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  1. #1
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    Default new HVAC techs among us

    I just wanted to thank a few new members who are HVAC techs and otherwise knowledgeable in that field for joining us from the HVAC forum.

    Thank you guys.

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    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  2. #2
    Mr Bill's Avatar
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I just wanted to thank a few new members who are HVAC techs and otherwise knowledgeable in that field for joining us from the HVAC forum.

    Thank you guys.

    .
    Thanks Jerry, it's an honor to be here and be able to share trade info between us folks, I personally think this has been a long time coming and I really think this will be a Blessing to all of us here. Trust me there has been a lot of times I wished I could have come here and posted a question to verify something a HI wrote up on a job and to see if he was within his bounds or he was going off the deep end, Jerry the feeling is mutual and may this be a beginning of a great relationship between all trades.


  3. #3
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Ditto
    The more the merrier.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Thanks for the nice welcome, one thing about information is that it's a two way street.

    All involved in this will learn something.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  5. #5
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Hey Mr. Bill and David... Welcome.

    I welcome the feed back and opportunity for advancing the profession as it relates to your field. One of the previous statements was right (on the HVAC forum)... there are absolutely some yaa-hoos doing inspections. But, by and large, the ones who spend their time advancing their knowledge and building good networking relationships to draw from others experiences and tradesmen, are the ones/type you will find on this board and GENERALLY other boards like it.

    Just as there are with every profession, there are those in the inspection community who think the public is there for the fleecing and look at becoming an inspector as an opportunity to make whatever they can and as fast as they can. Those bastards have a short life in this business and generally, those of us who can... help expedite that process.

    With your help, we can all better service the folks who entrust us with their families well-being.

    Glad to have you aboard and look forward to your contributions.

    Richard Rushing


  6. #6
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Greetings, new members. I come in peace. Though I make every effort to always provide a worthwhile and comprehensive Inspection report, I have come to accept that I will never know as much as the better specialists know. So I'm really looking forward to the benefit of your collective expertise.

    Until I get my HVAC license, I will continue to include the following in every report. It's there even when my Inspection has determined that the system will need replacement. If you see errors, or ommissions, or needed additions please let me know. It is exactly as it appears on each report, to include bold and underline.
    .................................................. .............................................
    IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT HVAC INSPECTIONS:
    You must be aware that all facets of this inspection are based upon visual observations. There are a number of important aspects of HVAC inspections that this inspection will not reveal. It requires a licensed HVAC specialist to determine weather the unit is correctly sized for the house. Correct sizing is a calculated value, not a subjective opinion. Further, routing of ducts and correct sizing of return air and distribution air are calculated items. Inspections of heat exchangers, internal wiring, and A/C evaporator coils remain the responsibility of licensed HVAC professionals.
    You will receive as much information as is possible from me today. However, for a complete evaluation of the system and an opinion concerning continued performance, the opinion of a licensed HVAC specialist is always recommended. This opinion should be based upon his/her actual inspection and service, not from an estimate given concerning specific deficiencies this report may reveal.
    .................................................. .................................................. ....................
    As we all welcome you we would also welcome specialists from every discipline. We HI's sincerely try not to discriminate. We also "get on the last nerves" of plumbers, electricians, appliance repair persons, siding installers, structural engineers.... you get the point. To that purpose, help us to help ourselves by recommending this site to the best of each of these professionals in your respective areas.

    The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
    - Paul Fix

  7. #7
    Chris Ethridge's Avatar
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    [quote=Thom Walker;4620]It's there even when my Inspection has determined that the system will need replacement...

    How do HI's determine when a system needs replaced?
    .................................................. .................................................. .................


  8. #8
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Great to have you all here. Now, what would the proper distance be between a return and supply register installed in a bedroom ceiling.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Some systems are so obvious that no special knowledge is needed. Severe corrosion of key components leaps to mind. Visible fungus and or mold throughout the system might call for replacement. I might think about it where exposed and deteriorated asbestos ducts are visible.

    I suppose by some stretch of the imagination, all defects could be repaired. But it seems intuitive that when repair of the deficiencies would equal or exceed the cost of a replacement unit, replacement is justified. And it seems intuitive that when the housing for the condensing unit is so badly rusted that the cooling fins are sitting on the pad (or the ground) that replacement might be called for.

    Some systems are so badly installed that they present serious risks to the structures, and most important, to its occupants. The ONLY option is replacement. Perhaps the equipment can be saved, but installation has to start again at square one.

    Because I ALWAYS use the statement attached in the last post, most of the time my Clients do have a licensed HVAC person verify (or potentially refute) what I have said when issues are significant. And most of the time they, not the seller, pay the guy. I suggest that they do it that way and I offer to reimburse them if the HVAC licensee determines that I have exaggerated my findings and is willing to put it in writing. The only caveat to that offer is that they not use the company that has been servicing the system for the current owner. So far, I haven't had any reimbursement requests.

    I'm working on ten years in this business and had 24 years experience in the restoration of older homes before starting this business. The oldest was 1870. So I have a certain level of confidence regarding when I recommend replacement rather than repairs of most components of a home.

    The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
    - Paul Fix

  10. #10
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Thom,

    Your buddy above (Chris) was throwing some of the same stones your direction on another thread...
    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...i-bashing.html

    Rich


  11. #11
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Thank you for the warm welcome.

    Hopefully bridges haven't yet been burnt, or will be burnt between the HI's and us HVAC guys. Like everything in the world there are those who speak before thinking and get everyone all worked into a frenzy.

    I personally tend to look at things from a different angle (backwards and upside down) so I can be ready to answer any question that arises. Sometime I succeed others I fail, I am only human.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Welcome to Inspection News. I'm a regular reader here, and I hope I'll be learning a great deal from your comments.

    My first question: from the HVAC tech's perspective, how should a HI write a recommendation for an annual inspection to insure that all safety concerns are addressed?

    For example, here in Chicago it's not uncommon for HIs to find obvious venting issues (rusted thorough, sections not properly connected, vent loose at the connection to the chimney, damper inoperative, etc.) on a furnace on boiler with several years of "yearly service" (sometimes by more than one company) noted on the service tag.

    I very much doubt all these techs were incompetent or careless - it looks to me like they just did not consider inspection of the vent piping within the scope of their "annual inspection". (And it may not have helped that the homeowner or management company was probably looking for the lowest price for the work).

    As a HI I don't like to write a recommendation for an inspection that may not correct (or at least identify) such problems, but I also don't want to find myself in the position of telling HVAC techs (who generally know more than I do about the system) "how to do their job" - especially if it's not completely clear what I'm recommending.

    So what I'm looking for is some boiler-plate comprehensive enough so that the inspection will cover the system from the union on the gas line to the vent's connection to the chimney, written in "HAVC-techease" so that it's clear what I'm recommending, and in a style that more likely to elicit cooperation than annoyance.

    So I'm wondering, if you were trying to explain to a HVAC tech just starting on the job what such an inspection should include, how would you put it?


  13. #13
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    Great to have you all here. Now, what would the proper distance be between a return and supply register installed in a bedroom ceiling.
    Are you looking for anything specific that states a required distance or opinions?

    Was there a complaint about this particular install?

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  14. #14
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post

    So what I'm looking for is some boiler-plate comprehensive enough so that the inspection will cover the system from the union on the gas line to the vent's connection to the chimney, written in "HAVC-techease" so that it's clear what I'm recommending, and in a style that more likely to elicit cooperation than annoyance.

    So I'm wondering, if you were trying to explain to a HVAC tech just starting on the job what such an inspection should include, how would you put it?
    Well we don't see hardly any boilers in KY on the residential side but what I would recommend for any fuel burning appliance is a good thorough combustion test along with draft testing.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  15. #15
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    Question Re: new HVAC techs among us

    I'm Glad you HVAC guy's are here. I know just enough to get me in trouble
    So far so good, when I write something up you guys don't have a problem with it.
    I would like to know though is what exactly you guys look at when you do a yearly contract?
    I have on numerous times seen systems that have been just serviced with rusted through flues, leaking ducts, Blocked condensation pipes where it was running out of the bottom, etc. Not trying to be a butt just curious of the routine. I know there are drive by techs just like inspectors.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  16. #16
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schulz View Post
    I'm Glad you HVAC guy's are here. I know just enough to get me in trouble
    So far so good, when I write something up you guys don't have a problem with it.
    I would like to know though is what exactly you guys look at when you do a yearly contract?
    I have on numerous times seen systems that have been just serviced with rusted through flues, leaking ducts, Blocked condensation pipes where it was running out of the bottom, etc. Not trying to be a butt just curious of the routine. I know there are drive by techs just like inspectors.

    We are in the same boat Mike I know just enough to get myself in trouble as well.

    I know what you are talking about with the blow & go PM contracts being performed by some companies, most times it is due to the fact that no type of checklist is being utilized.

    Funny you should mention flues being rusted most times the combustion side is completely ignored as there is very little training available on it.

    The usual school of thought is blue flames, no cracks in the heat exchanger & smoke goes up the draft hood all is good to go.
    I wish it were that simple.

    There are different levels that can be gone over on a PM but many basics should be covered, we also try to include the duct system in our PM's as this is a huge source of work for us.
    Correcting duct system deficiencies that is.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  17. #17
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    Great to have you all here. Now, what would the proper distance be between a return and supply register installed in a bedroom ceiling.
    Don't know about any distance but I sure would at least have swapped them around if we would have done the job. I would have the supply over the fan and the return over there were the supply is now. I am guessing they have some sort of "media filter system" "Air Bear etc." at the furnace because I do not see a filter at the room return looks like a stamp face grille.


  18. #18
    Chris Ethridge's Avatar
    Chris Ethridge Guest

    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    yes i get wond up a little, and i dont know how to type. i relly look forwrd to talking with yall about hvac issues. sorry for the attitude. i hope this website will help me understand HIs train of thought better. i really do. i have a long way to go with everything in life including my attitude so if you will help me with that i will be more than happy to share my humble knowledge with anyone who wants to listen. again sorry for the attitude


  19. #19
    Bob Stark's Avatar
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Chris, I for one am always willing to listen when someone genuinely cares enough to want to teach.

    Bob


  20. #20
    Chris Ethridge's Avatar
    Chris Ethridge Guest

    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Stark View Post
    Chris, I for one am always willing to listen when someone genuinely cares enough to want to teach.

    Bob
    now that i have trveled this website a little i am starting to under stand yor job. I WANT TO THANK YALL FOR HUMBLING ME. i also would like to learn from here. thanks again. you guys may see something that you learned in school that i would never know without the internet and this website. i didnt go to school i learned from my dad. my first two years doing service i lost money for him but 2006 i grossed 240,000. 86000 was profit. and like most dads iguess he pays me 15 bucks an hour. but all these customers will be mine one day. anyways thanks again


  21. #21
    John S.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schulz View Post
    I'm Glad you HVAC guy's are here. I know just enough to get me in trouble
    So far so good, when I write something up you guys don't have a problem with it.
    I would like to know though is what exactly you guys look at when you do a yearly contract?
    I have on numerous times seen systems that have been just serviced with rusted through flues, leaking ducts, Blocked condensation pipes where it was running out of the bottom, etc. Not trying to be a butt just curious of the routine. I know there are drive by techs just like inspectors.
    Well I cannot speak for all of the HVAC guys out there, but my company has a "full service" check that we do for our bi-annual service. We do a visual inspection of the AHU (all components looking for signs of deterioration, heat, moisture, excessive dirt build-up, etc.), we check the venting and exposed ducts (for leaks, corrosion, and any other damage), we check the gas pressure entering and exiting the gas valve (gas only of course ), we check the amp draw of all motors and the entire system, we do a combustion analysis of the system to ensure proper efficiency, change the filters, we check the "delta T" to ensure proper airflow, and then we scrutinize anything that doesn't meet specs. We do the same thing in the spring for the AC side of the system (visual inspection, amp draw, "delta T", refrigerant pressures etc. etc.

    That is how we service systems for our customers. Hope that helps you.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by John S. View Post
    Well I cannot speak for all of the HVAC guys out there, but my company has a "full service" check that we do for our bi-annual service. We do a visual inspection of the AHU (all components looking for signs of deterioration, heat, moisture, excessive dirt build-up, etc.).... That is how we service systems for our customers. Hope that helps you.

    That's the sort of inspection / maintenance that I hope will be provided when I recommend service by an HVAC tech based on the visual observation of some defect (such as a rusted through vent pipe or a leak at a circulating pump) that leads me to suspect that it's possible that there are other problems present that are beyond the scope of my inspection.

    The problem for HIs (well, for me, anyway) is how to specify it in such a way that I don't tick the tech off by "Telling me how to do my job:..".

    Is there some written "industry standard" I can reference when recommending such service - what I really want to be able to do is recommend service per "best practice" as defined by your industry.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Well I cannot speak for all of the HVAC guys out there, but my company has a "full service" check that we do for our bi-annual service. We do a visual inspection of the AHU (all components looking for signs of deterioration, heat, moisture, excessive dirt build-up, etc.), we check the venting and exposed ducts (for leaks, corrosion, and any other damage), we check the gas pressure entering and exiting the gas valve (gas only of course ), we check the amp draw of all motors and the entire system, we do a combustion analysis of the system to ensure proper efficiency, change the filters, we check the "delta T" to ensure proper airflow, and then we scrutinize anything that doesn't meet specs. We do the same thing in the spring for the AC side of the system (visual inspection, amp draw, "delta T", refrigerant pressures etc. etc.
    Please move to NC.......We need you!

    Chris, Hold the shift key when you start a sentence and when your posting in the upper right corner there is a spell check. Hope that helps.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  24. #24
    Chris Ethridge's Avatar
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schulz View Post
    Please move to NC.......We need you!

    Chris, Hold the shift key when you start a sentence and when your posting in the upper right corner there is a spell check. Hope that helps.
    mike you are a jerk so i cant type big deal. lets talk about something that matters and not insult.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Chris,
    I was trying to help you not knock you. I did not learn to type till I was in my mid 30's. Didn't have to until I started inspecting.
    So chill dude

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  26. #26
    Mr Bill's Avatar
    Mr Bill Guest

    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schulz View Post
    Chris,
    I was trying to help you not knock you. I did not learn to type till I was in my mid 30's. Didn't have to until I started inspecting.
    So chill dude


    That is what I thought that you were trying to help him but man he lost it and I did not want to say
    anything until you cleared that up Mike, wow maybe it was some bad coffee this morning.


  27. #27
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    Wink Re: new HVAC techs among us

    It's funny how post can be misinterpreted. Chris is still young and full of testosterone and will mellow through the years. At least some of us do!

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  28. #28
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    Lightbulb Re: new HVAC techs among us

    By the way. All you new HVAC people. This is a new forum and we all are still getting use to it. The old forum was retired and that is why it looks like everyone joined this year. FYI

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  29. #29
    Chris Ethridge's Avatar
    Chris Ethridge Guest

    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    i know about the shift button i just cant do it fast like i want to. but you are right i talk without thinking first. my dad said thats may only downfall is that im a hot head when it comes to hos. try doing 300 new houses a year where the hos allready hate the builder and then i get it too. i get aggrivated. i need help with that. i dont know how to tolerate them. i void warranties for them changing batteries in the t stat. shoot after being here i like hi's better than ho's


  30. #30
    Tim Moreira's Avatar
    Tim Moreira Guest

    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    what's a hos ???????????




  31. #31
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Moreira View Post
    what's a hos ???????????

    Home owners.

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

  32. #32
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Ethridge View Post
    i get aggrivated. i need help with that.
    Chris,

    I can help ...

    Hold the shift key down, count 1 - 2 - 3 , then release the shift key.

    Repeat in 10 minutes.

    Repeat 5 minutes later.

    Repeat 2 minutes later.

    Repeat 1 minute later.

    See? The shift key is not your enemy.

    Now, though, for those homeowners ... ... never mind.

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

  33. #33
    Mr Bill's Avatar
    Mr Bill Guest

    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Home owners.

    HOS but what does the s stand for?


  34. #34
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bill View Post
    HOS but what does the s stand for?
    home ownerS



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

  35. #35
    Vince Santos's Avatar
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Thom Walker View Post

    Some systems are so badly installed that they present serious risks to the structures, and most important, to its occupants.

    Kind of like this beauty I found a few years ago.


    Welcome to the forum Thom and others.

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  36. #36
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    I was in a HVAC supply house this morning where a tech was basically telling me that inspectors have no purpose.
    He said that buyers should call a HVAC tech, a plumber and an electrician to inspect their house.

    Strange, that the 2nd time I've heard that exact thing in a month, I wonder if someone is promoting this.

    Anyway, I'd would also like to welcome the HVAC folks to the board.

    As a 15 year vet of the HVAC industry, I now have 7 years as a home inspector.
    I used to think that inspectors were idiots. When I first got into this biz I thought my HVAC experience was sure to help me put a dent in the market.
    That was not, so after I studied and learned the SOP (standards of practice) and the purpose for such standards.
    I have not once used my gages on a home inspection and I rarely pull any panels.
    Other contractors do not understand why we note some of the things we do. Like the one service call that paved the way for me to become a HI.
    I responded to a call at the request of the home inspector. The call was simple, I pulled out a dirty filter and pressed the reset button on the heat pump. I wondered why in the hell did the HI not do this himself, what an idiot.
    It wasn't until later I realized that any repair he made, even pushing a reset button was beyond the scope of the inspection.
    Had he pressed that button he may have assumed it was Ok. There may have been other issues that caused the switch to trip.
    He may have known it was the filter, but made a good call having a pro come out and check freon level, evap coil, etc.....
    There are a lot of good professionals out there but there are enough idiots in every field to keep us all busy ( inspectors included).


  37. #37
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    welcome hvac guys!


    I was wondering if you guy's could let me know which brands recommend in the installation manual to pipe the secondary cabinet port vs leaving it plugged up.

    (Many guy's confuse the secondary port with the safety pan pipe. I am referring to the actual secondary port on the air handler cabinet.)

    I know most (or all) codes do not specifically state anything about the secondary port. I do know that some manuf's recommend that the port not be left with the plug in it.

    About half of new construction around here (nc and sc) has the plug still in the secondary port. (It should at least be piped to drain into the safety pan.)

    Its there to prevent excess water in the cabinet in the event of the primary clogging. This excess water will result in excess humidity in the house and moldy ducts.

    So, back to my question, which brands require it to be piped?


  38. #38
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Mr. Bill, John S., David R, Chris,

    What he is describing is just what was in the photo I posted on the HVAC website, because it is so common.

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

  39. #39
    Mr Bill's Avatar
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    welcome hvac guys!
    So, back to my question, which brands require it to be piped?
    I don't really know if there is any brands that require this because if you do pipe it down into the overflow pan being "most "all air handlers are negative air pressure in the coil box it could cause the primary to not drain properly. To be honest with you I never see an air handler piped from the secondary, it usually just has a big pan under it to catch the water in case of overflow, and the overflow pan has a float switch and it is piped outside usually over a window.
    Now on a vertical application in a closet you are require to put a float switch in the primary pan "if" the air handler is on an upper floor, we found out the hard way on this when we did a small 14 unit apartment renovation and 7 units were upstairs and the city inspector made us go back and install float switches in the upper units primary pans.
    I have a vertical gas application in my home with the coil on top of the furnace and the only drain I have is the primary, if my primary pan stops up well the floor below the furnace deck in the return air chase will let you know trust me it's happed to me once.
    I guess I could pipe my secondary into the same 2.5 " drain pipe my primary goes into just to lazy I guess but then I would never know if the primary was stopped up.


  40. #40
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Bruce K.

    Does this look similar to what you've been seeing.

    I think the secret is if you leave the secondary drain capped off, the condensate backs up after the primary gets blocked and then the evaporator coil box rusts out in a few years. The customer sees your HVAC sticker on the equipment and BAMM, big fat service repair check to the company.

    Its just easier I quess to blame the poor homeowner for allowing that primary getting blocked and the condensate backing up into the unit.

    Sounds like a ATM to me.

    Why not just take out the plug and let the evaporator coil box drain as it should?

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  41. #41
    Mr Bill's Avatar
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Bruce K.
    Why not just take out the plug and let the evaporator coil box drain as it should?


    And I agree with you but you don't know how many home owners go up into the attic an say, man I have a bunch of air leaking from my coil out this little hole can you come and cap it off for me or should we tape it off, trust me I have heard this 100's of times in my 30 years. Really on a positive pressure coil application like the one in the picture if you plug the secondary it will push the water out better through the primary line and keep it from setting in the pan longer, but yep your right when it does get stopped up well the water sits in the pan until someone addresses the problem causing the pan to rust, but most if not all of the new style pans are ABS or some equivalent type material.
    Another problem I saw in your picture is there is no pvc cap on the T stub up on the primary drain line thats not good.


  42. #42
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bill View Post
    And I agree with you but you don't know how many home owners go up into the attic an say, man I have a bunch of air leaking from my coil out this little hole can you come and cap it off for me or should we tape it off, trust me I have heard this 100's of times in my 30 years.
    Most, if not all, codes and manufacturer's installation instructions specifically state that the secondary must have a drain to ... (of the choices given, the auxiliary drain pan like in the photo is one) ... and that the secondary drain line must be trapped.

    That trapped secondary drain line will no longer allow air to escape (positive pressure AHU) or draw air in (negative pressure AHU).

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

  43. #43
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Most, if not all, codes and manufacturer's installation instructions specifically state that the secondary must have a drain to ... (of the choices given, the auxiliary drain pan like in the photo is one) ... and that the secondary drain line must be trapped.

    That trapped secondary drain line will no longer allow air to escape (positive pressure AHU) or draw air in (negative pressure AHU).

    That only works if the secondary trap is kept primed.

    My idea is to trap the secondary and prime with mineral oil or similar product. When the primary clogs the secondary will push water out the secondary past the oil just like it should, but the air leakage is stopped.
    I also have a pet peeve when the vent the drain on the wrong side of the trap, might as well just cap it off since the trap will siphon dry and the vent will always leak conditioned air.
    I think we have established the energy codes do not allow air leakage in the unconditioned space, but 9 out of 10 attic units have substantial air loss at the unit.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  44. #44
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    I think that's (what Jim described) stuck out in my mind first... was the vent being on the wrong side of the trap. All it does is cause air loss.



    Mr Bill said: "have a vertical gas application in my home with the coil on top of the furnace and the only drain I have is the primary, if my primary pan stops up well the floor below the furnace deck in the return air chase will let you know trust me it's happed to me once.
    I guess I could pipe my secondary into the same 2.5 " drain pipe my primary goes into just to lazy I guess but then I would never know if the primary was stopped up."


    Yep...me too. Same configuration and same previous issue. It's like a baby with poo it it's pants. You don't know what happened until this big spot and stink appears.

    RR


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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    I know we hook up the secondary & trap it putting a clean out tee above the trap.
    I have caught our guys in the past plugging the secondary drain & had to instruct them to do it differently.
    I don't want to pay for any water damage personally.

    Like you guys I always get a kick out of seeing the vent tee on the wrong side of the trap, kind of defeats the purpose.

    What we have been doing recently is not piping the secondary from the equipment but putting a float switch in the secondary drain.
    If the primary drain plugs it trips the float switch & kills the compressor.

    We still put pans piped to the outside under the equipment just in case of a freeze up or anything else that might occur.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    DavidR - That sounds like an excellent arrangement, could you come to Dallas and school some of our guys?

    Jim Luttrall
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    Dallas, Texas

  47. #47
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR View Post
    We still put pans piped to the outside under the equipment just in case of a freeze up or anything else that might occur.


    And we do also on all Horz. jobs but putting a trap on the secondary on an air handler has caused me many headaches in the past, because being a negative pressure it "will" pull from the secondary if not capped, code or no code unless you do it like one of the other posted said maybe pour some mineral oil in the secondary trap you "will" eventually have issues on the primary on a Air handler trust me been there done that tons of times.


  48. #48
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bill View Post
    And we do also on all Horz. jobs but putting a trap on the secondary on an air handler has caused me many headaches in the past, because being a negative pressure it "will" pull from the secondary if not capped, code or no code unless you do it like one of the other posted said maybe pour some mineral oil in the secondary trap you "will" eventually have issues on the primary on a Air handler trust me been there done that tons of times.

    That's exactly why we went to the float on the secondary Bill, unless they are a PM customer I have no way of ensuring that second trap remains primed.

    The mineral oil is a great idea BTW!

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  49. #49
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR View Post
    I have caught our guys in the past plugging the secondary drain & had to instruct them to do it differently.
    I don't want to pay for any water damage personally.
    What we have been doing recently is not piping the secondary from the equipment but putting a float switch in the secondary drain.
    If the primary drain plugs it trips the float switch & kills the compressor.

    We still put pans piped to the outside under the equipment just in case of a freeze up or anything else that might occur.
    Why not, then, just drain the secondary condensate line to the auxiliary drain pan you install and put the shut off switch there?

    Installed as you stated above, overflowing condensate soaks the inside of the AHU, ruining the insulation inside it, starting it to rust out, etc.

    Draining the secondary condensate opening to the auxiliary pan not only solves the problems you stated, it also solves the problem of flooding the AHU with water during an overflow. Now you have the best of both worlds.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  50. #50
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    I think it's just a preference for me that I don't want any water in the pan ever if I can help it.

    I am still undecided on the wet switches that are available have heard too many horror stories on them.
    With that being said I have not put any of them in only the floats to date.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  51. #51
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR View Post
    I am still undecided on the wet switches that are available have heard too many horror stories on them.
    With that being said I have not put any of them in only the floats to date.
    You know those you use in the secondary opening where you should not use them? They fit perfectly into the fitting draining from the auxiliary pan.

    'Course, though, that means water will get into the auxiliary drain pan, but then, isn't that what it's designed for?

    Unlike the AHU, which is not designed to be flooded with water.

    Maybe I'll be able to convert you yet, you are soooo clllooooose.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  52. #52
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Why not, then, just drain the secondary condensate line to the auxiliary drain pan you install and put the shut off switch there?


    Jerry I think were missing each other here your right that is the exactly way in the "real world" it should be done, but on a "negative" air pressure coil box or "Air Handler" the air will pull through the secondary drain line "if" left open without some kind of trap filled with mineral oil as one poster said, and if that happens it will not drain out the primary this is a fact you will have drain problems in the near future trust me.


  53. #53
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    You know those you use in the secondary opening where you should not use them? They fit perfectly into the fitting draining from the auxiliary pan.

    'Course, though, that means water will get into the auxiliary drain pan, but then, isn't that what it's designed for?

    Unlike the AHU, which is not designed to be flooded with water.

    Maybe I'll be able to convert you yet, you are soooo clllooooose.
    I don't intend on packing a wet/dry vac into an attic to suck the water out of the auxiliary pan.

    I like to stop it before it gets there.

    Main drain stops up starts to fill up main pan then hits the secondary & trips float shutting off the outside unit.

    No water in the equipment, no water in the auxiliary pan, no packing a wet/dry vac into a 120 attic.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  54. #54
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR View Post
    I don't intend on packing a wet/dry vac into an attic to suck the water out of the auxiliary pan.

    I like to stop it before it gets there.

    Main drain stops up starts to fill up main pan then hits the secondary & trips float shutting off the outside unit.

    No water in the equipment, no water in the auxiliary pan, no packing a wet/dry vac into a 120 attic.

    But.... Isn't that what the secondary pan drain line over a window is for? The homeowner will know, if properly educated, that once they see water dripping over their window, they have a problem.


    The only time you will need that wet vac is when the whole thing is SNAFU


  55. #55
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR View Post
    I don't intend on packing a wet/dry vac into an attic to suck the water out of the auxiliary pan.

    I like to stop it before it gets there.

    Main drain stops up starts to fill up main pan then hits the secondary & trips float shutting off the outside unit.

    No water in the equipment, no water in the auxiliary pan, no packing a wet/dry vac into a 120 attic.
    Unless ... the unit froze up.

    Now you have a mess on your hands and you will need to pack that wet/dry vac into the attic ... AND ... now you have to replace that soaked and ruined insulation in the air handler ... AND ... dry the air handler out before it starts to rust ... which, course, it has already done because you were not called out immediately.

    I am aware of the problems with the traps in the secondary drain lines, however, the manufacturers also tell you to install them, in fact, they tell you to install the secondary drain line too (as does the code).

    As inspectors (home inspector or code inspectors) we can only put the onus back on to the manufacturer - the ones who designed the units and built them, not onto an HVAC tech who may, or may not, still be in business next month, let alone next year.

    You, as the HVAC tech, has that option, because you say to yourself 'if this does not work, I'll figure something else out' ... to HIs, the manufacturer 'already has it figured out'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  56. #56
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    And they do freeze up don't they Jerry?

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  57. #57
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Well now we are going on a tangent to froze up coils, I thought the secondary drain was our discussion.

    I don't want water in the auxiliary pan even to where an HO can see it. It is my third line of defense if all else fails.
    If the system trips the float the equipment shuts down & they see the trouble light lit up on their stat, they know they have a problem.
    Most don't pay attention to the drains unless they are in an obvious spot like a garage.


    If coils freezing up is a main concern I could always place a freezestat in the same circuit as the float switch.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  58. #58
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Not a tangent, Jerry just mentioned a froze up coil and this one I ran across recently. Just throwing out a pic.


  59. #59
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR View Post
    Well now we are going on a tangent to froze up coils, I thought the secondary drain was our discussion.
    Nope, not a tangent.

    Two simultaneous conditions - it happens, sh*it happens - and BOTH must be accounted for.

    Primary drain is clogged.

    Secondary drain opening is plugged with shut off switch.

    Where does the water go when the ice melts?

    Hint: water runs downhill

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

  60. #60
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Going off on a tangent?? HERE???? Never happens!!!!

    Rick,
    That's the beer fridge


  61. #61
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Freezestat was new to me

    Freezestat for frozen air conditioning coils

    I've never seen one, probably because I didn't know what to look for. This is why it's great to have some HVAC people here.

    I've had the coils freeze up at rental units (low refrigerant), but never had this option suggested to me. Can (how can) this be installed so as alert the occupants to the problem rather than just cycle the system?


  62. #62
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Thanks for the post, Michael. If I see one of these, I'll immediately know to defer to a licensed HVAC specialist, irrespective of what the outcome of my visual inspection "reveals."

    I wonder if Honeywell has been sucked into any of the mold suits over this little beauty?

    The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
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  63. #63
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Nope, not a tangent.

    Two simultaneous conditions - it happens, sh*it happens - and BOTH must be accounted for.

    Primary drain is clogged.

    Secondary drain opening is plugged with shut off switch.

    Where does the water go when the ice melts?

    Hint: water runs downhill
    This situation is not possible unless the float switch were to fail closed, if the primary is clogged the secondary float switch kills the outside unit.

    No compressor running, no freeze up.

    Last edited by DavidR; 05-12-2007 at 08:56 AM.
    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  64. #64
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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Freezestat was new to me

    Freezestat for frozen air conditioning coils

    I've never seen one, probably because I didn't know what to look for. This is why it's great to have some HVAC people here.

    I've had the coils freeze up at rental units (low refrigerant), but never had this option suggested to me. Can (how can) this be installed so as alert the occupants to the problem rather than just cycle the system?

    They are pretty simple to install, all it is is a switch that opens when the temperature hits approximately 32.

    You can wire this type of switch in with a float switch or any other type of safety that is normally closed & tie it into a lock out relay.

    If the safety trips it sends a signal to an L terminal on the thermostat telling you there is a problem & shuts the equipment down till reset.

    You can also hook it into the Y circuit but this will continue to reset when the switch hits above it's setpoint.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

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    Default Re: new HVAC techs among us

    David R,

    Are you saying I should not call for an HVAC evaluation of the system if I see one of these? My logic was that this is an advertised "cheapest fix" solution to one of two possible causes for coil freeze up. My concern is that when this is installed the blower motor is still too small and or the ducts are still in need of repair. Their own advertising leads me to think this should have been called THE MASK.

    I'm glad you HVAC guys are here. You've really upped the level of quality information.

    The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
    - Paul Fix

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