No Airflow on Second Floor
LESLIE: Justin in Illinois is dealing with an unbalanced HVAC system. Tell us about the problem.
JUSTIN: Yes. I just bought a house last year and it was just recently flipped and I can’t get no airflow to my upstairs.
TOM: So, we have no airflow whatsoever on the second floor?
JUSTIN: Well, I can breathe harder than it can blow.
TOM: That’s coming out of there? Alright. So the duct system is somehow restricted to the second floor and this never came up in a home inspection or anything like that?
JUSTIN: It’s got that insulated fiberglass – that flexible ductwork.
JUSTIN: And it’s got 14 ducts coming out of it. I don’t know if that’s …
TOM: Fourteen ducts? Like it looks like an octopus?
TOM: Yeah, that probably wasn’t installed right. Typically, you need to have a trunk line and then the ducts come off of that. I’ve seen those installations where you have one big, central dispatch point and then lots of hoses coming off of that and that’s never going to be very efficient.
JUSTIN: Yeah, that’s what I was wondering.
TOM: I have a feeling you’re going to have to do some duct work here. And what you want to do – is this on a basement or a crawlspace?
JUSTIN: It’s in a basement, yes.
TOM: So what you want to do is you probably want to have hard ducts until you get to the dispatch point that goes up into the wall and then you can switch to flex duct.
But I have a feeling that this was not installed correctly and as a result, you’re not getting the airflow that you need.
JUSTIN: Would I be better off shutting – I mean closing off some of them other ducts that I don’t need?
TOM: Well, that’s a very short-term solution, Justin. The problem here is that you don’t have a properly installed duct system.
TOM: And you need to get the air where it needs to get and part of a properly installed HVAC system is duct design. And there is some science behind it and there’s some standards of practice behind it. And when you have one distribution box and a lot of – 14 different hoses coming off it, that’s not going to work.
TOM: There’s so much back pressure when the blower comes on that not enough air can get into the ducts and make their way through the ducts up into the rooms.
TOM: Yeah. I would contact an HVAC contractor and have them evaluate it and give you an estimate on what it might take to correct this problem.
LESLIE: And have them evaluate the system.
JUSTIN: Yeah. I went running in quite a few problems on this flip.
LESLIE: No, no.
JUSTIN: But you know how that goes.
TOM: Yeah, well, welcome to home ownership, Justin. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.