A homeowner contacted us because their new system – installed by another company just one month prior – was not working properly. The customer called Air Comfort Company because the company who had performed the original system installation was
not returning his phone calls. The homeowner found that their new system was unable to keep the temperature at the desired setting and there was more dust coming into his house than with the old system. We found that the problems he was experiencing were not due to any failure of the equipment, but from a substandard installation. The homeowner has selected the previous company based on price alone and was delivered an installation job that was not only keeping the system from running as designed, but was also unsafe.
Below are pictures that explain the issues with the previous installation and how Air Comfort Company corrected the problems.
The before pictures:
1) In an attic installation, placing an emergency drain pan under the evaporator coil is critical. In this case, the emergency drain line was put directly onto the coil. If the coil pan ever cracks or rusts out, all the water will end up on the ceiling, causing damage to the sheetrock.
2) Here we see that a ductboard transition was used to connect the furnace to the return air plenum. Ductboard is a stiff fiberglass board that is cut with a knife and taped together to make transitions and plenums. It is very easy to work with, inexpensive, and does not need additional insulation around it. However, it can be easily damaged and over time tends to fall apart, especially if it gets wet. Air Comfort Company uses sheet metal transitions that are screwed to the equipment preventing these problems. The only time we use any ductboard is when the customer has existing ductboard plenums and does not want to replace them.
Another before picture:
3) This picture shows why the homeowner was unable to maintain the desired temperature in his house. The installer attached the evaporator coil directly to the furnace. Some coils are designed to do just that, but this coil was designed to have a transition between the two, so airflow will go over the entire coil. In this picture, there is as much as 40% of the coil blocked off. The cooling capacity is also reduced by 40% and has no chance of working properly. The coil will also send liquid refrigerant back to the compressor which can cause substantial damage to it.
Here is another before picture:
4) Of all the installation pictures shown, this scenario is the worst. You see here the vent that takes carbon monoxide out of your house. The vent is put together with tape. The vent will get hot when the heater is running and the heat will cause the glue in the tape to melt and eventually the tape will fall off. Vent pipe is designed to lock together, but if two different brands of vent pipe are used they will not lock together unless an adapter is used. Here no adapter were used and this would have soon become a health hazard.
The final before picture.
5) This picture illustrates the problem with ductboard. As you can see, there are already gaps where the ductboard was sealed together. This gap here was sucking in hot attic air and also was the source of all the extra dust in the house. This scenario would force a much more frequent pulling and cleaning of evaporator coils and the blower in addition to running at a greatly reduced efficiency.
6) Here we see the filter rack. The homeowner is expected to change the filter once a month from this location. The filter rack has only two grooves for the filter to be slid into and held in place. There is no cover for the filter access so tape is used again. As a result of the grooves not lining up perfectly with the access and the lack of sturdiness, the filter has to be torn out completely to be changed and the dust it has collected ends up back in the system. The homeowner will have to fight another filter in and tape up the whole thing.
The After Pictures:
7) This is how the vent pipe should look. All the pieces are locked together, no tape anywhere, and the turn in the vent work is well above where anyone can accidentally bump it loose or burn themselves on it.
8) Although hard to see, this is a filter box. It is a sheet metal box that has a hinged door with a thumb screw to hold it shut. It is sturdy and uses filter sizes that are easy to find. The filter slides in and does not allow air to flow around the filter. With this you can change your filter in 30 seconds.
Another after picture:
9) Here is a proper transition. Now the coil is far enough away to allow for proper air flow across the entire coil. It is also made of sheet metal and screwed to the furnace and coil ensuring that it will never come apart. The lines you see on the sheet metal is called crossbreaking. This is done to give the metal more rigidity and keep it from making noise during startup or shutdown when the air pressure changes.
Building a sheet metal transition requires exact measuring, special bending and cutting tools, and a great deal of skill. Ductboard requires a knife and some tape. It is easy to see why a company that has given the lowest price cannot afford to spend the time to build this.
The last after picture:
10) Finally here is our emergency drain pan. This will catch any water that overflows the main pan and safely pipe it to an eave. This is so you will see it dripping outside your house and know you have a problem before it is too late to prevent damage.
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