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  #11  
Old 2011-12-31, 06:22 AM
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good2know good2know is offline
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Yes thats it - section 6 page 15.

If you open the unit this am, is there water pooling in the bottom?

Was the insulation wet along the entire pipe? From the low spot towards unit? from the low spot to the wall?
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  #12  
Old 2011-12-31, 09:00 AM
Trepex Trepex is offline
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Yes thats it - section 6 page 15.

If you open the unit this am, is there water pooling in the bottom?

Was the insulation wet along the entire pipe? From the low spot towards unit? from the low spot to the wall?
Nope the unit is always bone dry inside. Duct had only ever been saturated in one spot at a time. Twice it was in a sagging section closer to the exterior cap, then most recently only where you see in the photo. They cut a patch closer to the cap (can also see in the photo) to check but it was completely dry.

I'm thinking that the most recent leak may have been caused by a bad seal or gap in insulation at the place where they patched on the new length of duct. I'll insist that they replace the whole run this time and I'll watch that they terminate per the instructions.

Any other ideas? Really appreciate the help!
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  #13  
Old 2011-12-31, 10:00 AM
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nope I'm out of thoughts ... even if the condensation was on the inside, and it flowed to the low spot where there was a hole, it won't keep saturating the insulation with a replacement pipe twice

maybe ask phil to have a look at this thread?
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  #14  
Old 2012-01-05, 12:14 PM
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OK so they just came and did the repair, but I have a few serious reservations. They start with the fact that he used duct tape everywhere (not foil tape or tuck tape) to make the seals. That seems wrong. The manual above does specify using duct tape to seal both ends but I had assumed it meant foil tape.

Thoughts? I'm tempted to go right now and rip everything out in order to redo it properly. If I do, should I use tuck tape for these seals, along with the zip ties, or maybe zip ties then foil tape? It seems extremely unlikely that cheapo "duck tape" is going to stand up, especially on the outside....
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  #15  
Old 2012-01-05, 06:19 PM
Trepex Trepex is offline
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Yup, so it was just as bad as I had guessed. I pulled the vent cap off to find a lazy duct tape job. The flex duct wasn't even sealed separately from the insulation and vapour barrier. Didn't get to see this part while he did the work, as I was inside helping to hold the duct in place. Anyway, the tape was already peeling back. I tore everything off and re-did it from scratch with foil tape and using duct ties to securely fasten everything. You can see a few before and after pics below.

I then went inside and re-did the connection to the unit as well. Again, he had just used duct tape and didn't bother to seal the duct itself, just stuck one screw through to hold it to the collar. Gawd. Why are these people so frigging incompetent?

Now the one positive thing here is that I think I might have found the reason for the leaks. There are so many long screws coming down from the floor... the flex duct was jammed up tightly against them and likely pierced in so many spots. He pulled out the old line too quickly before I could look at it in detail, but I found at least one or two small holes. With dozens of screws sticking 1/2" down though, I'm sure there were many more... The guy WAS at least extra careful not to puncture the new duct, and we stuck up a thin piece of OSB between the joists where the duct ran, so no screws were sticking down into the pipe.

Maybe my problem is finally solved? It's just so darn hard to know for sure that there aren't any small tears in the outer sleeve. At least the two ends are done properly though...
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  #16  
Old 2012-01-05, 07:43 PM
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I don't know Trepex but I think you probably should have waited to see if his fix was good or not. If it's leaking again and you phone them back, they will see what you did and maybe refuse to fix it or most likely bill you for their next visit.
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  #17  
Old 2012-01-05, 08:10 PM
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I don't know Trepex but I think you probably should have waited to see if his fix was good or not. If it's leaking again and you phone them back, they will see what you did and maybe refuse to fix it or most likely bill you for their next visit.
Fair point, however, I assure you that I'll never ever have Harding out to fix anything ever again. The first thing "S" said when he showed up was "I think I've been here before to fix this!" and then he checked the log and said "Yup! Here are my initials on a note from last January!" That was the second leak incident. I bet he "fixed" it the same way.

I mean come on... That's pretty atrocious! Before even peeling back the first layer of Duck tape you could see insulation poking out. Nice moisture barrier right there.
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  #18  
Old 2012-01-05, 08:14 PM
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Incidentally, the box of 25'x6" flex duct is $45 at Lowes. It was the exact same stuff. If I'm ever unlucky enough to have this happen again, I'll go back to investigating the cause and just do it myself again. That's the only thing Harding saved me from this time around.

Final Edit: I forgot to mention that between asking this morning about the Duck tape fix and then pulling everything apart, I called Venmar. Their customer support guys said that "Duck tape" was not what the instructions intended. He advised against tuck tape and said to use foil HVAC duct tape and duct ties (zip ties), which is what I did.

Last edited by Trepex; 2012-01-05 at 08:17 PM.
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  #19  
Old 2012-01-05, 10:37 PM
waikiki waikiki is offline
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Yup, so it was just as bad as I had guessed. I pulled the vent cap off to find a lazy duct tape job. The flex duct wasn't even sealed separately from the insulation and vapour barrier. Didn't get to see this part while he did the work, as I was inside helping to hold the duct in place. Anyway, the tape was already peeling back. I tore everything off and re-did it from scratch with foil tape and using duct ties to securely fasten everything. You can see a few before and after pics below.

I then went inside and re-did the connection to the unit as well. Again, he had just used duct tape and didn't bother to seal the duct itself, just stuck one screw through to hold it to the collar. Gawd. Why are these people so frigging incompetent?

Now the one positive thing here is that I think I might have found the reason for the leaks. There are so many long screws coming down from the floor... the flex duct was jammed up tightly against them and likely pierced in so many spots. He pulled out the old line too quickly before I could look at it in detail, but I found at least one or two small holes. With dozens of screws sticking 1/2" down though, I'm sure there were many more... The guy WAS at least extra careful not to puncture the new duct, and we stuck up a thin piece of OSB between the joists where the duct ran, so no screws were sticking down into the pipe.

Maybe my problem is finally solved? It's just so darn hard to know for sure that there aren't any small tears in the outer sleeve. At least the two ends are done properly though...
I find it weird that you can pull out the flex duct from outside. Don't you have a gap then around the duct and your wall? In our install the exterior portion that attaches to the wall is rigid and sealed. The flex duct connects from the inside only.
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  #20  
Old 2012-01-06, 10:46 AM
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I find it weird that you can pull out the flex duct from outside. Don't you have a gap then around the duct and your wall? In our install the exterior portion that attaches to the wall is rigid and sealed. The flex duct connects from the inside only.
Agreed, but what they did was just cut a square hole big enough for the insulated flex-pipe to fit through (but small enough that a vent cap easily covers it. Think "round peg in nice big ol' square hole". Ideally they'd have cut a 6"-diameter round hole and pushed the vent cap and rigid 6" through, then connected everything up inside.

I think I've achieved the same effect by connecting up to the rigid duct on the vent cap, sealing it, sealing the cap to the wall, then spray foaming the corners of the square hole from the inside. I'm pretty sure they do this because it's quicker to pull slack flex duct through the hole, connect up, then push it back through. It's a real b1tch to get up between the floor joists and seal the flex duct from the inside. Ideally you'd have the nice collar that caulks on to the vent cap, like shown on Page 16 of the manual, but I can't find that frigging cap/collar ANYWHERE.

At this point I'm pretty confident that if I have the same problem again, it's because of the the damned subfloor screws tearing holes in the outer jacket of the duct.

The installer did point out that a lot of people just never run their unit except for when the turn it on in the bathroom while showering. I, on the other hand, run it the majority of the time. This is why I got an ERV... so that I could have fresh air without humidity problems. So in the winter there's a pretty constant flow of cold air through this duct, and it's a lot more likely that I'd have condensation problems than someone who rarely uses the unit, right? I mean it's not unreasonable for me to want this right? The unit works perfectly and maintains humidity despite running nearly 24/7, season round. Why the hell should it be the insulated duct that causes me not to do this?

Last edited by Trepex; 2012-01-06 at 10:50 AM.
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