What I'm Seeing Now

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Here duct, duct, duct.

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

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 22 commentsJay Markanich • November 29 2014 02:16AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay Markanich they are very fortunate that your found that now and there's an opportunity to fix this.... once that home is done, it's a court battle to get that ripped out and done properly....anything can be fixed, but at what cost!!!

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) almost 5 years ago

I have seen ducts to nowhere in new construction. Not hooked up ceiling holes and vents to crawl spaces.  I have noticed the most overlooked thing is the dryer vent to the attic laying under the insulation instead of going outside somewhere.

Posted by Richard Burge Realty/ Burge Homes, Broker in Charge/Owner (Richard Burge Realty/Burge Homes) almost 5 years ago

Good morning Jay Markanich. Posts like this just quack me up! I'm impressed that you do CFM tests. Talk about going above and beyond.

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) almost 5 years ago

Morning Jay I wonder how much like Barbara Torado it will cost to repair the issue.  

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) almost 5 years ago

Jay, an easy item to overlook by all but the well experienced professional. Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) almost 5 years ago

Good morning Jay,

You are right..it may not be an easy fix and better they sort it out now rather than after the buyer closed on the house. This could be a big deal and needs to be addressed now!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) almost 5 years ago

Jay,  a refreshing read today which is well thought out and dead on of our experiences.

Posted by Winston Heverly, GRI, ABR, SFR, CDPE, CIAS, PA (Winston Realty, Inc.) almost 5 years ago

Jay, we have a kitchen vent under the cabintetry in our house that puts out a large airflow. I guess a lot depends on the duct, duct, ductwork. I think the fix will be nasty unless they can run a new duct under the kitchen to this location!

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) almost 5 years ago

I am not a big fan of kick plate ducts, as they are often afterthoughts, as you demonstrate here. The buyers should insist it be fixed properly even if the builder objects to cutting up the sheet rock in the finished lower level

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 5 years ago

Jay, I have found this exact set up many times. The cabinets get nice and warm though 

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

The opportunity to find something like this and repair it is now Barbara.

That too Richard!  Today I had a bedroom with no HVAC duct (it was blowing onto the ceiling, no hole cut) and two bathrooms venting into insulation.

I do on new construction Michael.  And if ducts don't blow hard in existing homes I measure it too.

Wayne - I have to look for registers in new construction.  Sometimes they are missing!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

James - I don't know but I'd like to see if it is done right!

Dorie - silliness like this is always a big deal.  It has to be rectified.

Thanks Winston.  The squirrel found the nut...

Tom - it works as intended because it is connected!  As intended.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Ed - I think they will have to do a lot of cutting to fix this one.

Don - will make for a nice winter home for the mice!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

That set up is quite common. I would expect to see another register in addition to this one in the kitchen however. Doubt that one is enough. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 5 years ago

It is when it is connected to a duct, Jim, and actually blows air.  The length of the cut opening is a problem too, too long for the traditional register.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Like I said, that set up is quite common and is not typically the only register in the kitchen. At least in these parts. It is usually right in front of the sink to keep your toes warm. No one likes cold toes :)

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Agreed - when I see them in front of the kitchen sink, iff'n they are a'blowin', I point it out to my clients and say something about the warm (or cool) toes!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

Looks like someone was thinking (or not) on the fly! Get those pre-drywall inspections folks!!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) almost 5 years ago

Jay, I've seen things like this before. With the high-speed way houses are thrown up today, it doesn't surprise me.

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) almost 5 years ago

We did one Fred!  I did it!  but at that time the hole had been cut but it was not evident that it would be inside the cabinet!

Mike - great new avatar!  You old coot. 

That's my youngest grandson preparing Thanksgiving dinner.

These things aren't too surprising to me either.  And apparently so surprising the supervisor pretends not to notice.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

That odd size can be a problem now that it is cut out Jay, but I'm sure those same great mind will come up with something.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) almost 5 years ago

I think they should raze the house and start over Tom.

That's often their facetious answer when I point out something.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 5 years ago

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