What were you thinking? A tale of Attic HVAC’s- Wenatchee Home Inspections

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Home Inspector with NCW Home Inspections, LLC

What were you thinking? A tale of Attic HVAC’s- Wenatchee Home Inspection

                                              



It is not unusual to see the furnace air handling units in Attics and Crawlspaces. Though not the norm, space sometimes dictates using these areas for these units
.
I am not a big fan of these placements due to the fact that it makes service and maintenance more difficult. These components are already not usually serviced as recommended or required.

But this example lands in the land of “What were you thinking?”

This particular home was served by two air handling units located in two different attic spaces. Both air handlers had AC evaporator coils.

 

To change the air filter in one unit you had to climb over it to get to the filter housing. But on the other unit this was not the issue. The issue was that you could not get the air filter in without mangling it a bit. I guess they need a flex filter.

                       difficult air filter placement


To top it off the offending HVAC handler had no secondary pan.

                                                                   

                        No secondary drain pan

                                   Secondary Drain pan


                                               
The IRC (International Residential Code) is pretty clear here-

M1411.3.1 Auxiliary and secondary drain systems.

In addition to the requirements of Section M1411.3, a secondary drain or auxiliary drain pan shall be required for each cooling or evaporator coil where damage to any building components will occur as a result of overflow from the equipment drain pan or stoppage in the condensate drain piping.

Since there are rooms directly under this space I think this qualifies.

It looks like the HVAC technician is going to have a fun job here.

 

 



 

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

 

Benjamin Franklin

 

NCW Home Inspections, LLC  is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Orville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…    
  

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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Looks like it may be "rubber filter" time---Gumby makes them.

Dec 02, 2011 04:36 PM #1
Rainmaker
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Jeremy Wrenn
Wrenn Home Improvements - Wake Forest, NC
President, Wrenn Home Improvements

Looks like a disaster waiting to happen.  I HATE putting things with water (or in this case condensing ability) in the attic.  It's not a question of "will it leak", but "when will it leak?"  ARRGGHH!

Nice job on the filter, being able to find it that is, Donald!

Dec 03, 2011 12:16 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,282,653
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Great post again Don.  And suggested again Don.

Two problems I see with attic units (and one of mine is in the attic, with the filters in the ceiling returns) -

1.  The scuttle hole is too small to get it out!
2.  They are laid on their sides and they aren't the unit that is supposed to be laid on the side!

Of course, the filter changing, if it is up there, is a bear too, and often neglected.

Dec 03, 2011 06:56 AM #3
Rainmaker
385,916
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Charlie, I think you are right.

Jeremy, I have to agree but I see this fairly often. Many times they have a nice platform designed for this installation.

Jay, The design of this situation was less than desirable. Jay in this scenario the return filter would be much better. I have seen some in the hall ceiling that are pretty easy to do. But almost always needs a ladder to access.

Dec 03, 2011 11:52 AM #4
Rainmaker
229,033
Jeremy Wrenn
Wrenn Home Improvements - Wake Forest, NC
President, Wrenn Home Improvements

Yes, often it's nice, but it's still not sensible.  :)

Dec 03, 2011 02:01 PM #5
Rainmaker
648,284
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

What you mean you have to service those things?! Perhaps the architects should think about dedicated spaces for these things. 

Dec 03, 2011 02:51 PM #6
Rainmaker
385,916
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jeremy, This may be true.

Jim, that is a good question, it seems that HVAC is optional. I know one builder out here who makes a very nice closet in the garage that houses the HVAC and water heater. Easy access and looks good too.

Dec 03, 2011 07:56 PM #7
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Donald Hester

NCW Home Inspections, LLC
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