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redheadedjoe 07-04-2012 08:47 PM

Basement VERY humid
We just bought our first house. Built in 1920 & each owner has added to it through the years. It's about 1400 sq ft upstairs & 400 downstairs. Upstairs never cools below 80 degrees but I believe I need to replace the ducts that are located outside, underneath the home. Here are my questions:
1.) why is the basement so humid damp & cold?
2.) what can I do to find the cause & fix the issue for the basement?
3.) is it normal for your air ducts to be running under your home where birds can nest & tear them apart
4.) what are my options for running new flex ducts to keep animals from tearing them up, estimated cost & opinion on if I should do it myself (I have no attic)

More info: a/c & furnace replaced in 2007 with carrier brand. Never been maintained, replaced relay in 2011. I've scheduled a guy to come do maintenance on it next Thursday (soonest they could get me in without an emergency)
5.) what can I ask this guy while he's out, or do I need to make another appt to have one of them come inspect & give me an idea of the issues

joecaption 07-04-2012 08:54 PM

Your there looking at it, were not. Post some pictures so we can all see what your looking at.

redheadedjoe 07-04-2012 09:04 PM

Pictures of outside ducts?

redheadedjoe 07-04-2012 09:24 PM

2 Attachment(s)
These are photos taken from my laptop since its like 9:30 pm here I don't have lighting to show it currently. The photo was actually taken to show that our beam is twisting but that's in the works of finding a contracting to pour a new foundation.

Missouri Bound 07-04-2012 09:56 PM

A 90+ year old home will have a cold an damp basement....period. Insulation will help the issue. Does it have a floor, hard to tell from the pictures, it looks more like a crawl space. And it's more likely rodents than birds...birds don't go under a home.... a bat may. If there is room to work under there I would replace all the flex with rigid duct, and insulate it. The house is fairly small and homes built 90 years ago were built without insulation...hopefully some of the owners have improved that situation. And as far as what to ask the contractor(s) make up a list with EVERYTHING you can think of. If you can't get some answers, or don't like the answer you get, keep looking for different contractors. It's your money.

redheadedjoe 07-04-2012 10:24 PM

The house is built atop a bluff. You can call it a crawl space but for the most part the incline makes it possible to stand underneath most of the house except the original part of the home. So there's nothing I can do about the basement is what your saying? I see birds nests in between the flex duct & flooring. I am pretty sure the previous owners were not smart enough to insulate & if they did, it was the crappiest stuff they could find. I'm sure there's plenty of people who can relate to myself, but it seems that now that I live here, I'm beginning to inspect the house with a fine comb & the previous owners cut corners like you wouldn't believe. I've never done hvac before but I'm a fast learner & don't cut corners. Advice? Tips?

Anesthesiologis 07-04-2012 10:27 PM

Waterproofing the home is always an option. Considering the square-footage of your basement, it might cost a little over $10,000. My neighboor did that next door and his basement is dry as a bone. I would only advise this if you are planing on staying in your home for a long while.

Missouri Bound 07-04-2012 10:33 PM

It's not a living area but I get your point. Foam insulation works well in "crawl" spaces that aren't typically living space. You can have it spray foamed and that would be the best way to close up all openings. If at all possible go with rigid ductwork and insulate it well. If the moisture is coming up from the ground then some type of vapor barrier can be installed on the ground. Insulation, ventilation...a lot of possibilities to correct the dampness. Nothing you can't solve with a little due diligence.

scottmcd9999 07-05-2012 07:05 AM

I've never been an advocate of flex duct under a house, and in fact in many places that could be a code violation (many codes state that you can only use flex ducts for "terminations" - about 6' on the end of a metal run to connect the metal to the register/boot). It's also very important to have the duct work properly sized, configured and sealed. In my experience, even those who are very, very handy don't really understand ductwork well, and should leave the design and install of entire systems to the professionals. Fixing a duct or two is one thing. Reworking an entire system is another.

Regarding the humidity in the crawlspace: do you have a vapor barrier (i.e. plastic sheeting covering the ground)? This can help to some degree, as it will stop surface moisture from evaporating. You might also consider installing power fans to remove the humidity under the house. There are some that can be installed in the foundation vents, and can be set to come on at a particular temp or humidity level.

redheadedjoe 07-05-2012 07:45 AM

3 Attachment(s)
The crawl space is actually open all around it so if a deer wants to shak up under the home, he can. I've added photos. We have an actual basement with the following stuff in it water heater, dryer, washer, storage, bathroom, storage. The chance of me ever doing anything underneath the actual basement or to waterproof would be when I begin to redo the plumbing in the years to come. The inspector told us the grey water was in violation of code, but I can't fix it without tear out my deck because we live on top of stone, not dirt.

Missouri Bound 07-05-2012 07:55 AM

:eek: Wow. Where do I start? All the ductwork needs replacement with rigid insulated duct. Do you intend to close in that area or leave it alone? That can't be the area you are talking about as being damp and's an open space. You picture shows me that you have left out a few details. You may be able to replace the duct then enclose everything with a structure. That would close it up and allow some insultion to be applied to the floor.

redheadedjoe 07-05-2012 08:15 AM

The actual basement is humid & damp. I don't smell mold but I worry that could be next. I do want to close that area in, the structure is falling off the bluff so it will be enclosed when we get a contractor to pour a foundation surrounding it. How much do you think it would cost to hire someone to put new rigid ducts in?

redheadedjoe 07-05-2012 08:20 AM

3 Attachment(s)
The area you are seeing in the photos is below the first floor. The basement is right next to this area. The last photo is of my basement

beenthere 07-05-2012 06:37 PM

The condenser being under there doesn't help it any.

ben's plumbing 07-06-2012 06:50 PM

please tell me that this is a i say wow...start over ...:eek:

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