Unbelievable install in home

fluffybunnysuiJune 21, 2012

I was called out to a house this week to correct some electrical & tubing issues on a new install. The homeowner had purchased a unit online for their home and had a "electrican friend" wire the unit. They also had a "a/c friend" tell them he could install the unit and duct system no problem. At this point i should have turned away, got in my truck and drove off... but like an idiot, i just had to stay and see the whole mess. The guy that installed the system had leak after leak in his soldering and finally gave up on fixing the leaks. When i got there, i noticed the house was pretty small, right at 1000 sq.ft. the customer told me. Very well insulated, double paned windows, 6" spray foam under the house.

I walked over to the outdoor unit to look at the model number and saw that it was a 3.5 ton H.P Goodman unit. I started to get a sick feeling in my stomach, not from the unit... but from the size of it.... about 1 ton -1.5 tons too big for the 1000 sq.ft. home i thought to myself. Anyways, i continued onward, to the indoor unit. I opened the closet door and there was a matching Goodman airhandler w/VS motor. Seemed to be installed correctly, romex connectors @ electrical entrances, sitting level, nice hard pipe copper lines. Thats when i looked up at the plenum and started laughing..... it was made of plywood !!! I KID U NOT!!!

After a few minutes of uncontrollable internal laughter, we dove in. Repaired all the tubing leaks, checked the low voltage wiring (the a/c guy had accidentally flip flopped the t-stat wires from the air handler to the outdoor unit insted sending them to the t-stat and vise versa). We pressure tested the lines, then started a vacuum. While pulling a vacuum, i decided to turn the blower on to hear the inside unit. HOLY COW !!! Sounded like a jet plane taking off! Time to get in the attic.

Now... this is the really funny part (actually really sad). I climbed up my ladder into the attic, facing his plywood plenum only to see 2- 8" flex duct coming off the plenum, one on each side. Thats it. 1400 cfm of air trying to be jammed into 2-8" pathways. As i shined my flashlight around looking at his ductwork, the a/c guy had 8 drops for the house, 4 on each side of the plenum, all 8". The 8" flex off the one side of the plenum connected to all 4 vents. Exactly the same for the other side of the house. It was like a game of connect the dots...in this case connect the vents. 8" from the plenum to a vent, then from that vent to another vent and from that vent to another vent...and so on. Even the 60 sq.ft. bathroom had a 8" vent on it !Craziest thing i have ever seen.

We're going Monday to fix everything so be ready for some pics !!

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>in this case connect the vents. 8" from the plenum to a vent, then from that vent to another vent and from that vent to another vent...and so on. A series of tubes, just like the Internet. LOL. Looking forward to the pics!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 8:25PM
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oh yea...pass the popcorn

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 2:30PM
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I wonder how much money he 'saved'?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 2:35PM
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Probably looked at the diff between 2.5 & 3.5 and said the ole 'bigger is better' and for only x hundred more bucks you can have your house nice and chili in the summer. Just be sure to stand under the 1st vent in the Daisy-chain.

Maybe the plywood plenum was really OSB with the radiant barrier film facing inside? Should work the same, rt? ;-)

Oh and keep your children and pets away from the return grill -- or keep them well tethered to the ground.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 3:27PM
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Wow! You know that old sayin "You get what you pay for." Sometimes you get what you don't pay for.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 2:51PM
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I read about a cable TV installation that was done like this. Same guy, perhaps? :)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 3:58PM
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Ok... here are a few pics....

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 9:27PM
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nice attic to work in!
so you will be replacing pleunm
& sizing & designing ductwork.

sad that they put 3.5 tons on 1000 sq ft.
I'm oversized with at 2 ton on same sized
house. (vs ahu will handle dehumidification)

Is that a duct saddle on one of the long runs?

Please post more pics (like the inside of plywood
plenum & close up of takeoffs)
..I'd love to se how he attached the ducts
and if the plenum is insulated.
I'd like a peek inside the return too.

will you lower fan speed & insulate return to quiten
it down?

fix it up fluffi..and post pics of your work.

this forum should have wall of shame & hall of fame

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 10:24AM
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His connections to the insulated boxes were 8" tee's...on all of them. The wooden plenum looks like it has Celotex 1/2" lined on the inside. Since we cannot reduce the size of the equipment, we're just going to have to run a short spider system to all the registers because the collars on the boxes are permanent and the homeowner doesnt want to change all of them.. Every drop will have it's own 8" run to the plenum. Its not ideal but it gets me real close to the 1400 cfm out im looking for....insted of his 400cfm... lol

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 1:54PM
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