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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    Installation nightmare !!

    New house, moved in around 11/1/2019.
    Trane HVAC heat, cent air, Clean Effects filter, propane.

    Started noticing that the system seem to cycle a LOT.
    Propane use was higher during the winter than I have seen before - this is the 3rd time we've built this house, all in the same geographic area.

    House has an encapsulated attic ( 1st time I've had one ) with the air handler in the attic.

    The Clean Effects has not impressed me ( I have dust bunnies the size of real bunnies !! ) but the original installer and another separate contractor I contacted both say it is working. Fine, something I'll tackle that later.

    What I did find in the attic has me somewhat alarmed -

    The furnace exhaust vent pipe is metal ( not PVC ),was 'spray foamed in place' and touching the pipe ( fire danger ?? ) & there is no concentric exhaust pipe or fresh air intake pipe. This is an 'atmospheric combustion' furnace - NOT what I would have expected in an encapsulated attic !
    An outside fresh air soffit vent of sorts was installed -
    3 4x4 intakes connected to 3 4" sections of flex duct connected ( taped ) to a single larger flex duct going through an electric damper which opens when the furnace comes on and closes when the furnace stops was installed - I thought this was the fresh air source for combustion - and this is what has me worried - the larger flex duct from the soffit vents through the larger single duct through the electric damper runs directly into the return air plenum !!!!!!!!!!

    That means that outside air goes directly into the return air stream inside the house !!! let's see - dumping 37 degree air ( and a LOT of it ) directly into the air stream before it hits the heat exchanger is probably going to lower the temperature of the air going to the vent to heat the house, right ? Or am I missing something ?

    Air coming out of the vents isn't as warm as it should be so more cycles to heat the house, more propane used, Lord Knows how much dust, pollen, etc in the duct work and house.
    Closing the jury-rigged out side air source, either intentionally or with a damper failure would turn the attic into a monoxide container. Piping fresh out side air into the attic kind of defeats the encapsulated attic. The way it's installed sure defeats the SEER rating of the furnace.

    I can't wait for summer because when 85 to 95+ degree
    moisture laden air hits that cold sheet metal return air plenum, there will enough water in there to water the lawn !!

    Do I start with the builder and /or sub contractor or ??

    Help, please. I need suggestions, guidance, something.
    Last edited by cmdradams; 04-06-2020 at 02:22 PM. Reason: I want to remain a member !

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Culver, Oregon (Central OR)
    Posts
    2,653
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    Yep, contact both involved. Where are you located?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Posts
    8
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    Thread Starter
    North east Texas

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Southold, NY
    Posts
    27,164
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    Mentioning largely action will get this thread CLOSED. Remove it or ask the mods to.

    I would pay to have an independent inspection made before going back to the builder. His subs are going to say it’s fine. You will need someone on your side to argue with them.

    Get a manufacturer’s rep out there. ASAP

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
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    Where were you when the construction was going on ?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    8
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    Thread Starter
    I assumed you meant 'legal action' and removed the reference.
    Sorry, my mistake.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    40,748
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    Are your return air vents high up or ceiling? If so, probably more of your dust is settling and turning into bunnies instead of being sucked in and caught by the filter. I have a good filter but the house is still dusty because the 2 ceiling returns don't get the dust, it falls.

    With a sealed attic, especially on propane, should have been a 95% furnace. Propane is pricey enough with an 80% and then rigging up the fresh air like that. Of course in many area, the fresh air into the return is a code requirement but not done like that. It would be a control. Some controls won't open the vent in really cold or really hot areas and it isn't 24/7.

    If you can't get anywhere with getting a 90% furnace, there's this https://www.fieldcontrols.com/fan-in...on-air-system/ which is the right way to add combustion air.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Posts
    8
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    Thread Starter
    VTP99 - we were living on site.
    I made the dreaded 'assume' mistake - assumed the installers knew what they were doing - won't do that again !
    Builder was great ( this house is not my first custom build ! ) in every way and I had a lot of confidence in him but .......................

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    19,279
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    Were you given options on furnace efficiencies ?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Bay Area California
    Posts
    26,541
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    Sounds like you have two main issues. Combustion air and the fresh air in the return, which is normal in extra air tight homes. At least from I have read in the past. Some of that may have changed due to certain chemicals not being used like they used to be.

    For the fresh air in the return, what you are looking for is an HRV, Heat Recovery Ventilator. Works both ways, meaning summer and winter, to cool or heat the incoming air. Google it. There are also some that 'transfer' humidity as well, or at least there used to be. Bone up on it.

    Regarding the combustion air, can you have outside air vents installed for the attic? Meaning, where is the insulation? Will hot or cold air be drawn into the attic on a ceiling that is not insulated?

    Those are the two areas I would recommend you be sure that second opinion contractor focus on. Anything else they come up with would be gravy on top.
    I do a triple evac with nitro to remove non condensables.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    6,724
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    Got Photos?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Beatrice, NE
    Posts
    10,720
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    How is the house for comfort, hot spots, cold spots, noise, we already know about dust and high utilities.

    I ask because I wonder how ell they did on the duct work. Bad ducting can cause high bills as well as the issue mentioned above. The 80% furnace would only raise your bills by 15% so while it is some it should not be a huge issue ie $15 on a $100 utility bill. The fresh air may be costing you more than that.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Culver, Oregon (Central OR)
    Posts
    2,653
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bazooka Joey View Post
    Got Photos?
    x2

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