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Old 03-15-2007, 11:11 PM   #1
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Rehab Mess- Ducts Knocking-Furnace Vibrating


(I知 copying most of this from a letter I知 preparing on this situation- not knowing if I知 going to have to get a lawyer. Hope this isn稚 too long.)

My furnace had worked well for the past 2 winter seasons. Furnace in home when I moved here 2 years ago- now about 10 years old.

In short, after work done in the crawlspace in and around my ductwork, the ducts are now banging and furnace is vibrating my living room floor / house. The details:

In late fall 2006, I went through a city home rehabilitation program that was a nightmare. Rehab program lends interest free money for repairs upgrades that THEY decide on. Lots of emphasis on lead paint containment. They provided the contractor, too. -BAD idea!- Loan is appended to mortgage and not due to be paid until the house is sold. Making it hard to withhold payment because I am unhappy. I am supposed to have a one year guarantee on materials and workmanship.

One part of the program was insulating my very tight crawlspace under 2 rooms. Barely enough room for a grown man to get in and not possible to turn clear over either. It was tight.

I told the contractor at the beginning, that other contractors I had looking at insulating the same area, told me that to do the insulating job correctly, one would have to take loose the heating pipes and return them after the insulation was finished. He looked me right in the face, almost laughing, and said, 的 can tell you, we aren稚 going to take loose any pipes. This turned into a major nightmare experience.

The contractor actually hired two 20 year old kids- one guy and one girl! Chosen for their size. So those tiny, young workers, with no previous experience, crawled over and around the pipes. Obviously moving their original position and (in retrospect) damaging my heating duct system.

Their activities were followed by the electricians crawling under the same area and tearing loose just laid insulation to do their work (the whole house was rewired). (And not replacing the insulation.)

Skipping many details here, most of the rest of the rehab was full of problems from poor workmanship, though the city rehab inspector kept telling me to push on with the first contractor, I finally insisted and FIRED them after about a month and a half.

The first team of young workers left at least one section that was found by the final HEATING crew in December, with just 2 pipes laid end to end- not connected- and covered with NEW insulation- HIDING that the pipes were bent and could not be- and WERE NOT EVEN CONNECTED. When the worker from the HEATING crew found this, I was near the opening and his words were literally, 展ho the he** did this? as he handed out the loosed ducts and piece of insulation to me. Those kids were just goofing around down there and getting paid for it.

This strengthened my opinion farther as to what a poor insulation job I got. The final insulation job looks terrible, with sections hanging loose from all the different groups of workers tearing it loose to move around in the crawl. It looked like they just opened my crawlspace door and THREW insulation inside. It is still like that today.

The new HEATING crew (provided by the city to repair the crummy work of the 1st contractor) worked on the furnace pipes under the floor, replacing some metal ducts with flexible tubes. (About a THIRD of the ducts were changed from metal to collapsible.) This crew was not part of the original rehab, but rather to correct the poor work that the first contractor had done.

In addition, it was discovered that I did not have a RETURN AIR duct connected. Don稚 know if I NEVER had one or it was disconnected by the 1st crummy contractor. At one point- they had the UPSTAIRS duct connected as the intake/ return! So one was connected, where it was not before, I would think changing the whole dynamics of the way the air now flows through the ductwork and heating system.

It was still fairly warm, due to our mild winter up to that point and after the new ductwork, furnace was never really turned on to 鍍est. This should have been tested as part of the work by the HEATING crew. I would have thought that day they were finished they would have said, 滴ey, we致e made a lot of changes to your system, lets turn it on and test to see if everything runs right. But this was a few days before Christmas and they had run late (7pm) as it was and were anxious to be gone.

So as it got cold enough to use the furnace, over time, I realized the living room floor was vibrating, where it did not before. You can hear and feel it emanate various places and times. I had an object on my stairway handrail post- it began lightly rattling there. Once the temp got to zero, it seemed to become worse. But I can safely say, it does this whether it痴 10 below or 60 degrees above outside.

Making matters worse, as the furnace comes on and goes off, there are now several BANGING NOISES / knocks from under the house where the ducts are. That were NEVER THERE BEFORE. Not from the furnace, but from the ducts in the crawlspace where the workers were. It seems to get worse as the day goes on. Making it sound like I知 in a factory when the furnace goes off and on a number of times in succession.

Looking at the running motor on the furnace, you can see some slight vibration. I don稚 know how much movement is 渡ormal and how it actually looked before. And if it is newly vibrating from the change in flow of the ductwork. (?)

These VIBRATIONS/contractions in my system (that were not there before the rehab work) can稚 be good. (?) And over time, I worry that it will weaken the system further.

Sure enough, like taking a car to the mechanic, it did not make the noise for the city rehab inspector when he visited. It tends to progress as the day goes on and seems worse in the evening. So with the rehab inspector not hearing or experiencing the effect, he dismissed my concerns with:

添ou are a homeowner who is going to have problems with your house for the next 50 years.

典here is 双nly one way this can be a problem. Because of the *cold*. (We had just below zero temps in February.)

典here is *nothing* we (Rehab/ Heating crew) did that could have affected it.

And left it at that. And he left my home giving me no hope for repair.

So I decided to call the same HEATING crew and see what they would do and was told by the owner that, unless he was sent back by the city, 的 will gladly come and look at whatever you are willing to PAY me to.

I don稚 understand why these people are shirking that they might have contributed to this.
It痴 not like I知 saying 添ou worked on my house and now my TELEVISION is not working." There would be no connection there.

What would you think if you had at least 3 different groups of workers, a half dozen or more different people (some clearly inexperienced) crawling under you house, without removing your ductwork, after you had been told that痴 what should be done to keep it sound. With each group being disgruntled that they were picking up after previous workers mistakes. So not giving it their all. And then sure enough, problems have developed?

Can you see where a homeowner would draw a line connecting this cause and effect?
This is a consequence of all these workers crawling in the space incorrectly.
Understand There was nothing wrong with my heating system *before* the 途ehab.
What if the workers provided by the city rehab damaged my heating ducts?
WHAT IF I AM RIGHT?

Remember- all this work on my ducts would not have even been done if not the first contractors crew screwing things up.

If it is really not going to be covered. Is that correct and if it is going to cost me hundreds of dollars, I suppose I could learn to live with the noise and vibration, But I am just worried if it is SAFE- Maybe causing an explosion or overheating or knocking a duct lose over time.

So, what might need to be done to get my system back in order?

Thanx in advance for any advice or comments!

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Last edited by drmark7; 03-15-2007 at 11:23 PM. Reason: To add closing question.
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Old 03-16-2007, 10:03 AM   #2
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Rehab Mess- Ducts Knocking-Furnace Vibrating


I would almost bet that some thing is in the blower wheel.peice of insulation or paper or who knows what..........but thats were I would start.

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Old 03-16-2007, 10:56 AM   #3
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Rehab Mess- Ducts Knocking-Furnace Vibrating


I don't see anything out besides spending more $$ on hire a true professional to evaluate and fix your situation...

then you can claim the lost against the city who recommended the contractor(s) to you.... hopefully you will win... but Judge often sympathic to citizen... and they don't care much for city so you got a high winning chance... but should document/pictures all the damages ... it is going to be a while before you can claim any money back though... Lawyler involvement may also be necessary... unless the $$ involive is relative small and your city have small claim court....
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Old 03-16-2007, 06:49 PM   #4
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Rehab Mess- Ducts Knocking-Furnace Vibrating


The vibration in your house might be easily curable by installing a flexible canvas duct connection between the furnace and the duct. This is a standard item - about 3 or 4 inches of rubberized canvas/fabric that keeps the vibration of the blower from transmitting down the metal duct run. I had a new furnace (with larger blower) installed recently in my house and it caused vibration, so I insisted that they install the flex connection, and the vibration basically is gone.

So, on the bright side, THAT part might be an easy fix.

However, the rest sounds like a mess. Good luck.
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Old 03-16-2007, 07:37 PM   #5
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Rehab Mess- Ducts Knocking-Furnace Vibrating


Sounds like your blower motor may be off balance? I don't think mere air movement could have enough energy to vibrate floors, but if you're blower cage is messed up, now that could make your furnace hop around the basement. You should be able to tell what's causing the noise...
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Old 03-18-2007, 01:03 AM   #6
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Rehab Mess- Ducts Knocking-Furnace Vibrating


Quote:
Originally Posted by elementx440 View Post
Sounds like your blower motor may be off balance? I don't think mere air movement could have enough energy to vibrate floors, but if you're blower cage is messed up, now that could make your furnace hop around the basement.
Did some more exploring. Big blower motor seems very solid. I need to just touch the blades slightly to make them spin in its "cage." Watched the motor as it comes on. There is one, very slight visual wobble when it starts, but the movement looks smooth from there on. I held my finger to the side of it, while it was running full force and could feel or see almost no movement. It seems there are quite a few places the motor could be loosened, tightened or moved. Can it be adjusted?

But... on the front side where the gas flames and electronic are- there is *another* blower- that looks like a big blow dryer on its side. *That* blower seems to be making vibrations if either are. In fact, if I held my hand tightly to the floor of this section, vibrations decreased.

I can see where the recommended canvas section would help damper the connection from the furnace to the duct. The square duct that goes out of my furnace goes quite far out of the furnace, thru the wall and a good 6 or 8 feet under the floor, before it becomes just metal pipes.

I may try to add a few pictures for more detail.

Thanx for the comments so far.
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Old 03-18-2007, 09:14 AM   #7
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Rehab Mess- Ducts Knocking-Furnace Vibrating


do you have enough return? is the banging your ductwork getting sucked down as the unit fights to find air?
ie; big duct with a small opening
This should not happen with the fan door off because of the added airflow
Looking over your letter yuo say no return hooked up, I assume that you dont mean a hole in the side of the unit w/a filter over it,but it has duct that is not hooked up correctly make sure it is fixed because when you have the door off it will have all the air it wants and the vibration may go away.
Or you could test start it w/fan door off and then on.

Last edited by mikemy6; 03-19-2007 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 03-18-2007, 05:34 PM   #8
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Rehab Mess- Ducts Knocking-Furnace Vibrating


Quote:
But... on the front side where the gas flames and electronic are- there is *another* blower- that looks like a big blow dryer on its side. *That* blower seems to be making vibrations if either are. In fact, if I held my hand tightly to the floor of this section, vibrations decreased.
That is the blower for the combustion air/vent gas, that vents the combusted gas/air out the flue. Is the vibration because it is not connected tightly to the unit? Or because of imbalance within the blower itself? If that blower is just loose, see if there are any bolts or screws or whatever (that hold it on the unit) that you could tighten.

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