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  1. #1
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    Default My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    I'm at my wit's end. I purchased a home last fall in a very hot part of the country. It was fairly mild at the time of purchase. We had our home inspected by an EMP inspector and by a foundation inpsector. Both gave us a clean bill of home health. Since our purchase, we have had nothing but problems. Our most pressing issue is an HVAC system that neither heats nor cools the house. In the winter our house gets no warmer than 58 deg. In summer, no cooler than 81-82.

    We had two separate HVAC companies look at the system and tell us that the biggest issue is a difference in tonnage from the compressor outside to the blower inside. Compressor is 3 ton, blower is 2 ton. They also said our duct work was a mess and was improperly installed and leaking all over the place. Both said this was a glaring mistake and we should call our inspector. I did. He said no inspectors look at tonnage nor do they look for duct leaks; only to see if the units are functioning.

    So, here I am, looking at thousands of dollars in HVAC costs that I feel like I should have been able to address with the seller at the time of the sale. Am I wrong? I understand caveat emptor but what is the point of inspection if not to vet what the HVAC guys consider an obvious issue.

    Do I have any recourse with the inspector or the seller? The seller is a home remodeler (flipper) with a very good reputation in the community. But based on my home, I find it very hard to believe. We've had so many problems that I have sucked it up and dealt with but this is the last straw.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Smith View Post
    I'm at my wit's end. I purchased a home last fall in a very hot part of the country. It was fairly mild at the time of purchase. We had our home inspected by an EMP inspector and by a foundation inpsector. Both gave us a clean bill of home health. Since our purchase, we have had nothing but problems. Our most pressing issue is an HVAC system that neither heats nor cools the house. In the winter our house gets no warmer than 58 deg. In summer, no cooler than 81-82.

    We had two separate HVAC companies look at the system and tell us that the biggest issue is a difference in tonnage from the compressor outside to the blower inside. Compressor is 3 ton, blower is 2 ton. They also said our duct work was a mess and was improperly installed and leaking all over the place. Both said this was a glaring mistake and we should call our inspector. I did. He said no inspectors look at tonnage nor do they look for duct leaks; only to see if the units are functioning.

    So, here I am, looking at thousands of dollars in HVAC costs that I feel like I should have been able to address with the seller at the time of the sale. Am I wrong? I understand caveat emptor but what is the point of inspection if not to vet what the HVAC guys consider an obvious issue.

    Do I have any recourse with the inspector or the seller? The seller is a home remodeler (flipper) with a very good reputation in the community. But based on my home, I find it very hard to believe. We've had so many problems that I have sucked it up and dealt with but this is the last straw.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.
    What state do you live in?
    What is an EMP inspector?

    Sure you have some recourse, but it all depends on what type of inspections you had, what was inspected, what was not part of the inspection and what if any your states inspection standards say.

    Most basic home inspections do not cover the efficiency of the HVAC systems in a home. Now if the systems are mismatched like you say then a good home inspector should have caught it.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    What state do you live in?
    What is an EMP inspector?

    Sure you have some recourse, but it all depends on what type of inspections you had, what was inspected, what was not part of the inspection and what if any your states inspection standards say.

    Most basic home inspections do not cover the efficiency of the HVAC systems in a home. Now if the systems are mismatched like you say then a good home inspector should have caught it.
    Oklahoma

    EMP = Electrical, Mechanical and Pluming...I believe.

    We had two inspections. Structural and EMP.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Smith View Post
    I'm at my wit's end. I purchased a home last fall in a very hot part of the country. It was fairly mild at the time of purchase. We had our home inspected by an EMP inspector and by a foundation inpsector. Both gave us a clean bill of home health. Since our purchase, we have had nothing but problems. Our most pressing issue is an HVAC system that neither heats nor cools the house. In the winter our house gets no warmer than 58 deg. In summer, no cooler than 81-82.

    We had two separate HVAC companies look at the system and tell us that the biggest issue is a difference in tonnage from the compressor outside to the blower inside. Compressor is 3 ton, blower is 2 ton. They also said our duct work was a mess and was improperly installed and leaking all over the place. Both said this was a glaring mistake and we should call our inspector. I did. He said no inspectors look at tonnage nor do they look for duct leaks; only to see if the units are functioning.

    So, here I am, looking at thousands of dollars in HVAC costs that I feel like I should have been able to address with the seller at the time of the sale. Am I wrong? I understand caveat emptor but what is the point of inspection if not to vet what the HVAC guys consider an obvious issue.

    Do I have any recourse with the inspector or the seller? The seller is a home remodeler (flipper) with a very good reputation in the community. But based on my home, I find it very hard to believe. We've had so many problems that I have sucked it up and dealt with but this is the last straw.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.
    Are these systems heat pumps and how old are they?


  5. #5
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Not heat pumps.

    The compressor is older, maybe 8-10 yrs.

    The furnace/ blower is less than a year old.

    Please forgive any lack of knowledge of terminology.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Smith View Post
    Oklahoma

    EMP = Electrical, Mechanical and Pluming...I believe.

    We had two inspections. Structural and EMP.
    You are in a licensed state and the inspectors do have specific standards they are suppose to follow under state law. You should be able to locate the board that governs home inspectors for more details. My guess is that they do not have to report on the efficiency of the system. This would include how well it cools or heats rooms as this almost impossible to do during a 2-3 hour home inspection.

    How did you locate the inspectors that did your inspections for you? Did your real estate agent set you up with them or did you find them on your own?

    What did the report say about he HVAC system?

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Smith View Post
    Not heat pumps.

    The compressor is older, maybe 8-10 yrs.

    The furnace/ blower is less than a year old.

    Please forgive any lack of knowledge of terminology.
    No problem...so you have a gas furnace with an outside condensing unit for the A/C?


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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    I have always heard of these "clean Bills of Home Health" but I have yet to ever see one or even release one of my own.

    Has anyone else seen one?

    Rick


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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    The proverbial "clean bill of health" on a home inspection means the inspector didn't look/try too hard. I've seen something close to this term on a house a RELO company inspected a few months before me. The buyer had reservations about relying on the RELO report as it only identified 4 items for correction in the entire house. After I got done with my inspection, the RELO report vs. my report made it look like two totally different houses were inspected.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    The proverbial "clean bill of health" on a home inspection means the inspector didn't look/try too hard.
    Read my mind...

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    You are in a licensed state and the inspectors do have specific standards they are suppose to follow under state law. You should be able to locate the board that governs home inspectors for more details. My guess is that they do not have to report on the efficiency of the system. This would include how well it cools or heats rooms as this almost impossible to do during a 2-3 hour home inspection.

    How did you locate the inspectors that did your inspections for you? Did your real estate agent set you up with them or did you find them on your own?

    What did the report say about he HVAC system?
    I'll check with the board to see about standards.

    I understand that they can't check efficiency in a limited about of time but the difference in the tonnage of the units only requires that he look at the units, that is at least according to both HVAC guys that looked at the system.

    I have to wonder what is the point of an inspection if not to find the things like this. I can turn on a furnace and compressor and tell it they are turning and blowing air. I don't need an inspector for that. What I, as a layperson can't tell are things like leaky duct work and mismatched units.

    We moved from out of state to our current city so we relied on our realtor to find the inspectors.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    No problem...so you have a gas furnace with an outside condensing unit for the A/C?
    Yep. That's it exactly. The furnace is in the attic.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    You are in a licensed state and the inspectors do have specific standards they are suppose to follow under state law. You should be able to locate the board that governs home inspectors for more details. My guess is that they do not have to report on the efficiency of the system. This would include how well it cools or heats rooms as this almost impossible to do during a 2-3 hour home inspection.

    How did you locate the inspectors that did your inspections for you? Did your real estate agent set you up with them or did you find them on your own?

    What did the report say about he HVAC system?
    Forgot about the last question.

    It was a checklist that said everything was in working order with the exception of one section of ductwork that wasn't connected. He noted that and that was fixed.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    Read my mind...
    He found a few issues but they were all relatively small. An outlet that wasn't grounded, here, a leak in a sink there.


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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Smith View Post
    He found a few issues but they were all relatively small. An outlet that wasn't grounded, here, a leak in a sink there.
    Did you call him to look at it?

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Smith View Post
    Yep. That's it exactly. The furnace is in the attic.
    Since the heat does not use the outside condensing unit the mismatched system does not matter when you are in heating mode. If you are only getting the house to 58 degrees in the winter you have other problems besides a mismatched system. What is the temperature of the air at the return and leaving the registers when the heat is on? Check all of the registers in the house and see how close the temperature is at each register. A gas furnace should be around 115+ degrees and they should be within 8-10 degrees of each other. You can get a cheap laser thermometer at Home Depot for about $35. This is just some ballpark numbers to get you started. I think you are going to find that some of the registers will have very little or no air coming from them.

    Your turn Ted and Jerry!


  17. #17
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    Did you call him to look at it?
    All of the other issues were addressed when we bought the house. We didn't find out about the HVAC issues until the temperatures got hit extremes.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    Since the heat does not use the outside condensing unit the mismatched system does not matter when you are in heating mode. If you are only getting the house to 58 degrees in the winter you have other problems besides a mismatched system. What is the temperature of the air at the return and leaving the registers when the heat is on? Check all of the registers in the house and see how close the temperature is at each register. A gas furnace should be around 115+ degrees and they should be within 8-10 degrees of each other. You can get a cheap laser thermometer at Home Depot for about $35. This is just some ballpark numbers to get you started. I think you are going to find that some of the registers will have very little or no air coming from them.

    Your turn Ted and Jerry!
    I guess that makes sense about the heat and the mismatched system. I'll try the thermometer. But the thought of cranking up my heater when it's 106 outside makes me cringe. What could explain such an inefficient system? Could leaky ductwork but to blame?


  19. #19
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    I suggest you consider a Home Energy Audit. Flippers rarely address hidden issues such as insulation, draft blocking, etc.

    An older, previously poorly insulated, maintained, drafty home with bypasses would be difficult to cool in the summer (esp. with uninsulated attic duct work and a hot attic) and even more difficult to keep comfortably warm at floor level in the winter (air handler/furnace in the attic - no mention of humidification for FA gas heat either -- dry air doesn't "feel" as warm/comfortable -- warm air RISES - how snow/frost/ice free was your roof?).

    You make no mention of the age of the home, the size/construction type, elevations (multi-story, single story, etc. if upon a slab, crawl space, basement, or post & beam with skirting, attic ventillation, type & color of roof, etc.

    Despite your having mentioned two visits from HVAC companies, you don't make mention if they actually performed any servicing, such as checking refrigerant levels, cleaning the coil, the furnace burners, checking flame, draft, the hx, tuning things up, etc. Cleaning the blower motor, cleaning its fan, cage, contacts, etc. or if you have a two-stage or multi-speed blower fan, etc. Usually there would be a damper or possibly more than one regarding directional air flow, etc. to be changed in position depending on the heating or cooling system, do you have such?

    From the sounds of it, you did not have a complete "home inspection"; however, a home inspection is not an efficiency audit.

    P.S. You also did not make mention as to the details, make, model of the supposed mis-matched split A/C, or any specifications on the furnace/air-handler - efficiency, type, etc.. There are times when the sizing to the layperson, is actually within spec, depending on the overall system. I further suggest that you consult with a HVAC company which is an authorized representative for the equipment you have. In the meantime, acquire the manufacturer's literature, instructions, operator manuals for the equipment that you presently have. Also I would recommend you do the same for the thermostat/control - more often than not a primary issue, especially with "flips" is a mis-matched or mis-wired (jumpered, etc.) replaced thermostat, and/or a dirty/fouled one - fouled/impacted with construction dust/debris during the "flip" process).

    I note your concern seems to be merely with temperature, and no complaints about humidity in the summer, or the length of time or frequency/cycles the compressor is running - or the furnace is firing/cycling in the winter.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 07-12-2011 at 07:36 AM.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Christopher...the reason I said to test with the heat is because it is a simpler system than the A/C. What you doing first is trying to determine if you have air coming all of the registers and that the temperature leaving the registers is pretty close to each other.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    I suggest you consider a Home Energy Audit. Flippers rarely address hidden issues such as insulation, draft blocking, etc.

    An older, previously poorly insulated, maintained, drafty home with bypasses would be difficult to cool in the summer (esp. with uninsulated attic duct work and a hot attic) and even more difficult to keep comfortably warm at floor level in the winter (air handler/furnace in the attic - no mention of humidification for FA gas heat either -- dry air doesn't "feel" as warm/comfortable -- warm air RISES - how snow/frost/ice free was your roof?).

    You make no mention of the age of the home, the size/construction type, elevations (multi-story, single story, etc. if upon a slab, crawl space, basement, or post & beam with skirting, attic ventillation, type & color of roof, etc.

    Despite your having mentioned two visits from HVAC companies, you don't make mention if they actually performed any servicing, such as checking refrigerant levels, cleaning the coil, the furnace burners, checking flame, draft, the hx, tuning things up, etc. Cleaning the blower motor, cleaning its fan, cage, contacts, etc. or if you have a two-stage or multi-speed blower fan, etc. Usually there would be a damper or possibly more than one regarding directional air flow, etc. to be changed in position depending on the heating or cooling system, do you have such?

    From the sounds of it, you did not have a complete "home inspection"; however, a home inspection is not an efficiency audit.

    P.S. You also did not make mention as to the details, make, model of the supposed mis-matched split A/C, or any specifications on the furnace/air-handler - efficiency, type, etc.. There are times when the sizing to the layperson, is actually within spec, depending on the overall system. I further suggest that you consult with a HVAC company which is an authorized representative for the equipment you have. In the meantime, acquire the manufacturer's literature, instructions, operator manuals for the equipment that you presently have. Also I would recommend you do the same for the thermostat/control - more often than not a primary issue, especially with "flips" is a mis-matched or mis-wired (jumpered, etc.) replaced thermostat, and/or a dirty/fouled one - fouled/impacted with construction dust/debris during the "flip" process).

    I note your concern seems to be merely with temperature, and no complaints about humidity in the summer, or the length of time or frequency/cycles the compressor is running - or the furnace is firing/cycling in the winter.
    Mr. Watson,

    I'll try to address as much of this as I can.

    First, it is an older house. Built in '38. Single story, 1300 sq. ft. The duct work is insulated, but has leaks. It has a crawl space and there is proper attic ventilation. The roof is dark gray. Some of the insulation has fallen from the rafters in the attic but is mostly intact.

    Both HVAC companies checked everything including the coil, refrigerant, burners, etc. System was cleaned. A new thermostat was installed.

    Humidity doesn't seem to be an issue. The compressor runs constantly. If I set the thermostat at 72, the compressor never shuts off because even at night the house will not cool below 76 degrees and reaches as high as 82 during the afternoon. Same goes for winter. When it's cold the house will not heat above 60 degrees.

    As I understood from both HVAC guys, the issue is that not enough cool or hot air is coming out of the vents. The air is plenty cool in the summer and plenty warm in the winter. There is just not enough to properly affect the temperature of the house.

    Sorry, I'm not at home right now so I don't have the models of the units.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    Christopher...the reason I said to test with the heat is because it is a simpler system than the A/C. What you doing first is trying to determine if you have air coming all of the registers and that the temperature leaving the registers is pretty close to each other.
    I'll try this. I can confirm that air is coming out of all of the registers, but I don't know the temperature. It seems that the flow of air could be the problem. Many rooms, it is just a trickle of air.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Smith View Post
    I'll try this. I can confirm that air is coming out of all of the registers, but I don't know the temperature. It seems that the flow of air could be the problem. Many rooms, it is just a trickle of air.
    just call the inspector....if he's a stand up guy he'll come back and re test.

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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Smith View Post
    I'll check with the board to see about standards.

    I understand that they can't check efficiency in a limited about of time but the difference in the tonnage of the units only requires that he look at the units, that is at least according to both HVAC guys that looked at the system.

    I have to wonder what is the point of an inspection if not to find the things like this. I can turn on a furnace and compressor and tell it they are turning and blowing air. I don't need an inspector for that. What I, as a layperson can't tell are things like leaky duct work and mismatched units.

    We moved from out of state to our current city so we relied on our realtor to find the inspectors.
    You bought a house that is 70+ years old. The home inspector had his hands full, believe me, trying to find the major issues.

    Maybe he should have warned you that his inspection could not include a full exam of the HVAC system, and he should then have recommended that you get that system checked out by a heating contractor. It sounds like he ran the furnace, saw that it was operating, then moved on. It may have been too cold to check the AC. His report should have explained that, maybe it does.
    If the ductwork was visibly loose or leaking, I'm surprised no one saw it until the HVAC guys came in. They spent how long checking out the system?

    Sorry, but I get referrals from realtors for out-of-town clients. Did one yesterday. There is no reason to expect miracles from a 3 hour inspection of a 70 year old home. Your problem may well include a lack of insulation which the AC can't make up for.

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  25. #25
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    You bought a house that is 70+ years old. The home inspector had his hands full, believe me, trying to find the major issues.

    Maybe he should have warned you that his inspection could not include a full exam of the HVAC system, and he should then have recommended that you get that system checked out by a heating contractor. It sounds like he ran the furnace, saw that it was operating, then moved on. It may have been too cold to check the AC. His report should have explained that, maybe it does.
    If the ductwork was visibly loose or leaking, I'm surprised no one saw it until the HVAC guys came in. They spent how long checking out the system?

    Sorry, but I get referrals from realtors for out-of-town clients. Did one yesterday. There is no reason to expect miracles from a 3 hour inspection of a 70 year old home. Your problem may well include a lack of insulation which the AC can't make up for.
    I don't expect miracles. I've purchased older homes in the past and I understand there are limitations to what an inspector can find.

    I began to question the process when both HVAC guys, one of which is a close friend, told me the exact same thing and said the problem is fairly obvious and straightforward.


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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Smith View Post
    Mr. Watson,

    I'll try to address as much of this as I can.

    First, it is an older house. Built in '38. Single story, 1300 sq. ft. The duct work is insulated, but has leaks. It has a crawl space and there is proper attic ventilation. The roof is dark gray. Some of the insulation has fallen from the rafters in the attic but is mostly intact.

    .
    Again, repeat, you need a home energy audit, and obvious (and perhaps some less-than-obvious to you) corrections.

    Thermal envelope integrity, sufficient insulation, correction of bypasses, etc.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Smith View Post



    First, it is an older house. Built in '38. Single story, 1300 sq. ft. The duct work is insulated, but has leaks. It has a crawl space and there is proper attic ventilation. The roof is dark gray. Some of the insulation has fallen from the rafters in the attic but is mostly intact.
    Sounds like a poorly insulated home and the HVAC system can't keep up with the temperature extremes. Look into an energy audit.

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  28. #28
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    So, the consensus is that I need an energy audit. Who performs such a thing and what kind of cost am I looking at.

    Also, are all of you guys saying the mismatched size of units is not the cause?


  29. #29
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    The power company in my area of NC does energy audits for free for their customers.


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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    I'll have to go against the grain here. The idea that an HI can't assess the system within a 2-3 hour HI is complete and utter BS. If you can't assess whether the system functions properly within that time frame you need to learn your job better or keep doing checkbox and call it even. If all you are doing is seeing of the unit turns on, then you aren't doing a good enough job for your client.
    - Upon arrival at inspection, go to Stat, document temp on Stat, activate system to either heat or cool 8-10 degrees. Keep an eye on that Stat while doing your normal interior inspection. If the system can't bring the Stat up or down within a reasonable time frame there's a problem. You've just evaluated system performance, not just the usual does the thing turn on or not.
    - I want to see that temp differential within 30-45 minutes max mostly. If it gets it done within an hour, Ok depending on variables. More than an hour, there's issues. (Beyond the wall of south facing glass)
    -Since the problem exists on both the heat and cool sides it is unlikely to be the equipment.
    - The problem is probably either no return air or lousy, undersized flipper ductwork.
    - I suggest you verify return air grilles, where are they, how many, what size, are there clogged filters behind the grille, etc. My guess is there is either only one wild return on the ceiling in a bad spot or in the attic.
    - Verify size of ductwork on both the supply and return sides. Flippers are notorious scumbags for installing 4"-6" round everywhere for everything. No main trunkline, real plenum or no real return box. All of these do not allow for sufficient CFM and can cause your condition.
    - Since you did not mention that the coil is freezing up, I'm going to guess either massive air loss into the attic or no return. Same condition on both sides, its a duct or return air issue.
    - Next guy you call, ask him if he does Manual J & D load calcs. Not that you necessarily need one but it helps weed out the morons. If he doesn't know what that is tell him to hit the road.
    - As far as the mismatched sizing, one ton is a bit much of a difference. 1/2 ton you can get by with.
    Good luck

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
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  31. #31
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    What is the BTU output of the furnace? Like others have said, the mismatched tonnage should have nothing to do with the lack of heat in the winter. Does anything change if the return air filter is removed? Has the fan speed been changed at all to see if that makes a difference?

    What type of furnace is it? Gas furnace - is it a newer variable speed model?

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  32. #32
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    I'll have to go against the grain here. The idea that an HI can't assess the system within a 2-3 hour HI is complete and utter BS. If you can't assess whether the system functions properly within that time frame you need to learn your job better or keep doing checkbox and call it even. If all you are doing is seeing of the unit turns on, then you aren't doing a good enough job for your client.
    - Upon arrival at inspection, go to Stat, document temp on Stat, activate system to either heat or cool 8-10 degrees. Keep an eye on that Stat while doing your normal interior inspection. If the system can't bring the Stat up or down within a reasonable time frame there's a problem. You've just evaluated system performance, not just the usual does the thing turn on or not.
    - I want to see that temp differential within 30-45 minutes max mostly. If it gets it done within an hour, Ok depending on variables. More than an hour, there's issues. (Beyond the wall of south facing glass)
    -Since the problem exists on both the heat and cool sides it is unlikely to be the equipment.
    - The problem is probably either no return air or lousy, undersized flipper ductwork.
    - I suggest you verify return air grilles, where are they, how many, what size, are there clogged filters behind the grille, etc. My guess is there is either only one wild return on the ceiling in a bad spot or in the attic.
    - Verify size of ductwork on both the supply and return sides. Flippers are notorious scumbags for installing 4"-6" round everywhere for everything. No main trunkline, real plenum or no real return box. All of these do not allow for sufficient CFM and can cause your condition.
    - Since you did not mention that the coil is freezing up, I'm going to guess either massive air loss into the attic or no return. Same condition on both sides, its a duct or return air issue.
    - Next guy you call, ask him if he does Manual J & D load calcs. Not that you necessarily need one but it helps weed out the morons. If he doesn't know what that is tell him to hit the road.
    - As far as the mismatched sizing, one ton is a bit much of a difference. 1/2 ton you can get by with.
    Good luck
    I'm feeling like the inspection was lacking to be sure but I don't know if I have any recourse.

    As for the latter part, I'll try to address that next.

    Most of the ductwork feeding the supply is 6", the return is much, much larger.

    There is only one return and it is in the ceiling in a hallway at the back of the house.

    I removed the filter for a day to see if it would make a difference but it didn't change anything.


  33. #33
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    What is the BTU output of the furnace? Like others have said, the mismatched tonnage should have nothing to do with the lack of heat in the winter. Does anything change if the return air filter is removed? Has the fan speed been changed at all to see if that makes a difference?

    What type of furnace is it? Gas furnace - is it a newer variable speed model?
    Gas furnace. I'll need to check BTU and variable speed.

    Nothing changes when the air filter is removed.


  34. #34
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    You got the inspectors from your agent so the chance they were lacking in skill is greater rather than less. Before we go too far in bashing the HI and the inspection you received, it is important to note that we don't even know whether the inspector was a real HI or not or licensed.
    One return in the back hallway doesn't cut it. Does not allow for sufficient air circulation/movement. If you aren't sucking sufficient air out of the space and running it through the system, it won't matter how much you pump into the space. The space won't get to the desired temp.
    - install 1-2 more centrally located returns. Have plenum and main trunkline sizes confirmed and improved.
    These items are NOT things an HI can typically verify or comment on.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  35. #35
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Based on the OK Rules and Regulations references below, I dont think you can go after the inspector. How about the previous owner. If it was that bad they had to have known

    Construction Industries Board - Rules and Regulations
    (D) The inspector is not required to:
    (i) verify sizing or component matching; or,
    (ii) operate equipment when outdoor temperatures may cause damage to the equipment.


    (3) Heat and air conditioning distribution systems.
    (
    (C) The inspector is not required to:
    (i) inspect electronic air filters, heat reclamation equipment or dampers;
    (ii) determine duct leakage or calculate duct sizing; or,
    (iii) determine the uniformity, adequacy, or distribution balance of the heat or cooling supply to habitable rooms.


  36. #36
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    Based on the OK Rules and Regulations references below, I dont think you can go after the inspector. How about the previous owner. If it was that bad they had to have known

    Construction Industries Board - Rules and Regulations
    (D) The inspector is not required to:
    (i) verify sizing or component matching; or,
    (ii) operate equipment when outdoor temperatures may cause damage to the equipment.


    (3) Heat and air conditioning distribution systems.
    (
    (C) The inspector is not required to:
    (i) inspect electronic air filters, heat reclamation equipment or dampers;
    (ii) determine duct leakage or calculate duct sizing; or,
    (iii) determine the uniformity, adequacy, or distribution balance of the heat or cooling supply to habitable rooms.
    Well, that about sums up my position with the inspector. I guess that point is resolved.

    My plan is to call the seller. He is a remodeler (flipper) with a good reputation for doing top quality work. I will try to appeal to his desire to keep his repuation in tact. Like I said previously, this is one of many issues I've had with the house.

    Thanks for this post.


  37. #37
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    You got the inspectors from your agent so the chance they were lacking in skill is greater rather than less. Before we go too far in bashing the HI and the inspection you received, it is important to note that we don't even know whether the inspector was a real HI or not or licensed.
    One return in the back hallway doesn't cut it. Does not allow for sufficient air circulation/movement. If you aren't sucking sufficient air out of the space and running it through the system, it won't matter how much you pump into the space. The space won't get to the desired temp.
    - install 1-2 more centrally located returns. Have plenum and main trunkline sizes confirmed and improved.
    These items are NOT things an HI can typically verify or comment on.
    I think I'll call back out one of the HVAC guys and discuss the idea of adding a second return. This makes a lot of sense to me. Before I spend thousands on a new furnace I think I'll add a return, get and energy audit and seal any leaking duct work. That has to help. If then I still can't cool or heat the house, I'll move the the next step.


  38. #38
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    I feel this point I need to thank everyone here who has posted. This has been one of the most productive things I have done with regard to this house.

    I appreciate all of the honest, thoughtful responses.

    I, of course, am interested in any more input people might want to give but I didn't want this to go any father without saying thanks.


  39. #39
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Smith View Post
    Compressor is 3 ton, blower is 2 ton.
    I just skimmed through the posts so I may have missed comments on this, but ... that is basackward. The outdoor unit (condenser unit) should either be the same or smaller than the indoor unit (evaporator unit).

    A smaller evaporator unit will not exchange all of the heat energy capable of being moved by the larger condenser unit. A larger evaporator unit will be able to exchange all of the heat energy capable of being moved by a smaller condenser unit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Smith View Post
    EMP = Electrical, Mechanical and Pluming...I believe.

    We had two inspections. Structural and EMP.
    MEP would be the normal way to say that: mechanical, electrical, and plumbing.

    Strange that a home inspector would refer to their inspections as MEP and Structural, or is that just what you are using to refer to the home inspection?

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

  40. #40
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I just skimmed through the posts so I may have missed comments on this, but ... that is basackward. The outdoor unit (condenser unit) should either be the same or smaller than the indoor unit (evaporator unit).

    A smaller evaporator unit will not exchange all of the heat energy capable of being moved by the larger condenser unit. A larger evaporator unit will be able to exchange all of the heat energy capable of being moved by a smaller condenser unit.



    MEP would be the normal way to say that: mechanical, electrical, and plumbing.

    Strange that a home inspector would refer to their inspections as MEP and Structural, or is that just what you are using to refer to the home inspection?
    This was kind of addressed previously but the consensus on this board seems to be that the backassward mismatch wouldn't cause the problem in winter while the HVAC guys I called to look at the system were sure that was to blame.

    As for EMP vs. MEP, all I've ever heard here is EMP. Could be a regional thing.

    We had two inspectors for our house. One called himself EMP while the other was structural. Two separate companies.


  41. #41
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    I look at the tonnage of every unit and note it in my reports. We can get into the typical discussion that usually takes place about home inspectors not knowing what tonnage should be used in any home but after multiple thousands of inspection we can get it pretty darn close with the homes volume, openings, attic insulation, types of windows etc. It takes an eye that puts the plan together as an inspector is walking around inspecting thru the entire home. One return vent in a home is always a concern as far as I am concerned. You will never have heating and cooling equaled around the home when the farthest supply vent blowing air into a room has to be sucked out the usually small slit under the door all the way to the other end of the home.

    Sometimes the tag is not on the evaporator coil cabinet and there is no guessing as to what size it may be. When you are saying the blower inside I am assuming you mean evaporator coil.

    What are the numbers on the Condensing unit outside and the evaporator coil cabinet inside. What are the makes.

    If the duct work is a mess, that is pretty vague. Do the HVAC companies say what kind of mess other than leaking. Are they saying the sizes are all wrong and or poorly made up Ys off of a six inch with 2 six inch ducts off of it. Do the supply ducts have trunk lines going to other plenum/distribution boxes.

    Way to much non information here. Maybe I missed it all from skimming thru it. You do not need someone coming in and saying "ahhhh yup, the system is not matched and the ducts are all screwed up". You need someone to come in, explain in detail what the real and definable concerns are, design what would work in the home and get a cost estimate from those couple of companies. If they did their job correctly when they came out to evaluate then you would know exactly what is wrong with the existing system and what exactly is going to fix those concerns and how much. Obviously neither did that, It is time to try door number three.

    As far a calling mister reputable ?????? He is the one that was in charge of that mess and I am absolutely sure either his guys installed it or he hired the cheapest guy he could get to make the biggest gross off of the sale. I would not bother calling Mr reputable until I have numbers in hand

    Also, who said Mr reputable was Mr reputable anyway ....the Realtor? or the home inspector? If that is the case then one might need to stop listening to them as well.

    Make a temporary wash of everyone. Go to door number three for some real answers and real fix it numbers. After you do that, call the Realtor, call the home inspector, call Mr reputable and hand them the break down of what the problem is and what the fix is. It may just be that there is poorly insulated walls and attic and or poor ventilation in the attic, crappy windows and and and and who knows.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 07-13-2011 at 04:55 PM.

  42. #42
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    I see undersized evaporator coils in Houston quite frequently. Our climate is similar to Florida, so Im surprised this isnt common there too.

    Installers undersize coils for humidity reduction.


  43. #43
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    I see undersized evaporator coils in Houston quite frequently. Our climate is similar to Florida, so Im surprised this isnt common there too.

    Installers undersize coils for humidity reduction.
    Yep. And he's not complaining about humidity levels - and further we don't know the actual rating of the evaporator coil OR ITS AGE, just some sort of reference to the "blower" as a "tonnage" which I take to be a reference to the furnace and HO confusion regarding btu ratings for a gas fa furnace and "tonnage" conversions for a split AC.

    We have NO INFORMATION regarding the CFM for the furnace/air handler blower - nor if it is anywhere in the area of 400 CFM/ton.

    We also don't know the age of the coil, or if I do recall the condensor is supposedly 12 yrs old. (likely very low SEER rating and likely installed in area with nearly if not full sun exposure) furnace/air handler supposedly 1-2 yrs old, no reference as to age of evaporator coil. We don't know if the coil has a factory equipped TXV (thermostatic expansion valve) or for example a fixed orifice piston type metering device. So statements about sizing the evaporator coil vs. the "condensor unit" 'must be wrong' generalizations on this board, are completely unwarranted at this point. Was either properly re-filled? we don't know.

    Nothing has been said by the OP that I caught (did I miss it?) as to the fan blower of the FA furnace/air handler - a variable speed, two-speed, etc. says it is just a year or two old - one wonders if the system has such and isn't kicking in at high speed, for example, or suffers from low voltage at the fan.

    HVAC equipment can also have more than one rating, and mfg can spec differing based on settings, installation mods in the field; multi-stages, etc. we have no specs and a reference that the "blower" has a tonnage rating not a cfm rating, so I'm not the least bit suprised, for a max coil rating higher than the unit outdoors. We do not know if the ev. coil is a furnace coil and/or a (ahu for just ac) fan type coil. There is much we don't know.

    Coil (evap) new or re-installed in new furnace install - we don't know. Coil properly installed and not obstructing airflow summer AND winter - we don't know, but highly suspect. Coil exterior obstructed/with loose insulation, batt or otherwise obstructed, don't know, but quite possible, damaged bent fins? don't know, but always possible. New furnace not retrofit correctly, or not proper type for location/system design? don't know, but quite possible, unknown, and no specs - would expect such information to be well documented for a specialized "mechanical" inspeciton in same's report.

    Again, he's not complaining about humidity levels, or functionality of the mechanical equipment itself - but airflow, and sufficiency to reach comfortable levels.


    Look, you've already noted insulation at the rafters and roof deck not the ceiling/floor joist assembly in this supposed well ventillated attic, leaking and disconnected ducting in the attic, and areas of missing or having fallen insulation in the attic of this 1930's vintage home. You've recently made mention of a singular whole-house return for the system in the rear of the main hall (don't recall at the moment if you specified in-the-wall, or in-the-ceiling, for this return).

    We also don't know the construction type. At that vintage it could be true platform, balloon, or hybrid. You may have true roof rafters, or site-built trusses, it may also be a kit-home, which was common to that vintage and region.

    Be that as it may, wouldn't expect partition walls to necessarily be plated, and also quite common to find voids untopped with massive bypass. It would also not be too uncommon to, as you describe conditions you found in attic, to suspect or expect batt or otherwise insullation having fallen into an unlined void/cavity being used as a "cold air return" for such.

    Further, it would not be all that uncommon for a flipper of such a vintage home, to have replaced interior doors; and to not have trimmed them up from the finished flooring to allow air-flow; especially important for rooms having NO returns to the HVAC system.

    Drag, leaking, sags, failure to seal/insulate such portions in the cold-in-winter, hotter-than-heck-in-the-summer, would also further reduce available conditioned air-flow to the living space. However, from your descriptions one of the most glarring is the heat-loss/gain potential of the incomplete and improperly insulated attic space and the ducting comtained therein - hence the referral for an energy audit and applying cost-effective recommendations for same - prior to doing schedule calculations for sizing a system installed in the supposed unconditioned, "properly" ventillated, unconditioned attic space.

    As described, it seems you are heating and cooling the outdoors, so-to-speak, that is via the ventillated, incomplete and improperly insulated attic space and possibly via the o/s walls should you have heating registers in the room near the floor of wall cavities on the o/s walls and not via the ceilings (ceiling registers which may be fine for a/c but not too efficient for f/a gas heating); and that your thermal envelope is poorly differentiated, defined, and insulated; akin to running your heat or A/C in your Car in "recirculation mode" during temperature extremes while you sit idling with your vehicle's doors and windows all open .

    Since we do not have access to just what was and was not covered in this supposed EMP, MEP, etc. "inspection" itself (limitations, etc.) or "inspection report" I will not fault "the inspector". However, it seems that both the "structural" inspection and the "EMP" inspection are adjunct to an OK "Home Inspection" as they are quite possibly intended to cover areas that the "regular" HI does not, or only covers in a minimal way, and that you may have skipped the overall general HI. It also seems to me that a "mechanical" inspection of the split A/C and Furnace would not necessarily cover a review of the duct/return system. And that a general Home Inspection would have made mention of the faulty, falling, and misplaced attic insulation.

    Wild guesses as to a defective inspection, limited area, or failure to have a general HI, and throwing blame are just that: wild guesses. No references to what was actually reported, no pictures, no specifications, have been shared. It seems no general HI was acquired, and that the purchaser/now HO may not have been present during the specialized inspections he did acquire, perhaps solely on behalf/behest of the lender (such as HUD/VA report/appraisal/property survey-inspection) and not a true purchaser's HI report, a "horse of a different color, as we know).

    Blame others? No. Recourse? not likely, unless some sort of warranty or fraudulent disclosure; doubtful other than as-is sale anyway. A flipper is not a new home developer. Cavaet Emptor. Welcome to old-home-ownership; not unlike the distinctions between a new car purchase from a new car dealer and purchasing a used vehicle "as-is" - from a dealer or a private individual.

    Get the specificaitons and manuals for your equipment. Get an energy audit. Perhaps acquire a full "regular" HI. Read the information. Follow the suggestions with the best comfort and cost-effective ratios - pay-backs regarding efficiency and comfort. Either way, next "hvac" party you consult should be a consultation only, that's my suggestion - someone experienced but not "in the business" to SELL you anything except just evaluate and advice not actual performance service or equipment, but one experienced and having access to the specifications, and service bulletins for the actual equipment having been installed.

    examples regarding ev. coil sizes and older/newer equipment mixes: http://www.totaline.com/flynn1008.pdf

    How does AC work: http://2011.acinational.org/sites/de...6downeytom.pdf

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 07-13-2011 at 09:18 AM.

  44. #44
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    P.S.

    As I read and re-read the entirety of the thread, I realized first that I mis-remembered the supposed age of the outdoor condensor unit, OP stated 8-10 yrs old not 12 years old.

    Next, and more importantly, although the OP originally claimed that the system had a "clean bill of health" upon original inspection, the OP later reported (on Post #13) that upon original "inspection" it was reported that there was 'duct work' (unknown as to return, plenum, trunk, etc.) not connected and/or leaking at the time of inspection, and apparently the inspection and/or closing took place in a "milder" time, sometime in the fall. Lets not presume the OP correctly characterizes or understands the distinctions with differences, remember OP has been referring to the "blower's" 'tonnage'.

    I note the OP claimed the duct issue was "fixed" but no references whatsoever regarding a re-inspection by an H.I. or whatever this EMP, MEP inspection was or was not.

    Jumping all over a supposed faulty inspection, or what an inspector could have or not could have inspected with the vague description that included missing, incomplete, disconnected, and/or leaking ducting for a central system is IMO out of line.

    We don't know just what was or was not partially disconnected or completely unconnected. We don't know what the "inspector" stated in the report - or disclaimed due to the apparently REPORTED condition of HVAC system "duct(s?)" not being connected, now do we? We have no mention of a pre-purchase HVAC contractor evaluating on behalf OF THE PURCHASER, nor any mention of the purchaser acquiring a post-"repair", pre-closing REINSPECTION following those supposed repairs, any independant review of same, any specialized testing, or to cover areas unable to be inspected or tested do we?

    It would seem obvious that an area of duct or whatever which is disconnected - would leak. I further would NOT fault an inspector who at the time of inspection has a huge open area due to a disconnected duct or trunk line to be unable to detect other leaks elsewhere.

    the air would have flowed to the path of least resistance - via the unrestrained opening to the ventillated attic space, most readily. Other areas of later discovered (post "correction" of disconnected "duct")wouldn't necessarily be obvious until after the first "big hole" was "plugged".

    We still have no specifics on the actual equipment, or valves. I'm more than suspicious that the evap coil isn't actually matched and/or valved down half a ton since the OP refers to a blower and under spec.

    I strongly suspect his HVAC buddy and the other are referring to the furnace/airhandler/whatever blower's capacity as CFM not adequate for a 3 ton coil or a 3-ton valved down half a ton, at 400/ and NOT that the evap coil mismatched to the outside condensor unit -- presuming that it is infact split a/c and not a split hp, which HP would be more likely in a a goodly part of OK.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 07-13-2011 at 02:37 PM.

  45. #45
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Here is a quote from one of the HVAC company's invoices with recommended repairs. And keep in mind both said nearly the exact same thing.

    "All supply ducts at plenum are leaking air and need sealed properly"

    Also

    "Got all #s off equipment. Verified heater is 45, 000 heat, 3 ton blower, evaporator coil is 1 1/2 to 2 ton and A/C is 3 ton. We believe system tonnage does not match and load calculation will need ran on house to determine proper size"

    I hope this clears things up.

    It seems I touched a nerve with Mr. Watson. That was not my intention. I would hope that the experts here understand when there is a forum called "Questions form Home Owners, Home Buyers and DIY" they should expect questions from people without an abundance of knowledge.

    I have tried the best I can to answer all of these questions and I appreciate all of the input including Mr. Watson's extremely detailed last post.

    And in light of Mr. Watson posts, I must restate a couple of things. I am not educated in the ways of heating and cooling which means I don't understand all of the applicable jargon and technical language.

    That is precisely why, I thought, I hired an inspector. Also, it is because of my ignorance of the subject that I hired not one but two HVAC companies to advise me. This is, as I understand it, they way the world works. There are those who specialize and provide service to those who don't. Now, I am up to learning as much as possible about any subject but at this point, I don't currently possess the knowledge nor do I have the luxury of time. That's what brought me to this board.

    If I possessed all of the knowledge that it seems Mr. Watson wished I had, I wouldn't have come here seeking advice. I am here to ask, if blame can be assigned or I am simply going to eat the cost of necessary repairs. I did this before irrationally calling the inspector and telling him he was wrong. I am trying to be reasonable and gather educated, informed opinions. My apologies for bringing a question about a home inspection to a board about home inspections.

    Before I called two HVAC companies, my inclination was that we had a very inefficient house. I asked both about this and both, independent of each other told me the same thing. They both spoke of leaking ductwork and of mismatched blower and coil. Now, let me restate, I am not an inspector nor do I have any training on HVAC systems so how can i be expected to know what I need to ask or what to expect from professionals who do.

    Both told me an inspection should have caught these things. Why would I not believe them? That is why I came here. To ask if that was in fact true. So, like I said, I understand Caveat Emptor. That is why I have paid for many other repairs to the home without a complaint. I only took up this issue because it seemed, I had objective opinions on paper about the situation stating that this shouldn't be as it is.

    Now let me address specifics.

    I am not jumping all over anyone. That is why I came here. I came to figure out what reasonable expectation I have so I don't unnecessarily jump all over anyone.

    If I have misused terminology, and I know I have, my apologies. The point was that both HVAC reps said the same thing and that they claimed it was fairly obvious was what I came to ask about. I wanted to know from those here how much I should expect.

    When I said "clean bill of health," I was speaking of the overall inspection of the house. There were a few minor repairs but overall nothing that we would need to address on any large scale. I would be happy to list all of those if it would make you feel better. The duct work was reconnected and reinspected.

    This handwringing about what the inspection process I received is is called seems a bit unnecessary. This is the inspection process here as I understand it. Every home sale has two inspections; 1. Structural and 2. Electrical, Mechanical and Plumbing. The combination of the two = a home inspection as far as I can tell.


  46. #46
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    You have no reason to apologize for anything. The DIY section was added to the forum to appease some of the inspectors who were bothered by homeowners asking questions in the general forum. BTW - The user control panel on the forum has an ignore feature that works great and cuts down on the abuse from some posters who just complain and offer no help.


  47. #47
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Smith View Post
    Here is a quote from one of the HVAC company's invoices with recommended repairs. And keep in mind both said nearly the exact same thing.

    "All supply ducts at plenum are leaking air and need sealed properly"

    Also

    "Got all #s off equipment. Verified heater is 45, 000 heat, 3 ton blower, evaporator coil is 1 1/2 to 2 ton and A/C is 3 ton. We believe system tonnage does not match and load calculation will need ran on house to determine proper size"

    I hope this clears things up.

    It seems I touched a nerve with Mr. Watson. That was not my intention. I would hope that the experts here understand when there is a forum called "Questions form Home Owners, Home Buyers and DIY" they should expect questions from people without an abundance of knowledge.

    I have tried the best I can to answer all of these questions and I appreciate all of the input including Mr. Watson's extremely detailed last post.

    And in light of Mr. Watson posts, I must restate a couple of things. I am not educated in the ways of heating and cooling which means I don't understand all of the applicable jargon and technical language.

    That is precisely why, I thought, I hired an inspector. Also, it is because of my ignorance of the subject that I hired not one but two HVAC companies to advise me. This is, as I understand it, they way the world works. There are those who specialize and provide service to those who don't. Now, I am up to learning as much as possible about any subject but at this point, I don't currently possess the knowledge nor do I have the luxury of time. That's what brought me to this board.

    If I possessed all of the knowledge that it seems Mr. Watson wished I had, I wouldn't have come here seeking advice. I am here to ask, if blame can be assigned or I am simply going to eat the cost of necessary repairs. I did this before irrationally calling the inspector and telling him he was wrong. I am trying to be reasonable and gather educated, informed opinions. My apologies for bringing a question about a home inspection to a board about home inspections.

    Before I called two HVAC companies, my inclination was that we had a very inefficient house. I asked both about this and both, independent of each other told me the same thing. They both spoke of leaking ductwork and of mismatched blower and coil. Now, let me restate, I am not an inspector nor do I have any training on HVAC systems so how can i be expected to know what I need to ask or what to expect from professionals who do.

    Both told me an inspection should have caught these things. Why would I not believe them? That is why I came here. To ask if that was in fact true. So, like I said, I understand Caveat Emptor. That is why I have paid for many other repairs to the home without a complaint. I only took up this issue because it seemed, I had objective opinions on paper about the situation stating that this shouldn't be as it is.

    Now let me address specifics.

    I am not jumping all over anyone. That is why I came here. I came to figure out what reasonable expectation I have so I don't unnecessarily jump all over anyone.

    If I have misused terminology, and I know I have, my apologies. The point was that both HVAC reps said the same thing and that they claimed it was fairly obvious was what I came to ask about. I wanted to know from those here how much I should expect.

    When I said "clean bill of health," I was speaking of the overall inspection of the house. There were a few minor repairs but overall nothing that we would need to address on any large scale. I would be happy to list all of those if it would make you feel better. The duct work was reconnected and reinspected.

    This handwringing about what the inspection process I received is is called seems a bit unnecessary. This is the inspection process here as I understand it. Every home sale has two inspections; 1. Structural and 2. Electrical, Mechanical and Plumbing. The combination of the two = a home inspection as far as I can tell.

    The HVAC company says the evaporator coil is 1 1/2 ton to a 2 tone. If there was a tag on it identifying the equipment then there would be absolutely no maybe this or that size. They could at the very least look up the number thru the manufacturer

    Leaky duct work or connections I write up all the time. Mismatched units is not always that cut and dry.

    If you were looking for anyone to say outright that the Home Inspector was to blame well then, maybe so but we just cannot say that based on a one sided story. I am sure that you must understand that. When someone on one end is typing his opinion and findings and we have not heard from the inspector or seen his report all we can say is, huh, could be this or it could be that or that Home Inspectors an idiot or the HVAC guys are idiots ..... well, like I said I am sure you understand. It is like going to court and telling the judge that the man over there stole 5,000 from me. The judge says how would I know that. The plaintiff says, "because I told you so."

    We can only give more or less advise on what the might be's are. We cannot say, "Hang the bastard"

    I hope all turns out well for you and you get the dilemma resolved quickly and inexpensively.

    A little add on for an edit here


    HVAC folks, plumbers, electricians, warranty men, all, say that in half their lifetime. The inspector should have caught this.

    That roofer should have caught this

    That electrician should have caught this.

    Most of the time it is in their own defense because they were usually the ones that screwed up. Inspectors usually find what the other trades screw up, as in, that so and so should have caught this.

    In your case the inspector MAY have screwed up at the very least about the duct work ...... unless it was the connections buried under insulation. The evaporator coil may not have a tag and he peeked in there and said to him self "looks about right. Anyway this can go round and round. I am sorry someone screwed up at you home inspection or past installers or whomever and as I said good luck with all.

    You Realtor picked the inspector because you were not around. You could have and should have made some calls yourself. Enough said abut that. That is a whole other thread or 2 or 3.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 07-16-2011 at 03:21 PM.

  48. #48
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    What's your square footage? 45,000 BTU is pretty a small furnace. I'm not sure I've ever had a house with a central furnace that was that small, other than some of the 700 sq foot mini houses in one neighborhood. That would have raised a red flag for me on the heating side. I do check to make sure that the air handler tonnage and compressor tonnage match. Unfortunately, the manufacturer's don't make it as easy as they should, and you have to look at the model numbers and decipher it.

    Have the estimates been thousands of dollars? A larger air handler coil and repairing the leaky ducts shouldn't cost that much, or is there more work that needs to be done. Installing a larger furnace will definitely cost several thousand, however.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  49. #49
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    The HVAC company says the evaporator coil is 1 1/2 ton to a 2 tone. If there was a tag on it identifying the equipment then there would be absolutely no maybe this or that size. They could at the very least look up the number thru the manufacturer

    Leaky duct work or connections I write up all the time. Mismatched units is not always that cut and dry.

    If you were looking for anyone to say outright that the Home Inspector was to blame well then, maybe so but we just cannot say that based on a one sided story. I am sure that you must understand that. When someone on one end is typing his opinion and findings and we have not heard from the inspector or seen his report all we can say is, huh, could be this or it could be that or that Home Inspectors an idiot or the HVAC guys are idiots ..... well, like I said I am sure you understand. It is like going to court and telling the judge that the man over there stole 5,000 from me. The judge says how would I know that. The plaintiff says, "because I told you so."

    We can only give more or less advise on what the might be's are. We cannot say, "Hang the bastard"

    I hope all turns out well for you and you get the dilemma resolved quickly and inexpensively.

    A little add on for an edit here


    HVAC folks, plumbers, electricians, warranty men, all, say that in half their lifetime. The inspector should have caught this.

    That roofer should have caught this

    That electrician should have caught this.

    Most of the time it is in their own defense because they were usually the ones that screwed up. Inspectors usually find what the other trades screw up, as in, that so and so should have caught this.

    In your case the inspector MAY have screwed up at the very least about the duct work ...... unless it was the connections buried under insulation. The evaporator coil may not have a tag and he peeked in there and said to him self "looks about right. Anyway this can go round and round. I am sorry someone screwed up at you home inspection or past installers or whomever and as I said good luck with all.

    You Realtor picked the inspector because you were not around. You could have and should have made some calls yourself. Enough said abut that. That is a whole other thread or 2 or 3.
    Like I said before, because I had two different people say it should have been caught, I thought I'd see what people here thought before I did anything. I'm not looking for "Hang the Bastard." I honestly don't know. My instinct was that I would have to eat the cost until both HVAC reps said I should take it up with the inspector. What I was really asking was if you guys inspect tonnage and ducts or if that is above and beyond what I should expect from an inspection.


  50. #50
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    What's your square footage? 45,000 BTU is pretty a small furnace. I'm not sure I've ever had a house with a central furnace that was that small, other than some of the 700 sq foot mini houses in one neighborhood. That would have raised a red flag for me on the heating side. I do check to make sure that the air handler tonnage and compressor tonnage match. Unfortunately, the manufacturer's don't make it as easy as they should, and you have to look at the model numbers and decipher it.

    Have the estimates been thousands of dollars? A larger air handler coil and repairing the leaky ducts shouldn't cost that much, or is there more work that needs to be done. Installing a larger furnace will definitely cost several thousand, however.
    THe house is about 1300 sq. ft.

    THe estimates were in the thousands for everything. One guy said that if we get a new furnace he would rework the duct work to make it more efficient and leak free so it would be the cost of the furnace and new duct work.

    Are you saying that it is possible to get a larger air handler coil and not a whole new furnace? Would that be cheaper?


  51. #51
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    I haven't the slightest idea what load requirements are in the Southwest. I can tell you that a 45K furnace around here is for a small apartment, not a 1300 sqft house. There are many HI's that are not knowledgeable enough to look at a unit and know whether or not it is roughly the right size.
    That having been said, I've been in a number of houses in the SF Bay area that only had 40,50,60K furnaces. Those sizes would never cut it here. So the HI may not have screwed up for your area.
    It is important to remember that contractors love to blame the HI with the 'he should have caught that' line. It gives them credibility to their sales pitch.
    I suggest you go on HVAC-talk and try to get load info for your area. This should help you better assess whether the furnace size is a real issue or sales pitch. I would concentrate on the ducts and return first, then the difference in equipment size, then the furnace.
    Make sure any contract for work provides a load calc sheet, details of duct sizes that will be installed and method of sealing seams.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  52. #52
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Smith View Post
    Like I said before, because I had two different people say it should have been caught, I thought I'd see what people here thought before I did anything. I'm not looking for "Hang the Bastard." I honestly don't know. My instinct was that I would have to eat the cost until both HVAC reps said I should take it up with the inspector. What I was really asking was if you guys inspect tonnage and ducts or if that is above and beyond what I should expect from an inspection.
    Check your contract with him. You may need to give him the opportunity to see it first hand before you repair it or try to sue him. Just sayn...

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
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  53. #53
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Christopher,
    Thought I would throw my 2 bits in to the dog chasing the tail.

    1) The seller may have changed the coil or condenser as well as the furnace out as part of the flip repair using what ever they could get on the cheep. Correct sizing was not the concern, only the cost.
    2) A Home Inspector was not required by law to be concerned that the equipment matched or was correct for application. The Inspector would just see if it was running. I say by law, many would have picked up on the sizing though that would have come from experience in HVAC.
    3) You said that you had a EMP Inspection which if done by Mechanical Contractor (HVAC) should have picked up and told you about the sizing of the equipment. They would determine if the equipment was running but would not determine if the equipment was correctly sized to the house. But their liability would be to what was stated in the contract that you had with them. The contract that stated what they were there to perform.
    4) You have said that the HVAC contractors noted the mismatching of the equipment but refereed to approximate sizing. Like others have stated they should have been exact in sizes stated. Which leads me to believe they were there to sell a job and not to be involved in a dog fight over who should pay for the alterations to the systems.
    5)Your first step to determining why the existing equipment is not performing to your expectations is to have a "Manual J" done by a licensed and competent HVAC Contractor. This, if done correctly, will determine what the heating and cooling requirements are for the house. If you do not have a "Manual J" then it is all about guessing what will work. The "Manual J" will take into account all of your houses construction issues. Then the duct system design has to be evaluated as to proper sizing for the actual requirement that will be installed.
    6) Once you know what the house requires you then can determine the direction you want to take. You will know where any of the inspections that you have had may have been faultily. By reviewing the contracts that you had for these inspections you will be able to asses responsibility for errors or omissions that have occurred. The devil is in the details of the contracts. No contracts or poor contracts leave the burden on you for and problems or short comings in the evaluation of the property.

    Note: an energy audit may not (unless done by a HVAC Mechanical Contractor) meet the needs of determining the correct equipment and system design for your house. But will provide you with the degree of heating and cooling losses and gains with the existing structure and will provide alternate methods of effecting the structure envelope efficiency.


  54. #54
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    Check your contract with him. You may need to give him the opportunity to see it first hand before you repair it or try to sue him. Just sayn...
    I'll do that. I really wasn't implying I wanted to sue. But you're right. I would like to see if he'll come back out.

    My first step is to see if there is responsibility beyond me first. It seems that Caveat Emptor really trumps all in this case.


  55. #55
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Christopher,
    Thought I would throw my 2 bits in to the dog chasing the tail.

    1) The seller may have changed the coil or condenser as well as the furnace out as part of the flip repair using what ever they could get on the cheep. Correct sizing was not the concern, only the cost.
    2) A Home Inspector was not required by law to be concerned that the equipment matched or was correct for application. The Inspector would just see if it was running. I say by law, many would have picked up on the sizing though that would have come from experience in HVAC.
    3) You said that you had a EMP Inspection which if done by Mechanical Contractor (HVAC) should have picked up and told you about the sizing of the equipment. They would determine if the equipment was running but would not determine if the equipment was correctly sized to the house. But their liability would be to what was stated in the contract that you had with them. The contract that stated what they were there to perform.
    4) You have said that the HVAC contractors noted the mismatching of the equipment but refereed to approximate sizing. Like others have stated they should have been exact in sizes stated. Which leads me to believe they were there to sell a job and not to be involved in a dog fight over who should pay for the alterations to the systems.
    5)Your first step to determining why the existing equipment is not performing to your expectations is to have a "Manual J" done by a licensed and competent HVAC Contractor. This, if done correctly, will determine what the heating and cooling requirements are for the house. If you do not have a "Manual J" then it is all about guessing what will work. The "Manual J" will take into account all of your houses construction issues. Then the duct system design has to be evaluated as to proper sizing for the actual requirement that will be installed.
    6) Once you know what the house requires you then can determine the direction you want to take. You will know where any of the inspections that you have had may have been faultily. By reviewing the contracts that you had for these inspections you will be able to asses responsibility for errors or omissions that have occurred. The devil is in the details of the contracts. No contracts or poor contracts leave the burden on you for and problems or short comings in the evaluation of the property.

    Note: an energy audit may not (unless done by a HVAC Mechanical Contractor) meet the needs of determining the correct equipment and system design for your house. But will provide you with the degree of heating and cooling losses and gains with the existing structure and will provide alternate methods of effecting the structure envelope efficiency.
    Thanks for the reply.

    This sounds like the path I will take but I must ask...If I ask for a "Manual J" will they know what I'm talking about? One of the HVAC guys told me he would come back and give me very specific assessments of the house, sytem, etc. I think this paired with an energy audit should get headed in the right direction or at least give me some objective information about what steps I can take.

    As of now I'm looking at cost ranging from a few hundred dollars to seal duct work to thousands for new equipment and I have no idea which end is up.


  56. #56
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Chris, anybody (including yourself) can buy a roll of foil tape and seal any air leaks/seams on the ducts and supply plenums. That would run you $10 and your time.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  57. #57
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Chris, anybody (including yourself) can buy a roll of foil tape and seal any air leaks/seams on the ducts and supply plenums. That would run you $10 and your time.
    I was going to try. Is it as simple as just feeling for leaks with my hands? The supply plenum is the large metal duct feeding into the blower? I know this sounds basic but like I said, I wouldn't be here if I knew this stuff.


  58. #58
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Smith View Post
    I was going to try. Is it as simple as just feeling for leaks with my hands? The supply plenum is the large metal duct feeding into the blower? I know this sounds basic but like I said, I wouldn't be here if I knew this stuff.
    If you are going to the trouble to DIY go ahead and use mastic. Here is a link to get you started. There are a zillion more out there. Home Depot sells the mastic. How to Seal Ductwork With Mastic and Mesh Tape : Mechanical : Best Practices : HGTV Pro

    Last edited by James Duffin; 07-19-2011 at 04:53 PM.

  59. #59
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Smith View Post
    I was going to try. Is it as simple as just feeling for leaks with my hands? The supply plenum is the large metal duct feeding into the blower? I know this sounds basic but like I said, I wouldn't be here if I knew this stuff.
    Hands and face will feel air leaks. When you find air leaks, seal it up. You can even use silicone caulk on gaps and seams.

    The supply plenum is the duct directly above the furnace. But you'll want to seal any open gap or seam to see or can feel. You won't feel air coming out of gaps on the return ducts but any gaps on returns should be sealed as well.

    Unless an HVAC company is planning on dismantling walls and ceilings to expose ducts, they will be doing the exact same thing to seal any duct leaks.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  60. #60
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    I'm definitely going to tackle it this weekend. Is it possible that I'll notice a difference by doing this?

    Also, what kind of filter do you guys recommend for letting as much air flow through?


  61. #61
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Smith View Post
    .
    I'm definitely going to tackle it this weekend. Is it possible that I'll notice a difference by doing this?
    .
    Mr Smith,

    Watch that Step.
    * or you'll be fixing your ceiling as well.
    .
    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...good-tips.html
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  62. #62
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    We are beating this horse to death!

    Christopher;

    Call the real estate agent that represented you and tell them that are unhappy with the home and the inspector they recommended and then ask the agent what they can do to make you and your family happy.

    This might get you some help.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  63. #63
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    We are beating this horse to death!

    Christopher;

    Call the real estate agent that represented you and tell them that are unhappy with the home and the inspector they recommended and then ask the agent what they can do to make you and your family happy.

    This might get you some help.
    well put...

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  64. #64
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    Default Re: My family is a sweaty mess and someone somewhere is too blame..right?

    Christopher, Been out of country now back.
    I would think that the Manual J is a national tool.

    Beating a dead horse just makes it more tender, at least according to my French friends.


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