Recent Jobs For PMC Energy Services

Job completed for Stuffy Upstairs in Pittsford Home

Completion date: September 25, 2014

Location: Pittsford, NY

Why did the customer contact us?

Retired from the U.S. Geological Survey, our client was keenly environmentally conscious and very interested in making her home in a quiet Pittsford neighborhood as energy efficient as possible. In addition, she was hoping to resolve the significant temperature difference between the 1st and 2nd floors of her recently purchased 1955 two-story Cape Cod. She had insulation added to her attic, but the temperature difference between floors was still 12 to 15oF (and I could easily feel it as I ascended the stairway to her upstairs during our free initial inspection). Her insulation contractor had suggested duct sealing.

Solutions provided:

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.)

Photos & Videos:

Duct sealing results
Duct sealing results
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