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Do I need to have this redone? Should I? Attic Installation LG Low Static Ducted Heat Pump




Should I try to have this redone? Unconditioned, vented attic Installation of LG Low Static Ducted Heat Pump

I have two areas of concern. One is the impact of excessive crimping/smushing on air flow. That’s what I thought when I saw it, because I thought it would look a lot neater. After reading more about it, I learned there is a second concern based on all the contact the ducts are making with different surfaces, which is about condensation.

Reading from the “Support at Intervals for Flex Ducts” https://basc.pnnl.gov/resource-guides/support-intervals-flex-ducts#edit-group-retrofit, it says:

Additions: If new flex duct is added to an existing home, either as part of an addition or an equipment upgrade, ensure that the flex duct is installed in runs that are as short, straight, and direct as possible, and properly support the duct through the use of hangers or stands as noted in the Description tab.

It seems like the air flow restrictions would have consequences on the air handler motor if the external static pressure is too high. I have inquired with the installers about if they did a static pressure test and what the results were.

On the condensation, I am concerned from this: https://basc.pnnl.gov/resource-guides/support-intervals-flex-ducts#edit-group-climate I am not sure anyone worries about it here though in our 5A cool-humid climate. I don't know if it is a problem or not, or how much of a problem it is.

Would you (should I) worry about condensation and moisture problems from having cooling ducts in an unconditioned attic resting on loose fill insulation and crossing over and laying on each other and with crimping around corners? Or is that something people worry about at Building America Solutions, but unnecessarily so?



Comments

  • yellowdog
    yellowdog Member Posts: 137
    I'd be more concerned about all of the insulation that they pushed aside and didn't put back. But its a hack job nonetheless.
    centralMA
  • centralMA
    centralMA Member Posts: 22
    I looked over the ADA Fifth Edition Flexible Duct Performance & Installation Standards. That’s a place where the issues with the layout are really highlighted.
  • centralMA
    centralMA Member Posts: 22
    yellowdog said:

    I'd be more concerned about all of the insulation that they pushed aside and didn't put back. But its a hack job nonetheless.

    Yeah, I was concerned about the insulation not being put back as well.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,677
    That’s too much flex and not installed properly. Safe bet that static pressure is past the maximum 
    centralMA
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,677
    Questionable drain as well
    centralMA
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,878
    And we wonder why forced air and ducted heap pumps get a bad rap. I hope it was cheap.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • centralMA
    centralMA Member Posts: 22
    edited January 26
    Haha :/ Not cheap

    Is it within reason to ask them to redo in accordance with ADC fifth edition standards?
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,677
    You can ask but that should have been read and followed the 1 st time. 
    Have they been paid?
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,296
    The air handler should be hung from the rafters. It should have a auxillary drain pan under it. The ductwork should be all metal duct with flex only used for the branches. The branches should be 6-8" maximum. It's a total mess.
    centralMA
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 1,788
    Let’s see the static test results first. 
    centralMA
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,677
    The ones the installing contractor does or the real ones? o:)
    EdTheHeaterManHot_water_fan
  • centralMA
    centralMA Member Posts: 22
    Yes, they have been paid. Yes I am very curious about the static test results. I'll post them here when I get the data!
    And yes, I too have some concerns about relying on them for the testing but it is what it is.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,677
    Then hire a different contractor and get it verified!
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,433
    A very smart person told me no more than 5 feet of flex duct and it needs to be pulled tight.  No sharp turns either they should be done using elbows.

    5 feet of flex allowed is good for sound attenuation.

    Id want that all redone.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    centralMA
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,296
    The general rule is the flex comes in boxes 25' long. You cut it in 3 pieces so 8' is the maximum length. The corrugation in the flex reduce the air flow
    centralMA
  • centralMA
    centralMA Member Posts: 22
    pecmsg said:

    Then hire a different contractor and get it verified!

    I really liked the idea of a third party static pressure test. However, I realized that the test involves some drilling. That drilling by a third party HVAC company would likely waive my warranty and free the original company from their responsibilities. So I decided against it.
    Thanks for the responses everyone. This feedback is helpful for when I talk to the tech next week and hopefully they take the opportunity to improve the work.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,677
    BS
    No way 2) 1/4” holes can void warranty. You have ever right to have there findings verified!
    centralMAChrisJRPK
  • centralMA
    centralMA Member Posts: 22
    Hi, I thought I'd post an update.

    The Quality Control person from the company came out to the house.

    #1 He identified that the return is too small and needs to be sized up from 10” to 12”.

    #2 They are going to redo the drain piping.

    #3 He agreed the ducts were unnecessarily long and loopy

    He did NOT think that the general design and smooshing/bending was a problem. His reasoning: Some of the insulation is being smooshed but none of the inner cores are being impacted at any point. So at no point are the ducts actually being compressed/restricted from the overlapping or resting on the ground or turns and stuff.

    He does say the runs are a bit tangled and loose and need to be organized better and tighter. He is estimating 2 hours for one technician.

    I think it might be the case that they are not familiar with the low-static requirements (as they should be if installing).

    Because they offered to rework the ductwork, it didn’t make sense to have them test the external static pressure before that.

    I get what you are saying about a third party Static Pressure Test. The thing is, I've talked to 4 different HVAC companies/people and none of them wanted to do the test while under someone else’s warranty (1 year warranty from the install company). They advised me not to do it. So I think I at least need to go through the installation company first, and then if the test is fishy, figure out a third party.

    Is the external static pressure test easy enough to do with this air handler? From looking at information online it seems like the test is done most simply when there is some rigid ductwork off the plenum, which mine doesn’t have. It seems potentially less straightforward on my setup and if the company isn’t used to doing it, they might struggle with it. Just another thing I am anticipating making this situation more complicated.

    The Quality Control guy who came out was pretty comfortable criticizing the work that was done, the installer, and the installer’s manager. That gave me confidence. So I am pretty confident the problem remaining about his lack of concern about the external static pressure would be out of ignorance. That doesn’t mean I still don’t have an issue though. Ignorance now, but could very well turn into denial…

    Before the QC guy left I again expressed my concern about the static pressure and reiterated my desire to have a static pressure test done. He half-heartedly agreed to it saying that he didn't think they would need to because it wouldn’t be a problem after improvements are made. I left it there for the time being.

    I am almost ready to take the improvements they are offering and be done with it. But I figure I should press on. I mean, I don’t want this unit to break down in 5 years instead of 10 or whatever the lifespan should be.

    My plan right now is to write them an email reiterating that I want the external static pressure test done. And why, with screenshots of the product specs and warranty card. And see if I can get in writing a commitment from them to ensure the static pressure is within LGs limits before they can call the job completed.

    e.g. "I’m concerned that if the static pressure is too high, the HVAC system has to work too hard to push the air. The external static pressure test would be a great way to verify there won’t be fan problems down the road. Can we make sure to definitely do the test? I’m concerned about the potential impact on the equipment."

    Thanks for your input folks.
    Sincerely
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,677
    It nice the contractor is addressing it. 
    Post pictures when there done
    EdTheHeaterMancentralMA
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 907
    if your in Massachusetts that installation is wrong. you can't have more than 6"of flex duct from the plenum to the register. a permit should have been pulled. a manual d and manual j should have been submitted to the inspector. r value for unconditioned space is r-8. this is a bad job and should be started over. no drain pan is really an indication that they probably are a hack company. these are they type of installs that necessitated the creation of a sheet metal board and licensing. too many jobs are like this. whether you like the idea of a sheet metal board and lisencing is a different argument .
  • centralMA
    centralMA Member Posts: 22
    Hi, thanks for the feedback.

    Yes, I am in Massachusetts. I have searched for building codes. This is what I found: https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/IRC2015P3/chapter-16-duct-systems

    I do not believe the code gets into allowable flex duct length.

    It does say:
    Duct systems serving heating, cooling and ventilation equipment shall be installed in accordance with the provisions of this section and ACCA Manual D, the appliance manufacturer’s installation instructions or other approved methods.

    I’m not sure if ACCA Manual D specifies maximum flex duct length. I do believe it generally demonstrates a lot of the problems with the install.

    A permit was pulled. I doubt a Manual D was submitted. A Manual J was done. Inspector already approved the work and closed the permit. He was generally not concerned with code or work quality.

    I think it is sitting over a drain pan? Someone pointed out that they left it with loose insulation in it, which could be a problem. They did commit to redoing the draining.

    I actually thought I was hiring the best company I was able to find.
  • RPK
    RPK Member Posts: 97
    You should 100% insist on a static pressure test! Any reputable contractor would measure static pressure as a basic step in startup testing. It is not technically challenging in any way. The instrumentation is not expensive or complicated to use. You could do it yourself if you bought a digital manometer.

    BTW, is there a filter rack somewhere in there and is it properly sized? An incorrectly sized filter could aggravate excessive static pressure issues.
    centralMA
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 907
    Was the inspector blind. i have had town inspectors make other contractors rip out newly installed systems due to incorrect heat gain calculations. never mind shoddy work. blow door test are required. the 6' rule is there. ill find it and show it to you. maybe ill ask my boss where it is as he sits on the state board. It is also a better installation practice
    centralMA
  • centralMA
    centralMA Member Posts: 22
    Thanks for the static pressure thoughts. There is a basic filter in the return grill. I do not believe there is another filter. No one told me there was; I think I even asked about it.

    Thanks pedmec. The Inspector was bad. He himself told me that there is another inspector (retired) that had prior HVAC experience that was a stickler. He made installers redo work if there were issues and put returns in every room. My inspector told me he doesn’t make people follow the code. I showed him all of the code documents and all of the standards (ACCA, ADC, SMACNA) referenced by the code documents that I had printed out. I pointed out aspects of the codes and referenced material and the pictures about how the code said it should be installed. The inspector did not commend me on my interest and enthusiasm for building code, or tell me that the municipality was lucky to have so interested a citizen.

    Based on everything I have read and been told, yes, shorter flex runs certainly (at the very least!) seem to be best practice! The contract states All work will be completed in a workmanlike manner according to standard practices. So that is what I am looking to hold them to. I’m not looking for perfect, just decent/acceptable!

    A long shot, but if there is anyone here who could do a third party evaluation in Central MA or knows someone who would, I would be interested in having that!
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,433
    edited February 14
    centralMA said:

    Thanks for the static pressure thoughts. There is a basic filter in the return grill. I do not believe there is another filter. No one told me there was; I think I even asked about it.

    Thanks pedmec. The Inspector was bad. He himself told me that there is another inspector (retired) that had prior HVAC experience that was a stickler. He made installers redo work if there were issues and put returns in every room. My inspector told me he doesn’t make people follow the code. I showed him all of the code documents and all of the standards (ACCA, ADC, SMACNA) referenced by the code documents that I had printed out. I pointed out aspects of the codes and referenced material and the pictures about how the code said it should be installed. The inspector did not commend me on my interest and enthusiasm for building code, or tell me that the municipality was lucky to have so interested a citizen.

    Based on everything I have read and been told, yes, shorter flex runs certainly (at the very least!) seem to be best practice! The contract states All work will be completed in a workmanlike manner according to standard practices. So that is what I am looking to hold them to. I’m not looking for perfect, just decent/acceptable!

    A long shot, but if there is anyone here who could do a third party evaluation in Central MA or knows someone who would, I would be interested in having that!



    Besides being way too long and sloppy with sharp turns there's a whole lot else going on there.

    For example...





    This is why besides no sharp turns and being kept short it must always be stretched out fully.
    It's not optional.


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    centralMA
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,691
    centralMA said:

    Thanks for the static pressure thoughts. There is a basic filter in the return grill. I do not believe there is another filter. No one told me there was; I think I even asked about it.

    Thanks pedmec. The Inspector was bad. He himself told me that there is another inspector (retired) that had prior HVAC experience that was a stickler. He made installers redo work if there were issues and put returns in every room. My inspector told me he doesn’t make people follow the code. I showed him all of the code documents and all of the standards (ACCA, ADC, SMACNA) referenced by the code documents that I had printed out. I pointed out aspects of the codes and referenced material and the pictures about how the code said it should be installed. The inspector did not commend me on my interest and enthusiasm for building code, or tell me that the municipality was lucky to have so interested a citizen.

    Based on everything I have read and been told, yes, shorter flex runs certainly (at the very least!) seem to be best practice! The contract states All work will be completed in a workmanlike manner according to standard practices. So that is what I am looking to hold them to. I’m not looking for perfect, just decent/acceptable!

    A long shot, but if there is anyone here who could do a third party evaluation in Central MA or knows someone who would, I would be interested in having that!

    People can hate me for this, but I don't care, I'm tired of contractors stealing from homeowners and now inspectors are getting in on the action apparently.

    The inspectors serve at your pleasure, not the contractors doing crap work. This situation is 100% unacceptable. At this point I'd be contacting the town and letting them know your install failed inspection by any reasonable standard and yet their inspector passed it, and admitted to you they do not enforce code. If they do nothing, honestly, I'd be contacting an attorney. You paid for something you did not get. The contractors and inspectors don't own you, as much as they apparently feel they do. Yes that's harsh, but it's obviously justified here. That install is crap.


    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    ethicalpaulGGrossRPKcentralMA
  • worldclasshvac
    worldclasshvac Member Posts: 14
    edited February 16
    Complete hack install.  I see this all the time.  Unit needs to be suspended as the access for most repairs is underneath the unit.  All ducts should be hard piped sheet metal with flex the last few feet to the register box.  Id bet nothing is sealed well or taped/mastic.  This is a slam it in fast and it works were done type of install
    centralMA
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,677
    edited February 16
    Complete hack install.  I see this all the time.  Unit needs to be suspended as the access for most repairs is underneath the unit.  All ducts should be hard piped sheet metal with flex the last few feet to the register box.  Id bet nothing is sealed well or taped/mastic.  This is a slam it in fast and it works were done type of install
    Agreed and I’ll add where’s the line set loop
    centralMA
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 907
    I think its funny that they sent out a quality control guy and he was ok with most of the install. if there was ever a duct job that needed to be ripped out and started from scratch its this one. Honestly though I think you're gonna get the run around. If he didn't think that the flex was an issue then he is just as bad as the installers. He probably trained them.

    I know this sucks but i would ask for your money back and get another company. This company is not going to do you right. They should own this and they are not. The first indication is that they are not going to do the right thing.

    And forget about going after the inspector. In Massachusetts the inspector cannot be held liabel for missing a code violation. it's on the books. i'm sure if you got a good attorney you could get him on some how but if you could go after inspectors in the state you probably wouldn't have any inspectors
    centralMA
  • centralMA
    centralMA Member Posts: 22
    Hi,

    This stinks.

    I think what you all are saying is strongly backed up by authoritative sources and standards.
    At this point, this Friday, they are coming back to do whatever small changes they want to do. I will try to get them to do the static pressure test that day (for an objective measure of at least that concern). If for whatever reason that doesn’t happen, I already have an appointment for them to come back and do the test the following Friday.

    I’ve read up on the external static pressure test so I’m not totally ignorant about it and I’ll be with them when they do it.

    I appreciate the info and advice y’all.