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Ductwork Woes

Posted by oldhousemel (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 9, 09 at 3:36

Am wondering if anybody has had a similar problem or any suggestions...(this is long, bear with me!)...

I live in a 220 yr. old cape cod. I have an open crawlspace that is below street level and therefore takes in quite a bit of water during heavy rains. This is not a problem for the structure (had that looked into!) but is a huge problem for the ductwork that is installed beneath the flooring on the first floor. I have to repair the ducting constantly, and it is very clear now that I need to completely remove the ducting from there - or find a type of ductwork that is slim enough that it won't touch water when it comes streaming through - though supposedly if it was slim enough to meet this requirement it would be undersized. Currently I have round soft ductwork (sorry, I am not technical - it is not the metal kind, but the flexible kind, that is insulated). I have been told that metal ducting won't help either, as it will still take in water and I will then have a mold problem.

I have considered split units but don't like the modern look of them for an old house, have started looking at a system like SpacePak but am unsure as to the cost, and am also wondering if there are other ways the ducting can be run for both the 1st and 2nd floors that doesn't require ductwork under the house.

The main line for the ducting for the upstairs runs above the ceiling of the old backporch which was converted into a kitchen/bathroom. The ceiling height of the kitchen/bathroom is approximately two feet lower than the two rooms in front of it.

What I'm wondering is - would it be possible to duct the rooms in front of the kitchen through the wall off this main line, and likewise duct through the ceiling of the kitchen/bathroom? This would then mean that I can do away with all the ductwork beneath the house.

The house is small - just over 1000 sq ft with the majority of sq footage on the ground floor. I'm thinking it shouldn't be so impossible to find a solution....

Any ideas?

Mel :)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Ductwork Woes

What you propose to do sounds possible; however,if water is such a problem that you have to frequently replace the duct work, I'd be pretty concerned with structural issues. If the water is deep enough to touch the ducting, how can it not be encouraging mold and decay in the floor joists, flooring, etc.? Despite having had this "looked into", dealing with the water might just turn out to be cheaper and a much better option for the overall health of your house than relocating the ducts.

RE: Ductwork Woes

I'd probably also post this in the heating/air conditioning forum (if you haven't done so already.)

We just installed a mini-duct system in our house exactly because of ducting issues (our house is tiny and there wasn't room for the ducting downstairs unless we gave up all the headroom in our already low-ceilinged basement. (which we use.)

I can say that there is still ducting in the basement. The mini-duct duct tubing (sorry I'm not technical LOL) is round soft foil covered tube about 5" in dia. In our case it fit between the joists no problem - until one point before the boiler where they all ran together into a pretty big square duct that unforts is right over the desk area of the kid's room we have down there. (that's another story.)

Anyway it can't hurt to have an HVAC guy (who is experienced with those systems, BTW, very important) come by and take a look. We have a traditional system upstairs, the miniduct downstairs. I think the miniduct is a tad more to install but in our case the only option.

RE: Ductwork Woes

Where is the heating unit located?

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