Recent Jobs For PMC Energy Services

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Stuffy Upstairs in Pittsford Home
Pittsford, NY
September 25, 2014
After making some minor repairs – a few poorly hung ducts, we first sealed her supply side duct work, reducing leakage by 92% to ~1.5% of furnace blower capacity. Note the chart below which depicts air temperatures exiting some of her supply registers. Originally, the difference between the living room register and her (2nd floor) bedroom registers average 17 oF; after sealing, the difference was less than 8 oF. The return system – mostly panned floor joists or wall cavities – was incredibly leaky, so much so that we could barely build any pressure within the system despite plugging all registers and isolating the furnace. (This was not too surprising, as there was no measureable flow from any of her 2nd floor return registers during our earlier inspection.) Due to some sealing machine technical difficulties (coupled with the excessive initial leakage), we had to return the following day to finish the job. Initially, we were able to cut the leakage by more than 50%. At that point, there was enough back pressure that we were able to identify a major leak in the basement – some panned-joist channels were improperly constructed and were leaking through a large hole directly into the basement, i.e. during normal operation, almost all of the return air was being drawn from the unconditioned basement. After repairing that, we resumed Aerosealing and reduced the leakage by more than half again. In total, the return duct leakage was reduced by ~90%, quite remarkable given the nature of its construction. Now some of her 2nd floor return registers are drawing air from her upstairs as intended. Unfortunately, but not uncommonly (as wall cavity channels are sometimes blocked – unintentionally – during construction or renovation) a couple of bedroom return registers still drew very little. When we checked in a few weeks later, our client reported that the temperatures on her 1st and 2nd floor are now the same! (We’ll check back again after her first heating season to determine the effect on her energy bills.)
1200-square-foot Fairport Townhouse with Hot & Stuffy 2nd floor
Fairport, NY
July 1, 2014
His townhouse, originally heated by electric baseboard, had been retrofitted with a forced-air furnace and air-conditioning system years ago. The upstairs – two bedrooms and a bathroom – never seemed to get its fair share of air flow. It was immediately evident to us during our assessment that he had more than one opportunity: The canvas boot between the furnace / AC coil and the plenum was leaking significantly. When the basement was finished to create a third bedroom, a supply register was installed which was getting more than its fair share of air conditioning – with the thermostat controlling to the first floor temperature, the basement was clearly too cool during the summer / cooling season. No return registers were installed on the second floor when the furnace was added. In combination with the typically closed bedroom doors (to keep the house pets out) and no gap between the carpet and the bottom of the doors, supply air to those rooms would gradually build up back pressure and further slow the fresh air flow. (We were able to verify this with our flow meter.) The seams of those ducts that were accessible in the basement had been manually sealed with duct tape. We instructed the homeowner to remove the tape before we came back to Aeroseal® his ducts. In a few years, after the duct tape began to lose its adhesiveness, those seams would become leaky once again if the tape were not removed to allow the aerosol to reach and seal those areas. After replacing the leaky canvas boot, sealing major leaks manually, and then Aerosealing the entire duct system to ~1% leakage, the air flow velocities at the supply registers on the 1st and 2nd floors increased by an average of 75%. By permanently plugging the basement supply register, the velocities at the 2nd floor registers were increased even further… to a total (average) of >130%. Our client could immediately feel the difference when he entered those second-floor bedrooms. We suggested that those bedroom doors be undercut (or louvered) to alleviate the pressure build-up and further improve circulation if the doors could not be routinely left open. In less than six hours, we were able to significantly improve the air flow and the comfort level throughout his home. Undoubtedly, he’ll be enjoying lower heating and cooling bills for years to come as well.
60-year-old Cape Cod with Cold 2nd floor
June 2, 2014
Aerosealing reduced his supply duct system to 1% leakage and his return system leakage from 67% to 6%. (Commonly, returns that are comprised of panned joists and wall cavities, as opposed to fully metal ducted, leak 60% or more.) Both systems were now very tight. We checked back with the homeowner within a week. He reported that while the air seemed cleaner the temperature stratification still existed – “The cold room seems as if it will remain the cold room”. This got us to thinking more about his heating system. During our initial assessment, we noted that the furnace temperature was quite high – 15-20 degrees above normal – and it could not be easily reduced. Maybe the resulting high temperatures at the first floor supply registers (near the thermostat) were causing such a short heating cycle that the air temperature exiting the upstairs supply registers was still rising when the thermostat shut off the furnace. So we offered to come back, take some measurements to verify our hypothesis, and attempt to damp the ducts feeding the first floor supply registers and (now that the duct system was tight) force more heated air to the upstairs registers. Exactly as we suspected and as the solid lines in the graph below depicts, the heating cycle, i.e. the time that furnace was heating, was brief – a mere 3 minutes – and the air temperature at the upstairs supply registers was no where near steady state when the furnace turned off. Using our flow meter to measure the air speed at each first floor supply register, we damped the duct feeding it until the air speed was cut in half. Now when the furnace turns on, the air temperature at the upstairs registers – dashed line circles in the graph – rise much faster and the cycle extends well beyond 3 minutes. Now the upstairs is receiving much more of the furnace heat and temperatures throughout the house are more uniform. No more cold winter nights in the 60-year-old Cape Cod.
Owner Meticulously Sealed His Own Ducts
April 5, 2014
Prior to our arrival, he had meticulously metal-taped most of the seams of the ductwork in the basement in an attempt to reduce the room-to-room temperature differences in the house. Despite this, the two second-floor bedrooms on the side of the house furthest from the furnace – his daughters’ rooms – were generally 5 degrees below the house thermostat setting of 68F – a classic symptom of leaky ducts. Not surprisingly, our initial pressure test indicated one of the lowest levels of leakage prior to Aerosealing that we’ve yet encounter – ~200cfm. Despite that, it still amounted to 17% of the furnace blower capacity. Given that it was below our threshold of 20% leakage, we gave the client the option to abort the process and owe us nothing; he chose to continue… “You’re all set up; let’s do this!” It took only 30 minutes of spray time to seal the supply subsystem and further reduce leakage to 1% of the 1200cfm furnace blower capacity. In retrospect, we wish the homeowner had reached out to us sooner. We may have been able to provide him a better, longer-lasting solution if he had not metal-taped the duct work in advance of our sealing. An Aeroseal sealing will far outlast metal tape for effectiveness – Aeroseal is guaranteed for 10 years and has been shown to maintain its effectiveness to 20 years. By taping most of the seams, the Aeroseal polymer will not deposit and seal those seams as there will be no air flow through them during the spray process. Consequently, when the metal tape begins to fail due to constant expansion and contraction of the duct work from regular heating and cooling, leakage at those seams will increase over time. DON’T TAPE BEFORE AEROSEALING!
Three Story Condo
December 26, 2013
The plenum was poorly constructed with large – two-finger – gaps at the corners and the supply taps were not properly tied in, resulting in large gaps at the connections. Insulation inside the coil box was loose and partially blocking air flow. The furnace was sitting atop a wooden platform that had several large and gaping holes, yet was serving as the return plenum. The holes not only created major inefficiencies in return air circulation, but could potentially have drawn in combustion gases creating a health & safety issue. The rigid insulated supply duct in the garage had several tears or punctures and one poorly constructed elbow connection, collectively resulting in significant leakage. The outside wall of the garage was block and there were large gaps between it and the drywall above it, enabling the furnace to draw return air from the garage, setting up another potential safety issue. From the register openings, we could see pipes and wires running through the returns and large gaps between drywall and the studs. Before we applied Aeroseal, the leaks around the plenums were sealed with foam and caulk, the holes in the duct running through the garage were taped and the elbow re-constructed, and most of the holes in the returns that were reachable from the register openings were patched. Despite these measures, leakage was still substantial; Aerosealing the supplies took longer than is typical (probably due to small leaks in the insulated duct in the garage) but leakage was reduced from 340 to 40 cfm. The return system was crazy with leakage, so much so that we had to trick the Aeroseal machine by measuring pressure in the injection tube connecting the machine to the plenum; after 75 minutes of Aeroseal, leakage was reduced to ~280cfm. The tenant reported that the first night after sealing – a rather chilly autumn evening – there was so much more heat reaching the third floor that she had to turn the thermostat down and turn the space heater that she’d been using to compensate off completely. Despite a very challenging duct system, we had a very satisfied customer!
Two Story 1,200 sf house
Rochester, NY
December 9, 2013
A survey of register temperatures and flows also suggested significant leakage. One of the three return registers had no measurable air flow… attributable (upon further inspection from the basement) to a rather large gap between the duct and the floor opening. Of the supply register temperatures measured, one (in one of the three upstairs bedrooms) was significantly lower than the rest. However, the entrances to all four rooms on the second floor were within a few feet of each other and the supply registers for each room were only a few feet inside each room; given the close register proximities, we felt that the register temperature discrepancy in the one bedroom would be compensated for by the others provided the doors were usually left open. Since the owners were a married couple with no kids (but plenty of pets) and after discussion with them, we deemed this a reasonable expectation. While we concluded there was significant leakage that could be improved by duct sealing, we recommended that Aerosealing might not be cost effective given the small size of the house and layout of the registers (especially on the second floor). Instead, we recommended that the obvious leaks in the ductwork in the basement be manually repaired – something the homeowners felt they could accomplish themselves. The homeowners expressed their appreciation for our recommendations and that we did not try to sell them a service that might not achieve their primary objective. The result: no job, but very satisfied customers.
2 Storied Home Owner
Ontario, NY
November 30, 2013
Before we pressurized either duct system, we noted that many of the overhead ducts in the basement had not been fastened with screws (as they should have been during installation) and remedied that. When we pre-tested (system pressurized, no sealant injected) the supply system, we immediately felt air leakage blowing on us from the overhead ducts and noticed several fluttering cobwebs; there were several sizable holes at junctions and taps which we caulked to bring the leakage down to 250cfm – still >20% of capacity. Aerosealing took ~20 minutes of spray time, reduced the final leakage in the supply system to 24cfm – a whopping 90% reduction (even after we had manually sealed several large holes), and stopped the fluttering cobwebs. The return system was largely unducted, utilizing the cavities within the walls of the house to draw air from the rooms back to the furnace. This design is inherently fraught with leaks between the drywall and the supporting wooden framing, and from holes in the framing where electrical wires are run… and can be difficult to seal. Initial leakage in the return system was 255 cfm. During the pre-test, we noticed substantial air flow – leakage – around the boots of several of the supply registers – confirmation of just how leaky the return system was. After caulking and foaming around the supply boots, we initiated Aerosealing and, after ~65 minutes, were able to reduce return side leakage to <100 cfm – a 61% reduction. A before-and-after comparison of the supply register temperatures (while the furnace was running) is shown in the plot below. While there was little change in the temperatures of the first floor registers, the second floor register temperatures were increased by an average of 7F, including increases of 15F and 21F in the two registers in the den – the perennially cold room noted by the client. The net effect was to substantially equalize the register temperatures throughout the home.

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