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  1. #1
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    Contractor Could Not Install Combustion Air Pipes to Complete Installation - Help!

    A contractor encountered problems trying to install a Trane 2.5-ton system the day before yesterday. He was supposed to call yesterday about finishing the job, but I haven’t heard from him. I would appreciate advice before I talk to him.

    The problem was with the installation of the XV80 Furnace (TUD2B060A9V3VB) in the closet, specifically the combustion air pipes. When he had everything else installed, the installer could not fit the combustion air pipe that should end close to the floor into the closet. He said they would have to solve this another day. He wanted me to pay for the installation, but I refused to pay until the job was done, and done neatly and in compliance with code so that it will pass inspection.

    The sealed closet is 34” deep, 25.5” wide, and 82” high. Clearance where he needed to put the longer combustion air pipe, between the left side of the furnace and the wall, is 4.2”, in which the hard gas piping takes up 3.75” between the front of the furnace and the wall.

    Unable to figure anything else out with the 5” pipe he had, he looked at placing it in front of the gas valve, but the valve forced it to be angled towards the door. It would have touched the door, been against the gas piping, interfering with valve access, and been in front of the left 0.8 inches of the furnace. I don’t know if it would have worked or passed code, but it looked so unsightly and unprofessional that I would never consider buying a house with a furnace installation that looked like that. He didn’t seem to think it acceptable, but I worry what others at the company will try to force upon me. I want this $ job to enhance my house, not devalue it.

    The last conversation at the end of the day before yesterday, it sounded like they intended to come back and force a 5” pipe into the 4.2 inch space left of the furnace, then connect it to a 5” pipe coming from the ceiling towards the front with two 90 degree bends. It seems difficult to find connectors for a deformed pipe so that all the joints will fit tightly for this to look professional and neat, and I assumed the pipe should have a slope, in case of condensation, which it would not between the two 90 bends. Also, I don’t like the idea of forcing the pipe in, scraping the paint, and leaving constant pressure against the side of the furnace. I assume something that looks good could be specially fabricated, but they seem to be avoiding this.

    I would greatly appreciate advice. I picked this contractor because they get good reviews on Yelp, Angie’s List and Google, so I never expected problems. I could have installed a narrower furnace, but chose this for multiple speeds. They said a narrower furnace would fit easier, but that this would also fit. If they can fabricate something that would fit, look good and pass inspection, I’d be overjoyed to pay them and be done with this. If they can’t make it look right, I would want them to remove everything so that I can go with the narrower option without extra speeds that wouldn't be an eyesore in the closet. I hope they are motivated and will resolve this, but I am worried they will try to force a bad installation on me that would eat at me forever.

    Extra information:
    This was supposed to have been permitted, but I called the inspectors, and they tell me they have not received a permit request from the contractor. They also tell me he should have done a manual j load calculation to comply with the permit, which he did not do. I checked further, and it seems I may have selected a larger system than I needed. I have an 1179 sf house built in 1967. Insulation was added, closet sealed, and ductwork wrapped in about 1989. Guidelines from my electric provider suggest 2 tons for homes up to 1200 s.f. The old condenser was 2.5 tons, and the furnace was 3-tons. When I asked the contractor if I should get a 2 or 2.5 ton, he suggested I get a 2.5 ton if I left everything else alone, and a 2-ton if I went through a rebate program to install solar screens on my single-pane windows, increase attic insulation to R-38, do more sealing of the ductwork, and seal all the doors. To be clear, it's not my goal to get the contractor to remove what he installed just to change to a 2-ton, even if it might have been more appropriate. That wouldn't be fair.

    Other clearances:
    Clearance to the right is 3.7”, in which an electrical switch box takes up 2” at the front of the furnace.
    Clearance from the face of the furnace to the doorframe is about 5.5” clearance, with about another 1.4” to the inside surface of the door.
    The connection to the ductwork leaves about 7” towards the front of the closet in which to place the combustion pipes.

    Condenser: 4TTR6030J1000A
    Cased Coil: 4TXCB003DS3HCA
    XV80 Furnace: TUD2B060A9V3VB
    Thermostat: TCONT824AS52DA
    Last edited by beenthere; 07-07-2018 at 05:59 PM.

  2. #2
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    Not being there Im just guessing...

    Move the gas line. Install oval pipe with an oval to round adapter.

    Courtesy Home Depot:


  3. #3
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    What a cluster.... 5" vent pipe sure seems big for that furnace.
    __________________________________________________ _______________________
    “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards" ~ Vernon Law

    "When the teachers become unteachable we're all in trouble"

    "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." ~ John Wooden



  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC_Marc View Post
    Not being there Im just guessing...

    Move the gas line. Install oval pipe with an oval to round adapter.
    I'm not a plumber, but I have a hard time picturing how moving the gas valve could be accomplished in a way that would help. It's too close to the front to fit a pipe in without looking very bad and blocking it, and moving it back would still mean it is blocked by a straight pipe. As the installer was giving up, I was frantically trying to find a solution for him to pass on, and I did run across these oval pipes and suggest he look into it. I thought this could be placed between the wall and the furnace, with 45 degree angle connections to line up with a pipe coming in from the top, but I haven't found adapters or transitions to make it work. I'm trying to figure out how to add a photo.

  5. #5
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    I'm wondering if it is vent pipe or combustion air pipe. The OP said combustion air and sealed closet.
    The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing the greatest amount of free meals and stamps EVER.
    Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us to "Please Do Not Feed the Animals". Their stated reason for this policy "... the animals become dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves."
    from an excerpt by Paul Jacob in Sun City, AZ

  6. #6
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    Photos would help!!!
    The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing the greatest amount of free meals and stamps EVER.
    Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us to "Please Do Not Feed the Animals". Their stated reason for this policy "... the animals become dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves."
    from an excerpt by Paul Jacob in Sun City, AZ

  7. #7
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    Thread Starter
    I just tried uploading an attachment to show the corner with the gas line. If I haven't done it correctly, I'll try again.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  8. #8
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    Thread Starter
    I just tried uploading an attachment to show the corner with the gas line. If I haven't done it correctly, I'll try again. Yes, to be clear this is combustion air for a sealed closet.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacnw View Post
    Photos would help!!!
    I am sorry for the duplicates as I learn how to post photos. Please let me know if any other photos would help.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bill View Post
    What a cluster.... 5" vent pipe sure seems big for that furnace.
    I tried an online calculator to determine the area needed for combustion air pipes. When I googled the model number for my furnace, it said 60,000 BTU. Dividing that by 4000, if I am understanding correctly, yields 15 square inches needed for each of the two pipes (high and low). The area of a 5” pipe is 19.6 square inches. A four inch is only 12.6 inches, so not enough. I’d welcome anyone pointing out any error I've made.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasSage View Post
    I tried an online calculator to determine the area needed for combustion air pipes. When I googled the model number for my furnace, it said 60,000 BTU. Dividing that by 4000, if I am understanding correctly, yields 15 square inches needed for each of the two pipes (high and low). The area of a 5” pipe is 19.6 square inches. A four inch is only 12.6 inches, so not enough. I’d welcome anyone pointing out any error I've made.
    When you first posted I was thinking you were talking “vent pipe” so that’s probably the right size for combustion air.


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    __________________________________________________ _______________________
    “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards" ~ Vernon Law

    "When the teachers become unteachable we're all in trouble"

    "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." ~ John Wooden



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasSage View Post
    I'm not a plumber, but I have a hard time picturing how moving the gas valve could be accomplished in a way that would help. It's too close to the front to fit a pipe in without looking very bad and blocking it, and moving it back would still mean it is blocked by a straight pipe. As the installer was giving up, I was frantically trying to find a solution for him to pass on, and I did run across these oval pipes and suggest he look into it. I thought this could be placed between the wall and the furnace, with 45 degree angle connections to line up with a pipe coming in from the top, but I haven't found adapters or transitions to make it work. I'm trying to figure out how to add a photo.

    The supplier of the oval pipe will likely have the fittings too. Oval pipe is very common. Most pro supply houses have it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC_Marc View Post
    The supplier of the oval pipe will likely have the fittings too. Oval pipe is very common. Most pro supply houses have it.
    I do see a limited number of fittings. I suppose a 6" oval pipe next to the furnace transitioning to a 5" round, then a 45 degree, and another 45 degree, then straight up through the ceiling might possibly work, but I haven't found all the necessary fittings, yet.

    Can anyone tell me whether the area has to be increased if the pipe has angles? When I took hydrology, angles decreased flow. Am I right in assuming a horizontal run between angles would be a bad idea due to the need to drain possible condensation, not to mention a 45 degree would affect flow less?

    Thank you to everyone who has so far tried to help. I am feeling a little less stressed at the possibilities.

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