What I'm Seeing Now

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Return To HVACbithia - Take Two

Look at this photo and put on your CSI hats.  What do you see?

There are many things to see:

1.  There is a properly-installed heat pump and level drip pan to capture any over flow condensation.

2.  The drip pan has rust inside, which means there has been previously filled from clogging in the past.

3.  The primary condensate line, with the purple drip on it, has a trap - very good!  But the opening and the tube are 3" OUTSIDE the drip pan, so if there is dripping from the tubing it will not get captured.

4.  The primary line connects into the secondary condensate line just beyond that little puff of pink insulation on the left.  If there is a clog beyond that point, the drip pan will overflow.  There was no float shut-off device, so that pan would leak into the house.  The secondary line should drain by itself, and to the outdoors.

5.  The return duct, which appeared in the previous HVAC post, is resting INSIDE the drip pan.  This can more easily cause an over flow!  It has been tied down with tape to prevent it from moving and holding it DOWN.  The return duct could have and should have been installed into another opening.

6.  What you can't see from this direction, since there is no way to replace or clean the filter from the very high return slot (without a cover anyway), one would have to schlep into the attic to get to the filter.  The filter slot has been completely blocked with the chain that hangs the unit from the roof rafter.  It cannot be budged!!  I don't know how long this unit has been in place.  The manufacturer's date says the unit is a year old, but gives no hint as to the installation date.  But you should replace or clean the filter once a month!

7.  Frightfully, the electric cable also passes through the drip pan!  The drip pan fills with WATER.  WE know that because there is rust.  This is NOT good.

8.  They didn't mind the cable passing through water, but they were careful enough to install a CONNECTOR CLAMP !!  Oh, happy day!

So, with this "professional" installation, we have the good, the bad and the ugly.  But the house was cool!

My recommendation:  Get a home inspection!  What appears to be one thing, may actually be another.  Just because there is a new unit in place, does not mean it is properly in place.

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 8 commentsJay Markanich • July 19 2009 06:01AM

Comments

I wonder why builders do not take care when they build homes.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 11 years ago

Gita - this is a new installation on an older home.  But your point about care is the bottom line, isn't it!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 11 years ago

Jay, I guess you just can't get good help these days.  It must have also been installed on a Monday or Friday.

Posted by Kevin Cavanaugh, Lic. Associate Broker, ABR, GREEN (Keller Williams Hudson Valley Realty) about 11 years ago

Kevin - or Monday through Friday...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 11 years ago

Jay, we don't see very many attic furnaces with or without AC/Heat Pump.  That pan sure looks like it was for the previous furnace and is the roof really designed to carry the furnace?  Looks like a mess to me.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 11 years ago

Charlie - this house was 5' underwater during Isabel and the old boiler in a side room off the first floor had to be replaced.  They simply removed it and put this heat pump in the attic.  Smart place, since the house is 300 yards from the Potomac River.  It might be that they brought this pan from another job, but I don't think so.  The roof is the old stick-built large rafters toe nailed into a ridge beam.  There were vertical members attached to the rafters near the heat pump, ostensibly to better handle the weight.  I see this application all the time here without significant sagging of the roof structure.  If the rafters were 2x4's I would be concerned.  But your word mess is a good one!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 11 years ago

I'm not seeing the problem here Jay. You said the house is cool. ;-)

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 11 years ago

Yep, James - good, bad and ugly.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 11 years ago

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