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MartyZ

Calling all HVAC pros - need advice

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Ok, so I know absolutely nothing about HVAC, or local codes regarding it, so here is my situation.

I have a rental property in Freehold that needed a new furnace back in April, I had a guy come in from a recommendation to replace the furnace. He gave a whole spiel of how when the condo was designed the return for the furnace was both too small and it was in the bedroom so when the door was closed the furnace would basically be choked off. I believed him, he was most likely right, but what he did to resolve the issue is a different story. Also, I do need to add that I was not there at the time, my tenants were, so I was unable to stop him from doing what he did and afterwards is was too late.

So what he did was run a brand new return thru the kitchen and into the living room, on the OUTSIDE of the wall, see pics below. It is horrendous and now I need to figure out a way to fix it. Also, he made no mention to mee that a permit is required, I just found out a few days ago from a friend, and now i'm worried that the way he routed the return won't pass inspection.

 IMG_5943(1).thumb.jpg.3d6eb56421cf22db4f8ef86fdcf33e8c.jpg

IMG_5944(1).thumb.jpg.8d73465e739fa3d4f5dd426015b6cb54.jpg

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I have an HVAC company that did the entire system in my house. But I wanted some advice before going to someone who might benefit by giving me advice that can result in additional work that I might or might not need.

In other words, I want to know what my options are before having yet another HVAC company turn me into a sucker.

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Looks like I can't cut the ducts down to have the return in the kitchen, so I would most likely have to build a box around the duct.

M1602.2 Return Air Openings

Return air openings for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems shall comply with all of the following:

  1. Openings shall not be located less than 10 feet (3048 mm) measured in any direction from an open combustion chamber or draft hood of another appliance located in the same room or space.
  2. The amount of return air taken from any room or space shall be not greater than the flow rate of supply air delivered to such room or space.
  3. Return and transfer openings shall be sized in accordance with the appliance or equipment manufacturers' installation instructions, Manual D or the design of the registered design professional.
  4. Return air shall not be taken from a closet, bathroom, toilet room, kitchen, garage, mechanical room, boiler room, furnace room or unconditioned attic.

    Exceptions:
    1. Taking return air from a kitchen is not prohibited where such return air openings serve the kitchen only, and are located not less than 10 feet (3048 mm) from the cooking appliances.
    2. Dedicated forced-air systems serving only the garage shall not be prohibited from obtaining return air from the garage.
  5. Taking return air from an unconditioned crawl space shall not be accomplished through a direct connection to the return side of a forced-air furnace. Transfer openings in the crawl space enclosure shall not be prohibited.
  6. Return air from one dwelling unit shall not be discharged into another dwelling unit.

 

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According to the guy who installed it, the original return is too small for current codes and systems, the building is over 20 years old. And it is also what caused the early demise of the previous furnace, which was overheating on a regular basis.

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16 minutes ago, MartyZ said:

According to the guy who installed it, the original return is too small for current codes and systems, the building is over 20 years old. And it is also what caused the early demise of the previous furnace, which was overheating on a regular basis.

... but you don't trust him ...

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I didn't say I didn't trust him from a technical perspective, for all I know it made sense since the furnace kept overheating and shutting off before it finally died. I said I didn't like how he resolved the issue and the fact that he did not tell me about the need for a permit. And from what I have been able to find online, what he did should conform to code, it's just FUGLY. My current tenants don't mind but i'm not sure if the inspector will require me to cover it up.

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Build a soffit around it , I would frame it out with 1 5/8"  metal studs.  Pull the crown molding from the top of the cabinet and run the rock   the full length . Tape and spackle  , Paint and then trim the crown and reinstall it. 

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If you don't have to cover it just paint it the wall color. It's ghetto but it's a rental and you don't have to live with it lol. Wham bam done you can always do something in the future and besides it may not look that bad :p If you do box it out beware of the low corner on the elbow, could clip a head at that height.

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2 hours ago, MartyZ said:

I guess i'll have to get the inspection done before I see whether or not I have to cover it. Now I just need to figure out how to apply for the permit

Was it a licensed contractor? If so, it's his problem, not yours.

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“Choking off” you called it is for COMBUSTION air, not return air.  You have a slotted door.  That’s to let combustion air in.  But when the bedroom door is closed he says it’s Choking the flame?   That’s plausible.  I’ve never heard of lack of return air choking a furnace.  It would just cause poor heating flow.    Return air is not the same as combustion air 

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That's what he told me, and I believed him, it was overheating and shutting off constantly, so idk. Like I said, I know nothing about the subject so he could have told me anything and I would believe him.

Thats not the issue at hand, my issue now is how do I fix it? Is it to code? and how do I submit a permit application?

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Unfortunately, you are going to have to hire a licensed contractor to pull the permits. Whether its the guy who did the work or someone else.

You are allowed to pull your own permits in your own home, if you live there. You are not allowed to pull your own on property you own but don't live in,

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15 hours ago, Brisco said:

Unfortunately, you are going to have to hire a licensed contractor to pull the permits. Whether its the guy who did the work or someone else.

You are allowed to pull your own permits in your own home, if you live there. You are not allowed to pull your own on property you own but don't live in,

And no licensed professional would ever put their name on someone else's work. So i'm basically screwed and have to pay this ass $500 and deal with his whining :facepalm:

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I've had a lot of work done to my HVAC over the years and some has involved duct work and i've never thought or was told that a permit was needed.  I mean all they did was add a duct.    Are we stressing the OP out here?

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