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HVAC errors in books, TV, and movies

DanHolohanDanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,077
edited November 17 in THE MAIN WALL
I recently reread The Shining, which is far scarier than the film. The boiler in the Overlook Hotel plays a big role in the story in that (spoiler alert!), it blows up the building at the end of the tale. It's a steam boiler heating radiators and operating at 300 psi. And that makes me nuts. Are there no technical editors to help Mr. King?

Another novel, this one by Lee Child, had Jack Reacher syphoning gasoline out of a tank that was several hundred feet below his vacuum pump. Grrrr.

Got any other examples of HVAC stumbling that you've spotted in books, TV, or films? Love to hear them.
Retired and loving it.
luketheplumber

Comments

  • The Steam WhispererThe Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 576
    The steam boiler in "The Preachers Wife" looks like it was installed with PVC pipe.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,077
    The radiator in Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment is a Clow Gasteam, connected to nothing. 
    Retired and loving it.
    mattmia2Robert O'Brien
  • EdTheHeaterManEdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 1,046
    edited November 17
    My favorite movie... A Christmas Story... The furnace billows soot out of the register in the kitchen... I thought he should have a smoke test for the heat exchanger. All those byproducts of burning coal right in the house.

    But back then they used mercury and asbestos, so what's a little CO added into the mix anyway!

    And it bangs like a steam boiler??? Coal does not go boom and furnaces don't have steam hammering noises.

    There is a better chance of putting your eye out with a BB Gun, then there is of getting that heater working that way.

    It is interesting though... every dumb thing that happened over my entire life happened to that kid in less than a month.
    luketheplumber
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,077
    How about the boiler (furnace?) in Home Alone?
    Retired and loving it.
    luketheplumberSteve Minnich
  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 5,922
    edited November 17
    In an NCIS episode a few yews back, some guys break into their building by posing as HVAC tech's. One of them knocks the power out while working on a RTU and electrocutes himself. When they discover him, they point to the open disconnect switch on the unit and call it a transformer - repeatedly.
    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    kcoppSolid_Fuel_ManSteve Minnich
  • IllinoisfarmerIllinoisfarmer Member Posts: 6
    I've been re-watching 'Hill Street Blues'. The basement roll call room has some sort of heating device on the wall behind and to the side of the blackboard. It appears to be fed from a main coming from above, zig-zags pipe back and forth, then tees back into the same feeder. Found an image.

    I have NO experience with this stuff, but enjoy reading this forum. The family is somewhat concerned that I now point out problems like this.
    kcopp
  • motoguy128motoguy128 Member Posts: 227
    In ALL spy movies, HVAC ductwork is always big enough to crawl through, easily supports a person, doesn’t make noise crawling through it, and return grills are always big enough for a person and are easily removed in seconds with a pocket knife.

    Even better, all underground facilities have big ventilation fans that are 5’ or larger diameter propeller fans. This actually could be partly true in some tunnels of very large parking structures.
    SlamDunkSTEVEusaPAluketheplumberSteve Minnich
  • kcoppkcopp Member Posts: 3,551
    Not HVAC related but when someone in a movie/ tv show sets of 1 sprinkler head.... ALL the heads start raining water.
    STEVEusaPAmattmia2luketheplumber
  • vtfarmervtfarmer Member Posts: 24
    edited November 18
    We have to include the furnace-monster in Home Alone!



    It's part boiler, part gravity octopus furnace, and I think there's actually a radiator lying on its side in it when the grill opens! I looked for a video of that sequence and found something hilarious: a Google commercial with that scene in it:
    luketheplumber
  • RayWohlfarthRayWohlfarth Member Posts: 856
    I was watching a movie and the henchmen wanted to send poisonous gas into the house so they piped it at the outdoor condensing unit. I jumped up and yelled, Hey That won't work,"
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    Click here to take Ray's class.
    Click here to buy Ray's books.
    Solid_Fuel_ManSteve Minnich
  • SlamDunkSlamDunk Member Posts: 910
    edited November 18

    I was watching a movie and the henchmen wanted to send poisonous gas into the house so they piped it at the outdoor condensing unit. I jumped up and yelled, Hey That won't work,"

    My wife gets annoyed when I do that. Like when the nightly news shows restaurants in NYC building tents over their sidewalks for outdoor seating for covid protection. That won't work. One place showed they had intakes and exhaust vents to refresh the air. That's great unless you're sitting next to the exhaust vent.
    I get the eye roll.
  • RayWohlfarthRayWohlfarth Member Posts: 856
    @SlamDunk I get that all the time. I wish they would spend some money and hire an expert. I watched the first episode of Man from Uncle on TV and the hero was handcuffed to a steam pipe. He kicked the pipe until it broke loose. I turned it off Lol
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    Click here to take Ray's class.
    Click here to buy Ray's books.
    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • luketheplumberluketheplumber Member Posts: 101
    Has anyone seen Ted Cook's (aka "Anti DIY HVAC") Cowboys of HVAC show on YouTube?
    he has released 3 episodes at the moment and has quite a few more on the way. I would recommend you all check it out, its just too funny.
    here is the pilot episode.
    17 years old and wants to learn about steam and hot water heating
    Ironman
  • rick in Alaskarick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,118

    In ALL spy movies, HVAC ductwork is always big enough to crawl through, easily supports a person, doesn’t make noise crawling through it, and return grills are always big enough for a person and are easily removed in seconds with a pocket knife.

    Even better, all underground facilities have big ventilation fans that are 5’ or larger diameter propeller fans. This actually could be partly true in some tunnels of very large parking structures.

    Don't forget that the ductwork is always, Spotless! And most of the grills have hinges on them. Makes me cringe.
    Rick
    Steve Minnich
  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,125
    How about the boiler (furnace?) in Home Alone?
    KEVIN! 
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    Erin Holohan Haskellluketheplumber
  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,232

    The radiator in Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment is a Clow Gasteam, connected to nothing. 

    Apropos for a show about nothing! :)
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    Erin Holohan HaskellCanuckerkcoppmattmia2
  • The Steam WhispererThe Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 576
    I especially like the Carrier equipment advertising , IIIRC, that show the furnace PVC exhaust that would blow right at the outdoor condenser.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • ChicagoCooperatorChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 271
    I always enjoy NYC based movies or tv shows where the nosy neighbors are snooping by listening at the gravity heating ducts in massive pre-war apartment buildings - with the register in the middle of the living floors. As we all know.... they got steam heat, sszzzziiiisss
  • SteamCrazySteamCrazy Member Posts: 66
    We can't forget The Burbs Dr. Colpek's giant Boiler ( furnace) lol
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,061
    It's even worse for computer stuff :sweat_smile:
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    CLamb
  • Swamp_YankeeSwamp_Yankee Member Posts: 12
    edited November 20
    I can't believe no one has mentioned the mother of all mechanical room brawls, the final fight scene of Commando!

    First of all the mechanical room of the evil villain's lair (a house on an island) is the size of the Titanic's engine room, black pipe is effortlessly ripped from walls and used as weapons, giant boilers doors are opened willy-nilly in an attempt to force the other guy inside Hansel and Gretel style, the bad guy is briefly electrocuted by what looks like a small high voltage substation (with no lasting effects) and finally, what looks like 4" or so black pipe is pulled off of the wall (nothing comes out of it) and is then hurled through the air, impales the bad guy, and pierces some sort of steam vessel which harmlessly vents off instead of rupturing catastrophically :D
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,077
     :D 
    Retired and loving it.
  • Swamp_YankeeSwamp_Yankee Member Posts: 12
    I thought I had posted the entire fight scene and not just the final seconds.  Here it is in all of it's far fetched absurd glory:

  • kenjohnsonkenjohnson Member Posts: 62
    Nice touch in Cowboys of HVAC where one of the installers has sunglasses on during the attic install.
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 6,123
    edited November 24
    Don't forget Diehard. Vertical ducts that are 20 feet across with a little fan that can be jambed with a rifle at the top.
    One day the good guy will run into a balancing damper and that will be the end.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    ratioCanucker
  • jumperjumper Member Posts: 1,530
    My favorite is the swarm of killer bees flying into a Texas nuke's air intake followed by the nuke exploding.

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