What I'm Seeing Now

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Do You Know What This Is? It's An HVAC Register!

Do you know what this is?  It's an HVAC register!

This is a high-velocity forced air system, sometimes called a "mini-duct" system.

And the ducts are really small!  About 2" wide.  And the covers are very attractive!

Larger rooms can need more than one register!  Very large rooms as many as 4 or 6.

 

 

 

 

These systems blow a lot of air.  These registers are blowing a little over 1200 cubic feet per minute. 

A register on a traditional system would be 400-600cfm.

Depending on where the unit is located, like in the attic, the registers can be put into the ceiling.

When do you typically see these systems?

This house was built in 1928.  When conventional ducts will not fit through or around older construction, these mini-duct systems are exceptionally useful when renovating and upgrading.

And don't worry about things falling into the ducts.  They are screened to prevent that.

It is recommended that you remove the screen periodically and vacuum out the duct below.

This is what the duct looks like from below.

It is truly a mini duct!  That is insulated, sealed very well, and aluminum tape holds the connection tightly and forever if done properly.

This is what the air handler looks like.  This is one of three in this house!  It's a big house.

In this house, two units like this are in the basement and one in the attic.  They are strictly for air conditioning, with conventional compressors outside.

These systems require that the air flows constantly.  So the blower is always running.

This is necessary to stir enough air in the room so the temperature between floor and ceiling rarely exceeds more than a couple of degrees.  With a conventional system the difference between floor and ceiling can be as much as 30 or 40 degrees in a loose house!

The constant air flow also reduces the amount of dust that can settle into the duct work. 

According to my research, when used for air conditioning, there is a greater reduction of humidity with these high-velocity systems.  This is because the pressure in the air system is greater, thereby allowing a smaller volume of air to transfer the same number of BTUs to the cooling system.  The same number of molecules of air are flowing, but they are packed together more tightly!  The volume of air flowing over the coils is reduced, so the air flows over the coils for more time, and more humidity is condensed out of the air.

There has to be room underneath the main level for these systems to be installed.  And you can see that in this house it works very well.

They are used often on historical properties.  I see them a lot in Virginia, but don't know about the rest of the country.  And why not?  The ducts can fit into tight spaces, so in older properties they work very well.

My recommendation:  the next time you see something like this, you can tell your clients what great systems they are! 

 

 

 

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 32 commentsJay Markanich • September 10 2011 06:41AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay. I have seen some of these in older farmhouses. The bad thing is, if not balanced, they'll really whistle Dixie...

Posted by Michael Thornton, Nashville Area - Photography & Videography (RadnorLake Video) over 9 years ago

Interesting I've never seen one of those before, another day in the AR Community for learning something new

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) over 9 years ago

Jay, as a matter of fact I do know what they are, I have seen one and only one so far. My good fortune was to be with a client who is a master plumber and heating guy out of NYC. I was scratching my head looking at 3 "holes" in the wall by the ceiling, he came along and explained what a fantastic system this is. So, I now look very smart when I talk about them.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 9 years ago

Jay:  I have a 1920's cottage listed that had a similar system installed about four years ago. It works great. Thanks for the very informative post. Reblog

Posted by Anne M. Costello (Weidel Realtors) over 9 years ago

Thanks Jay, I have had two of these systems in homes I have sold this past year and actually the homeowners who put them in had not a clue about them!!  They are far more attractive and the cooling is amazing for sure...thanks for the clarification on them.

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 9 years ago

I've seen them and did not know what they were and assumed the ducts were in the ceiling....NOW I KNOW!

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 9 years ago

Always like to be enlightened to new cool things. This is something I have never seen before.

Posted by Marco Giancola, Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida (Beachfront Realty) over 9 years ago

I have seen several in Fairfield County, Jay.  Now I understand more about them.  Thanks so much!   You are always full of such great information!

Posted by Dagny Eason, Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo (Dagny's Real Estate) over 9 years ago

How interesting.  I have not come across these yet...and if they were on the floors of homes I go into, i would notice them.  Thx for the education lesson, so when I do see one, I'll know what it is.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 9 years ago

Any system whistles Dixie, Michael!  But especially these.  These systems were done very well.

James - maybe one day when the houses get really old?  Kidding...

Andrea - good to hear they are elsewhere in the country!  I like these systems very much.

Anne - glad you like them.  I think they are very efficient and do a good job, heating and cooling.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Very interesting. I have never seen that type of system anywhere. I wonder if they are ever used in Florida.

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Ginny - they probably do a great job with heat up there too.  Why would someone put in a system about which they had no clue?

Then with this new knowledge, go, Wallace, and do that voodoo that you do so well.

Marco - I expected that lots of people have never seen these before!

Thanks Dags.  Sounds like you had a great soiree!  Any banana nut bread left over?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Debbie - they are very unobtrusive, but round, so it would be hard to cut wood and tile around them!

Gary - don't know!  But I suspect they would work really well there.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay - yes, I can see that...and that's why I would have noticed.  Also, I now start to look at vents re: covering them when we refinish floors.

But, does this mean they can't have carpet?  or do bedrooms have them just on the ceilings?

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 9 years ago

Debbie - they could only be used on ceilings if there is room in the attic for the air handler.  Usually there is.  You can see that the unit isn't that large.  Yes, they are used over carpeting.  The unit is a little tube and the bottom is cut to length, so it can pass through thick or thin floors, and accommodate whatever.  The very attractive, brass covers simply screw down.  It's a great system - you hardly notice the vent openings.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay - What about cost? How do these systems compare in price to a "conventional" system?   

Posted by Joshua Frederick, Home Inspector in Defiance & all of Northwest Ohio (Home Inspector for ASPEC Residential Services, LLC) over 9 years ago

Joshua - it needs an extra motor, the bigger box which you can see in the picture, which boosts the air flow.  but the rest is similar in cost.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Here a duct there a duct ...everywhere a duct duct....better tooo many than tooo few...

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 9 years ago

Sally - in this case more would blow a WHOLE lot more air!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Good morning Jay. You have schooled me again. Never seen any of those tiny registers before but am wonder what 1200 cubic feet per minute would sound like coming out of those small orifices. Bet it was noisy.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) over 9 years ago

Jay, I've never seen them in our area YET, but you've got to figure just a matter of time.  Thanks for the training session :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 9 years ago

No noise at all Randy.  It is a very competent and silent system.  Whistling can occur if there are gaps or cracks in the ducts.  But not here!

Bliz - they would only be where you have really old houses.  I expect you have some very old farm houses out there!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay, refresh my memory---what is air conditioning? :)  Barely see the regular systems---led alone these high velocity systems---they seem to make sense though

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Oh, sorry Charlie.   http://activerain.com/blogsview/2418663/just-how-hot-was-it-at-the-beach-

These are great units.  Makes me want to buy a 120 year old house just to have one!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

I've seen quite a few of these over the years in Arlington and Alexandria and have alwasys heard good things about them.

Posted by Justin Dibbs, REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale (Pearson Smith Realty) over 9 years ago

That's because they are most commonly found in older properties Justin, because they are small and fit everywhere.

It was great seeing you the other night too!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay - And all this time I thought they were loglighters and the builder just forgot to install the fireplace. Thanks for enlightening me : )

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 9 years ago

It does look a bit like the keyed safety valve for gas fireplaces, doesn't it John?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay, I've never seem them in the floor like that. Always seen them in the ceiling or high up on the walls.

Posted by Eric Michael, Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519 (Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI) over 9 years ago

They are in the ceiling on the upper level here Eric.  The one picture shows a ceiling register.

Are they even called registers?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay, I have never seen these, but will look out for a local installer.  I have clients often ask me for a preferred solution when they do not have a forced air heating system, and I think this would be it...

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 9 years ago

When space is a premium this is a great system Chris.  I see it a lot around here.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

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