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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Philadelphia PA

    Default No access to evaporator/air handler

    130 year old home with a very cramped "attic" space where they put the high velocity AC evaporator and air handler. This return in the second floor hall ceiling is the only possible access to the equipment, other than cutting a big hole in the ceiling.
    And the crazy part is that there is a forced air furnace, not a boiler, in the basement. Why would they do this instead of using the existing ductwork and adding the evaporator at the furnace??

    attic ac.jpg

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    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Caledon, Ontario

    Default Re: No access to evaporator/air handler

    Likely due to smaller original supply and lack of return air ducts on 2 nd floor. A/C air is heavy and due to undersized ducts the basement heating unit cannot force enough air to second floor.

    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Serving SC & NC

    Default Re: No access to evaporator/air handler

    "R807.1 Attic access. Buildings with combustible ceiling or
    roof construction shall have an attic access opening to attic
    areas that exceed 30 square feet (2.8 m2) and have a vertical
    height of 30 inches (762 mm) or greater. The vertical height
    shall be measured from the top of the ceiling framing members
    to the underside of the roof framing members.

    The rough-framed opening shall not be less than 22 inches
    by 30 inches (559 mm by 762 mm) and shall be located in a
    hallway or other readily accessible location. When located in a
    wall, the opening shall be a minimum of 22 inches wide by 30
    inches high...."

    "M1305.1 Appliance access for inspection service, repair and
    replacement. Appliances shall be accessible for inspection, service,
    repair and replacement without removing permanent construction,
    other appliances, or any other piping or ducts not
    connected to the appliance being inspected, serviced, repaired
    or replaced. A level working space at least 30 inches deep and 30
    inches wide (762 mm by 762 mm) shall be provided in front of
    the control side to service an appliance."


    "M1305.1.3 Appliances in attics. Attics containing appliances
    shall be provided with an opening and a clear and unobstructed
    passageway large enough to allow removal of the largest appliance,
    but not less than 30 inches (762 mm) high and 22 inches
    (559 mm) wide and not more than 20 feet (6096 mm) long measured
    along the centerline of the passageway from the opening
    to the appliance. The passageway shall have continuous solid
    flooring in accordance with Chapter 5 not less than 24 inches
    (610 mm) wide. A level service space at least 30 inches (762
    mm) deep and 30 inches (762 mm) wide shall be present along
    all sides of the appliance where access is required. The clear
    access opening dimensions shall be a minimum of 20 inches by
    30 inches (508 mm by 762 mm), and large enough to allow
    removal of the largest appliance.


    1. The passageway and level service space are not
    required where the appliance can be serviced and
    removed through the required opening.

    2. Where the passageway is unobstructed and not less
    than 6 feet (1829 mm) high and 22 inches (559 mm)
    wide for its entire length, the passageway shall be not
    more than 50 feet (15 250 mm) long.”

    “Code Commentary: There is not always sufficient room for mechanical
    equipment and appliances to be installed in spaces
    such as basements, alcoves, utility rooms and furnace
    rooms. In an effort to save floor space or simplify an installation,
    designers often locate appliances and mechanical
    equipment on roofs, in attics or in similar remote
    locations. Access to appliances and equipment
    could be difficult because of…or the lack of a
    walking surface, such as might occur
    in an attic or similar space with exposed ceiling
    joists. This section requires a suitable access opening,
    passageway and workspace that will allow reasonably
    easy access without endangering the service person
    (see Commentary Figure M1305.1.3). The longer the
    attic passageway, the more the service person will be
    exposed to extreme temperatures and the risk of injury.
    The attic access opening (typically a scuttle) must
    be large enough to allow the largest appliance in the
    attic to pass through such opening. For example, if an
    attic furnace is the largest appliance, the furnace itself
    should be able to be removed from the attic without
    having to disassemble the furnace. Of course, it is understood
    that ducts, plenums, cooling coil cabinets
    and other attachments might have to be disconnected
    from the furnace before removal is possible.

    The first exception allows the passageway and level
    service space to be eliminated if the technician can
    reach the appliance through the access opening without
    having to step into the attic. The second exception
    allows the length of the passageway to be extended to
    50 feet (15 250 mm) if there is at least 6 feet (1829
    mm) of clear headroom for the entire length of the passageway.
    This is allowed because there is less danger
    of lengthy exposure to extreme temperatures if the
    service personnel can walk erect and unimpeded to
    the equipment rather than crawling.”

    Joe Funderburk, CBO, CMI
    Alpha & Omega Home Inspections, LLC
    Serving SC & NC


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