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  1. #1
    Matt Hyland's Avatar
    Matt Hyland Guest

    Default New Construction Rooftop PVC exhaust termination dispute

    Hey all, first timer here. I'm about to purchase a new-construction condo/apartment in Chicago. We have exclusive roof rights, which is also where the AC condensers and several feed/exhaust tubes are located.

    Our inspector said that the PVC pipes shown should be terminated with elbows and screens (due to birds, debris, etc.), but our seller is saying that cold weather and other factors require only FEEDs to be terminated with an elbow. EXHAUST pipes would clog in the snow and ice supposedly, if an elbow is added.

    Still, it seems really strange to leave these pipes pointing straight up, and allow bees, birds, leaves, water, and whatever else to collect?

    Should we push back? We'll be looking into contractors for a deck as well, so I especially don't want to complicate the issue with future vendors if this is something we need to address now...

    I've read that if we add our own PVC termination, it could void the warranty on the HVAC unit (or god forbid, compromise the roof in some way). Ive found this product, which seems to claim to fix this very issue, but I don't know enough about HVAC units to know if it's suitable? (https://savepipey.net/index.html)

    Also: what about the other condo units?? I don't want to fix our problem and leave my downstairs neighbors to the elements...

    Any help or advice is hugely appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Matt
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
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    Default Re: New Construction Rooftop PVC exhaust termination dispute

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Hyland View Post
    Hey all, first timer here. I'm about to purchase a new-construction condo/apartment in Chicago. We have exclusive roof rights, which is also where the AC condensers and several feed/exhaust tubes are located.

    Our inspector said that the PVC pipes shown should be terminated with elbows and screens (due to birds, debris, etc.), but our seller is saying that cold weather and other factors require only FEEDs to be terminated with an elbow. EXHAUST pipes would clog in the snow and ice supposedly, if an elbow is added.

    Still, it seems really strange to leave these pipes pointing straight up, and allow bees, birds, leaves, water, and whatever else to collect?

    Should we push back? We'll be looking into contractors for a deck as well, so I especially don't want to complicate the issue with future vendors if this is something we need to address now...

    I've read that if we add our own PVC termination, it could void the warranty on the HVAC unit (or god forbid, compromise the roof in some way). Ive found this product, which seems to claim to fix this very issue, but I don't know enough about HVAC units to know if it's suitable? (https://savepipey.net/index.html)

    Also: what about the other condo units?? I don't want to fix our problem and leave my downstairs neighbors to the elements...

    Any help or advice is hugely appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Matt
    IMG_4718.jpeg
    IMG_4714.jpeg
    IMG_4713.jpeg
    IMG_3878.jpeg
    IMG_3879.jpeg
    Matt,

    Being from California, I do not have much experience with snow, so someone from your neck of the woods will probably chime in. In my area, exhaust typically points straight up or horizontally out an exterior wall. While I agree that this is counter-intuitive, the exhaust pipe should have a drain attached to it at or adjacent to the furnace which would be able to handle any precipitation that is likely to enter it.

    My understanding is that the moisture in the exhaust can freeze when it hits the cold exterior air. I do know that horizontal exhaust pipes must drain back to the furnace rather than to the exterior because of the freeze issue, so it does seem reasonable that the installation that you currently have is correct.

    However, in the meanwhile, the manufacturer's installation instruction book should have been left with the home, generally near the furnace itself. You could check through there to see what the manufacturer says.

    "Bring out yer dead"
    "I'm not dead yet!"
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    27,286

    Default Re: New Construction Rooftop PVC exhaust termination dispute

    I am curious about some different aspects of what you said (and, like Gunnar, not being from Chicago ... means what I say may not apply, but it is logical presumptions and questions):

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Hyland View Post
    We have exclusive roof rights, which is also where the AC condensers and several feed/exhaust tubes are located.
    "Exclusive roof top rights"

    Still, it seems really strange to leave these pipes pointing straight up, and allow bees, birds, leaves, water, and whatever else to collect?
    Some look like plumbing vents through the roof, and those should be left straight up and open.

    Also: what about the other condo units?? I don't want to fix our problem and leave my downstairs neighbors to the elements...
    Which leads to my main questions:

    Are those condenser units for the air conditioning systems all yours (your systems) or does each unit have one for their systems?

    If not all your condenser units, then how do your "exclusive toof top rights" address the other units maintenance of their condenser units? Their exhaust and intake stacks and vents?

    Do you really want "exclusive roof top rights" with all those exhausts discharging to the area you would be using for whatever you may use the roof top for?

    What restrictions do you have on what you do no the roof top? Whatever you do on that roof top will affect the roof of the entire structure below, it isn't 'your roof to do as you please' and you could easily damage the roof covering ... and end up having to pay for its repair yourself.

    Which leads me to - that roof covering is not designed or intended for any use other than as weather protection. It is not designed for you to walk around on. and even servicing the condenser units may require walkways placed on that roof covering so it does not become damaged by service people.

    Those "exclusive roof top rights" could end up costing you a lot if you do anything 'up on the roof top' ... not to mention the other things I raised to be pondered.

    Just pondering some ponderables ...

    ... while waiting for our Chicago inspectors to reply.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
    Matt Hyland's Avatar
    Matt Hyland Guest

    Default Re: New Construction Rooftop PVC exhaust termination dispute

    Thank you for the responses guys. I'll be checking the installation book of our HVAC unit the next chance I get. A couple brief answers/details:

    "exclusive roof rights" is a simplification of a weird designation used in Condo buying, and since we are in an "association" with the other two units, improvements and superficial changes and whatnot that are exterior of our unit generally require the other tenants being agreeable at an HOA meeting. We also "own" a parking space and storage space in the building, for example, but it's designated with some strange legalese because the building as a whole is co-owned by the other two units. We're new to this, though, so I'm still figuring this stuff out.

    We basically can't do work that would negatively impact the property value or condition of the building, must hire proper bonded and insured contractors, etc etc etc.. It's highly restrictive in a lot of ways compared to owning an actual house, but helps protect me from a hypothetical dirtbag neighbor ruining my property value by going crazy with slapdash changes or "improvements" that ruin the other units.

    We have exclusive rights to occupy/use/build out/whatever the roof area, which is cool, but means an extra burden/risk of making sure we don't mess up the roof or building in some way. Hence wanting to make sure we understand these venting tubes!!

    We'll be adding a full deck at some point, for example, both to protect the roof membrane and to make it usable space, per whatever limitations the contractors help us identify (proper weight distribution, weight limit, material choices, etc.). The caveat is that if the roof needs replacing in 10 years, or those AC units need servicing, we'll have to allow for that however is necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I am curious about some different aspects of what you said (and, like Gunnar, not being from Chicago ... means what I say may not apply, but it is logical presumptions and questions):



    "Exclusive roof top rights"



    Some look like plumbing vents through the roof, and those should be left straight up and open.



    Which leads to my main questions:

    Are those condenser units for the air conditioning systems all yours (your systems) or does each unit have one for their systems?

    If not all your condenser units, then how do your "exclusive toof top rights" address the other units maintenance of their condenser units? Their exhaust and intake stacks and vents?

    Do you really want "exclusive roof top rights" with all those exhausts discharging to the area you would be using for whatever you may use the roof top for?

    What restrictions do you have on what you do no the roof top? Whatever you do on that roof top will affect the roof of the entire structure below, it isn't 'your roof to do as you please' and you could easily damage the roof covering ... and end up having to pay for its repair yourself.

    Which leads me to - that roof covering is not designed or intended for any use other than as weather protection. It is not designed for you to walk around on. and even servicing the condenser units may require walkways placed on that roof covering so it does not become damaged by service people.

    Those "exclusive roof top rights" could end up costing you a lot if you do anything 'up on the roof top' ... not to mention the other things I raised to be pondered.

    Just pondering some ponderables ...

    ... while waiting for our Chicago inspectors to reply.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    1,304

    Default Re: New Construction Rooftop PVC exhaust termination dispute

    Our inspector said that the PVC pipes shown should be terminated with elbows and screens (due to birds, debris, etc.), but our seller is saying that cold weather and other factors require only FEEDs to be terminated with an elbow. EXHAUST pipes would clog in the snow and ice supposedly, if an elbow is added.

    The normal set up for a Cat IV furnace or boiler is as the seller states, the exhaust points straight up and the intake can have an elbow and screen of proper size. Each manufacturer is a little different, so I usually look at the installation instructions, but so far all have wanted the exhaust straight up if venting vertically. At that height, you should be good for snow accumulation.

    The heat system is gas forced air, correct?

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

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