. After much discussion we found that the system never worked really well. The HO bought the house new and assumed it must be OK since it was new. It took him a while to realize it wasn't OK. And every time a contractor worked on it, it got worse. Yes, I do mean to tell you that the HO went through half a dozen contractors who took lots of money and each time it was the same or worse than before. Yes, he shouldn't have paid any of them, but he has money and is interested in getting it fixed, not suing contractors. It works like this: contractor comes in, tells the HO "you need xyz, I can do it for $xxx". Quote reads"do xyz", not "make house livable". Contractor does xyz, collects money, house is no better. No recourse. If you're in the business, you know the routine.
I've got to tell you, the HO is too nice of a guy. It was 92 degrees outside, the basement was 69, the ground floor 73 and the upstairs 83. With about R40 in the attic. Tstats were set to 73. My wife would have checked into the nearest hotel and sent the contractor the bill before sleeping in 83 degrees.
And last, no, there are no engineer consulting firms in the phone book of the nearest large town. You are absolutely wrong. I am in one of the top dozen metro areas (population-wise) and it was the first place I looked. Not a single one. There were some aerospace, computer, etc. but nothing close to building/HVAC engineers.
I don't remodel kitchens for strangers... my mother warned me against that...
Interesting discussion and attitudes.
FWIW, 99% of HVAC installs am involved with have multiple engineers on the project, but then the systems are not called HVAC on ships and planes and spacecraft, they are called ECS, environmental control systems.
The point is that even a 'little bit' of 'rocket science' or simply looking at the basics applied to a home can go a long way.
Sounds like the guy had the misfortune of having only calling the worst of contractors. It's unfortunate that you have to hire an above average company to design and install an average zone control system. The cheap home boom has created this problem and people like your customer have to live with it. The mechanicals are not a good area to be cutting costs but it seems thats the first place they look to do so. Oh well it keeps us service companies busy
HVAC Contractor, Tyler Texas.