Thursday, February 21, 2013

House Rebalanced, Bonus Room Fix Attempt 2 Inbound

So a bit of informational backstory as to all of the different parties involved in our Bonus Room cold issue.  Ryan Homes is the builder.  They had an engineer design the HVAC system based on the design of the house, which as part of that design has certain expected CFM values per vent to make it work as designed.  This is then installed by the HVAC subcontractor upon build (Sobieski in our instance), and verified by a third party Energy Star inspection company (PEG Environmental).  As part of our service request, since this is a continuing issue Ryan wanted to bring out PEG to inspect everything again before having the HVAC contractor try some more dark magic to fix the problem.

Fast forward to yesterday when the fine folks at PEG Environmental (actually an independent subcontractor hired by them, who in turn was hired by Ryan) came out and did a re-balancing of our vents in the house.  Most of them checked out AOK and some had a few tweaks.  I then showed my wonderful makeshift two sensor thermometer in the Bonus room reading 6 degrees colder than the thermostat at about 4-5ft and a whopping 14 degrees colder at the floor.  The PEG guy had an idea about why it was cold, and set up a blower test. 

The blower test actually creates a negative air pressure inside of your house, which makes it easy to feel where the drafts are entering your home.  Thankfully he offered to do this, because it showed that the cold air was blowing in along the bottom of the walls under the baseboard.  Since those walls are kneewalls, and there is space behind them to allow the airflow for the roof to work correctly this makes sense.  The kneewalls itself were insulated but there was no sealant for the interface between the kneewall and the floor.  The HVAC system was fighting a losing battle between the hot air it was pushing into the room from the top vs. the cold air drafting in from three sides on the floor. 

The gentleman then reported back to my service rep at Ryan what he found, and they're going to try and foam seal along that frame, which involves pulling up the carpet and removing the baseboard to get in there.  Hopefully this will alleviate the problem, and I'll be sure to add another follow up when its completed.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bonus Room Update

After having RH adjust vents all over the place, not good:

Thermostat downstairs (we only have 1 with the 1 zone system), was set to 73 degrees.  I really want to see their Energy Star certification testing documents, I'm getting the impression that it was rubber-stamped and they didn't actually test anything.

Time to submit another ticket...

Morning Room Ceiling Fan

 I promised a separate post for the morning room ceiling fan install, so here it goes.  We had the ceiling fan prewire done in this room (highly recommended, only marginally more expensive than standard light rough-in) since it would have been a royal PITA to do it after the fact.  In the first picture you can see what a ceiling fan rough-in looks like.  Note the can isn't open in the middle, as it's around a beam in the center.  All of our ceiling fan rough-ins are like this, I'm presuming to use the beam as additional structural integrity for the forces of the fan.
 The ceiling in the Victoria Falls is great however we wanted the fan (that will be over a table) closer to the ceiling height of the kitchen for lighting purposes.  We used a 36" drop pole to make this happen, it's perfectly in line with the ceiling in the kitchen, so it's high enough to not do anything stupid with your hands in the blade (not that you would!) but low enough to make the light adequate for the table.  The fan install is a bit hard to do by yourself for one reason:  trying to hang the fan and drop pole by yourself with the Hunter kit is awkward on a ladder due to the fact you have to "hook" the drop plate onto the mounting bracket by tilting the whole assembly sideways.  It's much easier if you have an extra set of hands hold the base up on the side while you hook this into place.
 If I didn't have to stop for that extra assistance, the fan install would have taken me less than an hour.  So far everything has been great with the fan, and I'd buy a Hunter fan again.