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Thread: New HVAC unit installed backwards causing illness?

  1. #1
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    New HVAC unit installed backwards causing illness?

    Hello. My mom's boyfriend installed a new HVAC unit about 4 months ago. It was installed backwards, taking in air through the vents, and blowing out air through the register. My question is this...they alternate between staying at his villa and hers. They have stayed at his place twice in the past couple months, and they developed what the ER called "bacterial pneumonia." It was not Covid. They stayed there again last week, and he is exhibiting symptoms again. My question is this...we live in Florida, where it is very humid and hot. Can the period of time that the system was backwards have drawn in fungus, bacteria, etc. THROUGH the vents and into the air handler, etc., that could now be blowing back out through the vents and making them sick? I am starting to think it is a Legionnaire type illness caused by these people who installed it backwards. They are 83, and it was very difficult for them to overcome the first episode, and now we are facing a second. Also, it is now not blowing cold air at all, and they are now saying it is a leak in the coil and they will have to order a new coil. I am afraid for them to stay there and breathe the air.
    Thoughts, please. Should we call the health department or another company and get the air tested?
    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Theoretically no. Its all still the same duct system the air is just moving the opposite direction.

    As for all other related items of how the system operated and effected the iaq, that would be for a pro to figure out once on scene.


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  4. #3
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    I find this all unbelievable!

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  6. #4
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    The only thing I can see is over the time period the original system was in place dust, etc was being pulled in and some may have stuck inside the return duct. When the system was installed "backwards" the air going across that dust etc is now no longer filtered like it was before assuming the filter is at the equipment. These fine aerosols could cause respiratory issues. On the other hand no filter is 100% effective so some af that same dust is still going through the filter and would have been coming out the supply vents which are now return.

    Not a good situation but not one that couldn't be fixed with a good duct cleaning and reinstalling the air handler the right direction. assuming the duct is in the attic there could be some issues with fiberglass insulation as well.

    The best thing would be to get some well trained eyes on the situation to come up with a solution.

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  8. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pecmsg View Post
    I find this all unbelievable!
    Hired off craigslist, or hourly guys outside the big box store or diy would be about the only way it could be installed backwards.

    Even a drunk blind pro could screw that up!!
    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."
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  10. #6
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by pacnw View Post
    Hired off craigslist, or hourly guys outside the big box store or diy would be about the only way it could be installed backwards.

    Even a drunk blind pro could screw that up!!
    Actually, this is a company my family has used for 30+ years. They used to be a small company, but when they got bigger their quality went way down. The two men who put it in had put in their 2 weeks notice, and apparently their work reflected that. They should probably not have been allowed to continue to work at customers' homes.

  11. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by deewhite View Post
    Hello. My mom's boyfriend installed a new HVAC unit about 4 months ago. It was installed backwards, taking in air through the vents, and blowing out air through the register. My question is this...they alternate between staying at his villa and hers. They have stayed at his place twice in the past couple months, and they developed what the ER called "bacterial pneumonia." It was not Covid. They stayed there again last week, and he is exhibiting symptoms again. My question is this...we live in Florida, where it is very humid and hot. Can the period of time that the system was backwards have drawn in fungus, bacteria, etc. THROUGH the vents and into the air handler, etc., that could now be blowing back out through the vents and making them sick? I am starting to think it is a Legionnaire type illness caused by these people who installed it backwards. They are 83, and it was very difficult for them to overcome the first episode, and now we are facing a second. Also, it is now not blowing cold air at all, and they are now saying it is a leak in the coil and they will have to order a new coil. I am afraid for them to stay there and breathe the air.
    Thoughts, please. Should we call the health department or another company and get the air tested?
    Thank you.
    I don’t understand.
    Vents are supposed to be the intake, and registers are supposed to be the supply air.
    The TRUE highest cost system is the system not installed properly...

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  13. #8
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    Can you post pictures of this installation please?
    I havent failed. Ive just found 10,000 ways that wont work. - Thomas Edison

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