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  1. #1
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Moisture Stains around heating vent

    Hello

    I found previous moisture staining around the heating vents of a Condo inspection. This unit is on the top floor of the building. I'm guessing condensation. (See attached photos) Any thoughts?

    Thanks

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Default Re: Moisture Stains around heating vent

    It could be condensation but I would expect dripping at other places on the duct and not just at the register.. Have you ruled out a roof leak? Was it a flat roof? Is there an attic? Roof and plumbing leaks will often manifest themselves in a hole in the ceiling such as duct or light fixture.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Moisture Stains around heating vent

    This is a flat roof 6 story building. I will suggest a roof inspection (under association)

    Thanks


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Moisture Stains around heating vent

    The registers are filthy as are the wall & ceiling surfaces.


    Neither vacuumed nor washed and the first one is closed in its filthy state.
    This hydronic coil air handler chilled water in the summer or forced air with AC?

    The smokers aren't good housekeepers. Both appear to have been wetted from the surface areas and drag collections (filth) not from the roof. The collections and wall/ceiling surfaces indictate neither has been cleaned long before the past extraordinariily long COOLING season.

    I suspect they don't open the windows or run any exhaust fans when they cook or shower either, and likely smoked up a storm with the windows closed and the cooling fan on full blast being on the 6th floor with the extremely hot and long lasting spring-summer-fall season just past.

    The second looks as though someone may have squirted the surface (perhaps a water gun or a sprayer). From the state of things an attempt at cleaning doubtful. May have been an errant cool sparkling beverage being uncorked.

    Either way the filthy state of both pictured, I would NOT be pointing fingers at the roof with out having removed and investigated behind the face of the filthy register covers.

    I can only imagine the state of the air handler.

    P.S. they would be ducts, not vents...and you have pictured what I believe to be (looking through filthy fins at the closed,filthy louvers) floor registers, at least the wrong type registers which have been inappropriately installed on ceiling.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 01-08-2013 at 04:06 PM.

  5. #5
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    Greenville, N.C.
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    Default Re: Moisture Stains around heating vent

    I see this all the time. It is always condensation around a poorly insulated duct boot. The hot attic, the cold air. Dew point gets hit and the iced tea glass effect takes over. Pigs the owners may be. Clogged and dirty the coil may be. But bad duct installation is the villain.

    JLMathis


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Moisture Stains around heating vent

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post

    Neither vacuumed nor washed and the first one is closed in its filthy state.

    Not that it matters, but the first one looks wide open to me.


  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Moisture Stains around heating vent

    Yes. Condensation seems alot more likely than a roof leak. Do you own a moisture meter and did you get a reading on the stains?

    HG, as far as that maybe being a floor register, would a floor register have a handle sticking out and holes for screws? Besides that, what are the differences?


  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Pleasant Hill, Iowa
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    Default Re: Moisture Stains around heating vent

    These are ceiling registers and the condensation is coming from an uninsulated boot like Jeffrey said.

    Dan Hagman
    ProSite Home Inspections
    Des Moines, Iowa

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Moisture Stains around heating vent

    oops I meant the second photo filthy register was closed.HUD (mfg home) floor registers have fasteners (screws) as do wall plate registers, but this is not wall register either. Two different directions closing like double doors poorly meeting for floor not ceiling near outside wall or window or wall near ceiling. Yes some floor registers have a this type handle.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 01-08-2013 at 10:44 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Moisture Stains around heating vent

    Those vents are specifically designed for wall and ceiling use due to the tab.

    Floor registers do not have a tab sticking up for obvious reasons, they have a thumb wheel or slider tab that does not stick up above the floor.


  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Moisture Stains around heating vent

    2&1/2 cents worth. I would go with either/and/or condensation - roof leak.

    Despite Martha Stewarts fixation on house keeping and smoking, the vent is a wall ceiling design not floor. The staining may be accentuated if the occupants smoke. It is also possible that the AC is not pulling out moisture at the coil, what ever the reason. Also you might want to think back about the the presence of a humidifier which could also be the cause.


  12. #12
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Moisture Stains around heating vent

    I have seen this much and more staining from a room where they always have a window open and the door closed to the room while the air runs all day. This is extremely obvious in bathrooms that have no vent to get rid of the moisture from showering and the ac pumping away. It may in fact have the duct work strapped and taped tightly.

    But as all others have said, without further investigation or a more thorough investigation it could be about all that has been mentioned already.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Bolingbrook, IL
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    Default Re: Moisture Stains around heating vent

    Hello

    Thanks to all.

    I did a moisture reading to no avail. The unit has been vacant for awhile.

    And yes there was smoke staining throughout the unit.

    Did I post a picture of a duct or the vent/register connected to the duct.
    Or I may be calling the item by the wrong name.
    Correct me.

    Thanks again


  14. #14
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Moisture Stains around heating vent

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Hagman View Post
    These are ceiling registers and the condensation is coming from an uninsulated boot like Jeffrey said.
    Agreed, two-way ceiling registers, single vane - I do not see the other vane adjacent to the visible vanes which would be necessary to make them opposed vane as Watson was saying they are.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado
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    Default Re: Moisture Stains around heating vent

    Interesting that many of you suspect condensation. My suspicion is a roof leak, probably an old leak since it is currently dry. (I assume that you have had some snow there in Illinois) I frequently see things like this where the stain may be many years old and no one ever bothered to repaint the ceiling.

    Typically, when the HOA is notified of a leak, they fix the roof but it is up to the owner of the condo to do the interior repairs. (That's why condo owners and renters need separate insurance from what the HOA has). Some owners get used to the stain (maybe it's a rental) and never get around to painting.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  16. #16
    David Bell's Avatar
    David Bell Guest

    Default Re: Moisture Stains around heating vent

    Definitly stamped ceiling registers. Condensation would be probable cause. I have seen installers pull back the insulation to cut holes and install boots and never put it back. If flex is attached to the boot the insulation on it does not have the diameter to cover the boot completely leaving it partialy exposed. Also by the condition of the registers, its possible that the evaporator coil had frozen or partialy frozen and moisture could have been blown thru the ductwork. Looks like very little maintenance was performed.


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