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Job completed for Three Story Condo

Completion date: December 26, 2013

Why did the customer contact us?

Reason for the initial visit: Inability to achieve comfortable temperature on 3rd floor.

This was a very nice, well-maintained three-story condo (no basement) with the furnace on the first floor. Many of the ducts were located in the concrete slab and others had been run through the unconditioned garage to reach the upper floors. The returns were non-ducted wall cavities.

Solutions provided:

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!

Photos & Videos:

Corner gap

Corner gap
Insulation inside coil box

Insulation inside coil box
Poorly installed elbow

Poorly installed elbow
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