Posts Tagged ‘duct tape’

The things you find out in the garage, part 3: it’s not the makings of good indoor air

May 23, 2014

We’ve talked about the bad venting set up for this furnace and water heater and also about what it sits on in past posts. I’m not quite done with indoor air quality, and I’d like to draw your attention to another area of the duct work that is right out in the open.air leak insulation
While we look at this system in the garage, you can see that there was an attempt to insulate and to seal the duct work. The un-faced fiberglass wrapped around most of the duct work is stained in a number of places. This would be from the garage air being drawn into the system every time it runs. The mystery regarding duct tape is why we call it that, since it doesn’t seal ducts and It was on parts of this system.
Keep in mind that all of the observations were just from the garage, the area of the home you mayduct tape leaks walk through every day. Never mind what we found in the attic.
The happy ending to this story is that this homeowner was given a list of solutions to the problems we found. With a new system, measures were taken in the home as well that will mean lower energy bills, better comfort, and most important of all a healthier and safer home.


Good Equipment Needs Good Air Distribution

October 4, 2013

 DSC_0111 101_0847                      

Duct work, before and after. 

According to the America Lung Association, the indoor air in an average home is 10 times more polluted than outside air. Instead of treating the root cause of the issue – their home – homeowners purchase high-efficiency filters, allergy medicine and other medications to treat symptoms rather than doing something to eliminate the cause.

Many of the upgrades ASI completed on the showcase home demonstrate how homeowners can address the problem instead of just the symptoms.  It is important to seal or replace older ductwork to keep pollutants and irritants from entering our home’s from the attic, or anywhere else considered outside such as a crawlspace or basement. Doing this potentially frees us from medications and air filters later on.  This is the same great work that Allbritten has done for there home energy makeover.

If the furnace is the heart of the system, ducts are the arteries. No matter how healthy the heart may be its efficiency and effectiveness are limited by the ductwork in the home.

Insulation is important as well of course.   Just like our homes, we need to reduce un-controlled airflow in duct work and add the appropriate levels of insulation to keep the heat out in the summer.

Another part of HVAC we don’t always talk about is the V for ventilation.  We want to control the airflow so we know we are getting enough fresh air and that it is indeed fresh!



More bad duct adventures…

August 2, 2010

We could probably host a 24/7 blog highlighting nothing but poor duct work.  Again, from the all-too-common leaky duct category, is the following.  Your standard cloth duct tape may be good for holding together ankles and boots, but it doesn’t work for keeping ducts sealed–and it certainly isn’t intended to hold them together.  Would you rather cool your bedroom or your attic?

This doesn’t even look as sound as the cardboard cobble job.  Just use whatever you have on the truck…

Of course, we weren’t expecting much finding this creative installation–the furnace attached to the above masterpiece.

Caveat emptor.  [Thanks, John, for another round of beauties.]


More of what ducts should NOT look like

June 17, 2010

The previous poor duct examples of the last couple of days are unfortunately not as isolated as we would like.  And that’s what we often see duct leakage rates of 30% or higher–that 30% of the air that you’ve paid to heat or cool making it’s way outside.  Not very energy-efficient even is you have a 95 AFUE furnace or an 18 SEER AC.  You can good ductwork, sized properly, with smooth transitions, well sealed, and especially if outside your home’s envelope, properly insulated.

Dave Stecher and Duncan Prahl of IBACOS–a company that does research into how buildings work and helps builders and contractors do a better job doing the right thing–forwarded these doozies.  I won’t show you the whole house’s ducts, just a representative example:

Here’s a planned floor joist, hopefully (ah, hope spring eternal with shoddy building practices) directing air to a register.  Using joist and stud bays as duct work isn’t a good idea to begin with, even if done “well”.  These cavities are difficult to seal making leakage a problem.  And they’re not conducive to good air flow.  But picture this sheet metal filling the space (before it was peeled back), and you’ll get the picture of what it looks like.

Now, even when using sheet metal to block air flow, we find leaks at the wood intersections.  How well do you think sweaters and t-shirts work?  That’s what was stuffed on the back side!

Yes, a sweater and a t-shirt.  Not your standard building materials.  But I guess they were handy and installation probably only took a few seconds.  At the right are the articles of clothing.  I’m wondering if someone has a photo of a leg from a pair of blue jeans used as a duct run.  I’ve also got some old shoes and a bike helmet–any ideas how I can make them part of my HVAC system?

The fixed transition here gives you a better idea what the transition should look like.  The duct, transition, and boot are all directly connected and sealed.  We typically use mastic to seal, but the foil tape here looks like it is the proper type of duct tape (not the cloth stuff). 

And you’re much more likely to actually get the right amount of air delivered from your register.  (Not the actual register pictured here–but one from the same house.)

You can take the lowest bid or you can insist that the job gets done right.  The two often don’t happen together.  And if the job isn’t done right, you’ll usually pay more in the long run pumping your conditioned air outside.  Which approach do you prefer?


DIY Ductwork

June 15, 2010

As a follow-on to yesterday’s post about the DIY furnace horror story, John Scipione, a Senior Advisor in our Syracuse office, forwarded a shot of a furnace he ran across during an audit.  Many people know (and many more do not!) that your garden variety duct tape is good for lots of things, but not sealing ducts.  In this picture, sure enough, we can see some failing duct tape.  😉   That, however, is only part of the problem on this do-it-yourself duct job.  But at least this homeowner did find something to do with those old moving boxes!  And I do confess to a certain admiration for that can-do ingenuity.  Nonetheless, this example is not a good illustration of the fast road to energy-efficiency and a well performing home.

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