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Ask me anything about HVAC heating air conditioning air quality control

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  • Sep 19th, 2017 5:58 pm
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[OP]
Deal Addict
Dec 27, 2007
1074 posts
113 upvotes
Markham
bririp wrote:
Sep 4th, 2017 8:29 am
I am a huge believer of sealed combustion chambers. Lennox is one of the only companies who have kept the sealed chamber. Usually these furnaces come with a selection of plugs and gaskets that are used to seal the entire cabinet. Most calls we see do not have them installed, and I am not confident in the seal, but I am sure they have been tested to show that they can in fact seal to the standards that are set out. Myself...Ill stick with Lennox and their sealed chambers :)
Providing Customers with the highest quality Home Comfort Products, and service! http://www.homestars.com/companies/2781 ... ly-med-air
[OP]
Deal Addict
Dec 27, 2007
1074 posts
113 upvotes
Markham
jk43234 wrote:
Aug 27th, 2017 1:51 pm
Hi, I have some decisions to make with my central AC and I am looking for some advice. It was purchased in 2007 and it has been crap pretty much since the beginning. The first summer it was installed, it seemed fine. Then the next year it seemed like it was struggling to cool down the house and was running almost constantly. I called the guy and he gave me some BS about how the new refrigerant needs to be recharged. When I called him out on it he started yelling at me, so I was done with him.

I called another technician, and he put Super Seal into the line and topped up the refrigerant. It was the same story where it seemed to work fine at first but then the next year it was not cooling properly. Over the years I have called in different technicians, they try something and top up the refrigerant, only for the same thing to happen again.

The last time I called a technician he changed the evaporator coil because the old one looked rusted, and he also topped up the refrigerant. Now that the same problem is still happening he is suggesting changing the condenser so it would be like getting a whole new AC.

I am looking for advice on what I should do. I put so much money into it already, it would be painful to basically scrap it and get a whole new unit. On the other hand, I don't want to have to keep sinking money into this current unit.

To further complicate things, I want to dig up my lawn at the side of the house and put interlocking, but the condenser is sitting on a pad. It seems everybody in my area had it mounted to the foundation at the side of their house, but I didn't because it was more expensive and I read that it causes vibrations when it is running. If I change the condenser I am thinking I would get it mounted, but if I keep my existing unit, I am not sure how to deal with that.
Finding leaks is not an easy or fun task. We have many tools, dyes, procedures available to track leaks down. This is an expensive process, but it is required by law to do before adding any refrigerant into a system. Unfortunately there are many technicians who will go ahead and "top up" a system to get it going and make some money instead of pushing the proper way of fixing the system.

Super seal type products can work when used for the proper leak, once it is determined that it is a small leak etc. It is not guaranteed to hold tho.

now that the season is mostly done you can have it removed from your house so you can do your landscaping and a proper test to test the lines as well as the outdoor unit can be done to determine if there are any leaks etc.

From that point you can look at warranty (if any) and cost/benefit or fixing or replacing, and decide on if you want to reinstall it after your walkway is installed, or replace it with a new system. At that point brackets can be installed.
Providing Customers with the highest quality Home Comfort Products, and service! http://www.homestars.com/companies/2781 ... ly-med-air
Deal Addict
Aug 4, 2008
1759 posts
281 upvotes
Toronto
bririp wrote:
Sep 4th, 2017 8:24 am
For your sized home a fan powered or steam humidifier would be best suitable. I am a fan of the Aprilaire 800 steam humidifier myself but it requires dedicated power from your electrical panel so you will need access.
any suggestions where to get an Aprilaire 800 from?

Does it need to be installed completely by a HVAC professional, or can I install it myself once I have an electrician there to wire into the panel?

Thanks
Newbie
Jul 31, 2017
20 posts
4 upvotes
Toronto
Trying to install some HVAC ductwork and the plan calls for a 30x8 return air grill connected to a 12" round pipe. It's drawn to run parallel with the joists, but the joists are 2x8 and 12" OC so the pipe won't fit between them. Can i somehow calculate the correct rectangular size to replace that with and then transition to the grille at the other end?
Deal Addict
Dec 19, 2009
2372 posts
829 upvotes
BoatyMcBoatface wrote:
Sep 9th, 2017 3:52 pm
Trying to install some HVAC ductwork and the plan calls for a 30x8 return air grill connected to a 12" round pipe. It's drawn to run parallel with the joists, but the joists are 2x8 and 12" OC so the pipe won't fit between them. Can i somehow calculate the correct rectangular size to replace that with and then transition to the grille at the other end?
10 X 12 duct

http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/equiv ... d_443.html
Newbie
Jul 31, 2017
20 posts
4 upvotes
Toronto
Another rookie HVAC question!

I need to install a top takeoff like this one below.
tto.jpg
I need to come off at right angles to the trunk duct, but do i install this with the round opening inline with the duct (the shape leads me to think it has to be like this) and then use a 90 angle or can these be mounted so the sloped inlet is at 90 to the airflow?

Thanks!
Deal Fanatic
Sep 10, 2002
5583 posts
119 upvotes
Vancouver
I'm stuck.

I have a Lennox EL296 installed about 4 years ago (no AC). I live in a 50 year old house so it only had 2 wires.

I recently ran a new thermostat wire, 18/8 themostat wire, so I think I have a lot of options.

Do I spend $550 on a iComfort S30 to take advantage of the variable blower or just get a smart thermostat like a lyric, Eco bee or nest?
Newbie
Jul 22, 2003
49 posts
2 upvotes
BoatyMcBoatface wrote:
Sep 13th, 2017 3:12 pm
Another rookie HVAC question!

I need to come off at right angles to the trunk duct, but do i install this with the round opening inline with the duct (the shape leads me to think it has to be like this) and then use a 90 angle or can these be mounted so the sloped inlet is at 90 to the airflow?

Thanks!
90* to the airflow is correct. Adding extra bends (90*) is to be avoided.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Apr 25, 2011
1752 posts
4909 upvotes
Laval
I have big concern regarding an HRV installation.

We live in Montreal and have a bungalow built in 1981, this was our first house since 2010, For the past 3 to 5 years I start having condensation during cold winter which sometimes turns into ice. (All our windows are double paned) so I start shopping for HRV and one of the contractors suggest ERV (don't know why) but the rest of the contractors will install HRV which is better for the climate in Montreal. I had one contractor wants me to install a dehumidifier in the basement this model Humidex Basement HCS-BS http://www.humidex.com/en/products/basement/36-hcs-bs (As he says humidity is much heavier and will go down to the basement) and because old house is not tightened and there's always a leak of air coming in the house, but this doesn't resolve the condensation on all windows!! I want an advice from you guys, should I install a fresh air flow for each room and another 2 exhaust flow for the kitchen and the bathroom (I have 2 bedrooms on the first floor with a living room/kitchen and bathroom) Last year I have changed the Range Hood and replace it with Sakura 600CFM (it's enough or I need an air intake from the HRV) Sometimes when my wife cook I still smell but not like before. Now for the basement its open space with a small unfinished room, I need 1 fresh air flow and another exhaust flow?

Lets say i will install fresh air duct upstairs and the stale air intake in the basement? does it need the basement another fresh air duct? I have an office and open space does it hurt for another fresh air in the basement or fresh air in the basement doesn't make difference? not sure if it makes difference installing fresh air duct for each room and in the basement and air intake for the kitchen/bathroom and basement. just an FYI I have an unfinished room in the basement where I have the Water Heaters, electrical switchboard and like a storage, so easy to pass all duct. In the bathroom, I already have exhausted fan but not sure if it's powerful enough (between how much a bathroom require exhausted fan cfm? maybe I should keep it running for at least 20mns after each shower.

Finally, to calculate total cfm for my situation: 7.5 cfm/occupant + 3 cfm/100 ft² of living area, We are 5 at home me my wife and 3 kids. So total cfm is: 7.5*5 + 3cfm*20(of living area)=97.5 at least, thisis right? but the equation assumes the number of occupants equal to the number of bedrooms plus one and as I have 3 bedrooms the total cfm will be 7.5*4+3cfm*20=90cfm. As VanEE has different models for an HRV which is suited best for my house? between do you guys recommend other than VanEE brand? Lastly, for the ducting inside the house, do you suggest Insulated flexible pipe or rectangular galvanized steel?
Deal Guru
User avatar
Feb 8, 2014
13193 posts
3212 upvotes
You need to identify the problem before looking at solutions
You have condensation in the winter
This means you may have humidity issues.
Where are they coming from?
Its not coming from high house air leakiness, that would reduce humidity because cold outdoor air coming inside lowers indoor humidity.
Is your basement concrete or finished or dirt floors/walls?
Are there water leaks or open water in the house, do you shower frequently without venting the moist air, do you do lots of cooking with water boiling, dry your clothes indoors, wash the floors very frequently, vent your dryer indoors, have an aquarium etc?
You should measure your indoor humidity on each floor in winter. Humidity meters are not expensive, big box stores typically sell small ones for a few dollars each.
Your windows also matter, double pane does not mean insulated enough to overcome moisture issues. Are they vinyl, wood, insulated, new, old, airtight?

Have you ever done a blower door test to determine air leakage rate of the house? It would be nice to know how much stack effect air loss your house experiences, above 5ACH50 you don't need an HRV/ERV. In an ideal house you would be below 1ACH50 and have a proper HRV (ERVs are rarely indicated but its location/house specific and can be).

An HRV will lower the indoor humidity in winter because its exchanging moist air for dry air while recovering some of the heat. An ERV would recover some of the moisture your venting in winter (along with heat) so it would be counter productive to your problem.
All that said you should consider summer issues, if you use AC quite a bit then an ERV will help that while an HRV would hurt (the opposite problem from winter).

Your answers to the above questions are needed to get to an answer
Lies, damned lies, statistics and alternative facts
Deal Addict
User avatar
Apr 25, 2011
1752 posts
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Laval
Quentin5 wrote:
Sep 14th, 2017 2:49 pm
You need to identify the problem before looking at solutions
You have condensation in the winter
This means you may have humidity issues.
Where are they coming from?
Its not coming from high house air leakiness, that would reduce humidity because cold outdoor air coming inside lowers indoor humidity.
Is your basement concrete or finished or dirt floors/walls?
Are there water leaks or open water in the house, do you shower frequently without venting the moist air, do you do lots of cooking with water boiling, dry your clothes indoors, wash the floors very frequently, vent your dryer indoors, have an aquarium etc?
You should measure your indoor humidity on each floor in winter. Humidity meters are not expensive, big box stores typically sell small ones for a few dollars each.
Your windows also matter, double pane does not mean insulated enough to overcome moisture issues. Are they vinyl, wood, insulated, new, old, airtight?

Have you ever done a blower door test to determine air leakage rate of the house? It would be nice to know how much stack effect air loss your house experiences, above 5ACH50 you don't need an HRV/ERV. In an ideal house you would be below 1ACH50 and have a proper HRV (ERVs are rarely indicated but its location/house specific and can be).

An HRV will lower the indoor humidity in winter because its exchanging moist air for dry air while recovering some of the heat. An ERV would recover some of the moisture your venting in winter (along with heat) so it would be counter productive to your problem.
All that said you should consider summer issues, if you use AC quite a bit then an ERV will help that while an HRV would hurt (the opposite problem from winter).


Your answers to the above questions are needed to get to an answer
Yes we cook a lot and shower everyday specially with 2 kids and bathroom vents not running enough for at least 20mns maybe 5mns in a maximum.
Our windows are vinyl and not sure if the previous owner change them, but in the basement we've change them from wood to vinyl 3 years ago.

My wife sometimes dry once a week few clothes inside the house.

I have 2 cracks in the basement to repaired in 2 weeks, during the spring when snow melt i saw few water in the unfinished room.

We have Wall-Mounted Heat Pump installed 3 years ago and we as AC and Heat during winter, our AC is being used in hot weather not all the times I don't think an HRV will be an issue for us during the summer.

my sister in law when visiting she always says your house is warm in winter, that's because there's no enough ventilation to change stale air into fresh air?
Deal Guru
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Feb 8, 2014
13193 posts
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Rlcky wrote:
Sep 14th, 2017 3:47 pm
Yes we cook a lot and shower everyday specially with 2 kids and bathroom vents not running enough for at least 20mns maybe 5mns in a maximum.
Our windows are vinyl and not sure if the previous owner change them, but in the basement we've change them from wood to vinyl 3 years ago.

My wife sometimes dry once a week few clothes inside the house.

I have 2 cracks in the basement to repaired in 2 weeks, during the spring when snow melt i saw few water in the unfinished room.
This is hard to diagnose over the internet, you might be putting enough water into the air to matter, you may not. Humidity readings for each floor in winter would be very instructive. Do you have a humidifier running in winter, either on furnace or separate?
Under say 30% humidity on each floor and you should be fine and if there is still condensation it suggests (but not proves) your windows are crummy. In some cases even at 20% or less can cause condensation. Also it depends on the temperature difference, if you only get condensation on the coldest days of the year then its not worth fixing. How bad is the condensation and do you know the center pane U factor for your windows? What is the 99% design temperature for your location? You may have to google this one


We have Wall-Mounted Heat Pump installed 3 years ago and we as AC and Heat during winter, our AC is being used in hot weather not all the times I don't think an HRV will be an issue for us during the summer.
In winter an HRV will lower humidity of the house in summer it will raise it. An ERV should prevent humidity reduction in winter and attempt to prevent its rise in summer. ERVs are typically not very effective at handling humidity despite the hype and unless your house is exceptional an HRV is typically recommended despite the summer humidity penalty.
my sister in law when visiting she always says your house is warm in winter, that's because there's no enough ventilation to change stale air into fresh air?
Thats is a load of nonsense. You want your house to be warm in winter and it has little to do with ventilation. In fact you could be over ventilated and paying for it in higher bills, you will be warm but out the heating money :facepalm:

The goal is to have proper ventilation but not too much, an airtight house with an HRV is whats typically recommended, in the building science world the saying goes build tight, ventilate right. Heat is temperature, ventilation is concentration of oxygen/carbon dioxide/VOCs (in simplified form). You can have hot or cold stale air.
By your sister in law's logic if you turn down your thermostat in winter the air will magically freshen itself. Sorry it doesn't work this way.

I would get a blower door test done and find all the leakage vectors, from basement floor to top floor ceiling (borrow a ladder if need be). During the test check every square meter of your house with your hands to identify air leakage sources, i would take pics with your phone so you know what to seal. The stack effect takes no prisoners and the test will give you a number you can work with. The stack effect involves warm air going out the top of our ceiling though gaps and fixtures being replaced by cold air from below. You want to seal both to prevent this loss which can be a huge portion of your heating bill. If i could see you house i could try to advise better but a house being warm in winter is a good thing for humans not indicative of stale air
Lies, damned lies, statistics and alternative facts
Deal Addict
User avatar
Apr 25, 2011
1752 posts
4909 upvotes
Laval
Quentin5 wrote:
Sep 14th, 2017 4:07 pm
This is hard to diagnose over the internet, you might be putting enough water into the air to matter, you may not. Humidity readings for each floor in winter would be very instructive. Do you have a humidifier running in winter, either on furnace or separate?
Under say 30% humidity on each floor and you should be fine and if there is still condensation it suggests (but not proves) your windows are crummy. In some cases even at 20% or less can cause condensation. Also it depends on the temperature difference, if you only get condensation on the coldest days of the year then its not worth fixing. How bad is the condensation and do you know the center pane U factor for your windows? What is the 99% design temperature for your location? You may have to google this one




In winter an HRV will lower humidity of the house in summer it will raise it. An ERV should prevent humidity reduction in winter and attempt to prevent its rise in summer. ERVs are typically not very effective at handling humidity despite the hype and unless your house is exceptional an HRV is typically recommended despite the summer humidity penalty.

Thats is a load of nonsense. You want your house to be warm in winter and it has little to do with ventilation. In fact you could be over ventilated and paying for it in higher bills, you will be warm but out the heating money :facepalm:

The goal is to have proper ventilation but not too much, an airtight house with an HRV is whats typically recommended, in the building science world the saying goes build tight, ventilate right. Heat is temperature, ventilation is concentration of oxygen/carbon dioxide/VOCs (in simplified form). You can have hot or cold stale air.
By your sister in law's logic if you turn down your thermostat in winter the air will magically freshen itself. Sorry it doesn't work this way.

I would get a blower door test done and find all the leakage vectors, from basement floor to top floor ceiling (borrow a ladder if need be). During the test check every square meter of your house with your hands to identify air leakage sources, i would take pics with your phone so you know what to seal. The stack effect takes no prisoners and the test will give you a number you can work with. The stack effect involves warm air going out the top of our ceiling though gaps and fixtures being replaced by cold air from below. You want to seal both to prevent this loss which can be a huge portion of your heating bill. If i could see you house i could try to advise better but a house being warm in winter is a good thing for humans not indicative of stale air
I can tell I don't high hydro bill, we do pay 170$ per month compared to modern houses, 170$ includes running pool pump for 5 months.

I have small dehumidifier in the basement but i didn't run it for the past 3 years maybe i should, just an FYI during the really cold weather the condensation was turning into ice on the lower part of the windows, sorry no i don't know the center pane u-factor.

between does all the basements does smell odor?
Deal Guru
User avatar
Feb 8, 2014
13193 posts
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Rlcky wrote:
Sep 14th, 2017 4:29 pm
I can tell I don't high hydro bill, we do pay 170$ per month compared to modern houses, 170$ includes running pool pump for 5 months.
This does not say much how many kW are being used for heating and what is the COP of your heat pump and is it the only heat source?
I have small dehumidifier in the basement but i didn't run it for the past 3 years maybe i should, just an FYI during the really cold weather the condensation was turning into ice on the lower part of the windows, sorry no i don't know the center pane u-factor.
The dehumidifier should only be needed in summer if the humidity in the basement goes above 65%. Set it for 60% and it should prevent summertime mold. In winter you should not have humidity issues at all since the outdoor air is colder then indoor, but like i said you should check humidity on each level over time. If its hits 65% in winter then you have a water problem that can lead to mold formation.
between does all the basements does smell odor?
It should not, this suggests a mold problem.
Lies, damned lies, statistics and alternative facts

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