Walking around as I do during a final inspection on a new construction, I was looking for the register of the HVAC duct which services the kitchen, saying here duct, duct, duct. I was having a hard time finding it. I looked on the ceiling and on the floor. Each room should have at least one.
Finally I found an opening in the kick cabinet kick plate. No register cover, just a hole. Putting my hand down, I felt just a small amount of air.
One thing I do on new construction is turn on the system to get it running, and then measure the airflow from each of the registers.
I felt very little air here, so I measured it with my cubic feet per minute meter.
It produced 111 cfm. Too little.
Looking inside the cabinet I could see why.
The "register" is in the right center of the photo, and is a small slice out of the floor.
It's not visible from underneath in the basement, covered by drywall.
It might be that it is serviced with a 4" flexible duct, but that would be too small for this room. It should be larger, 6" minimum, and be producing around 400 cfm. With this arrangement that could not happen here.
Also, the opening on the kick plate is very long (about 15"), too long for any register covers I have ever seen, and very narrow (about 2").
I'm not sure an HVAC professional was in charge of this set up - it can't work and the hole really can't be covered with a proper, slotted register cover. That might be why a cut-out hole was left uncovered.
What may have happened is that pre-drywall the measurement for the register placement was off slightly as regards the kitchen cabinets. And setting it up the HVAC sub thought the job was done.
And here we are now. All I can do it point it out to my client, and report what's going on in terms of the arrangement and air flow.
My recommendation: new construction often presents interesting things. This is certainly interesting. It was also very disconcerting to my client. When asked what could be done I said that the HVAC subcontractor needs to get together with the kitchen cabinet installer and figure out what to do now. It might not be an easy fix!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560