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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I have an older home, i.e. 1950's, that has some sort of, what looks to be, an ancient damper actuator. I've attached a picture. Unfortunately, as noted it sits in/around a plank called AsbestorLux - couldn't be more clear that it's asbestos. But there is the Honeywell gadget, that appears to be controlling damper on the two main duct legs coming out of the furnace. But I don't know how. It is electrified, but the wires are so ancient (cloth covered) and jumbled, I'm not even sure if electricity is supplied. My main concern is that the ducts are being damped, contributing to a high CO2 in my house. I'd like to remove the Honeywell activation (including unplugging it), and just try to adjust the two actuators attached to it manually, to get more air flow.

Anyone having any ideas what it is/doing, and if I can just unplug the Honeywell, and manually adjust the actuator/damper control bars attached to it?

thks,
Robert

P.S. What can't be seen from the picture is that the control bar extends off to the right, to the associated damper control (?) on the other main leg of the furnace duct, with a similar V-type attachement.
 

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What CO² measurement did you get?

Post a wider angle picture of the setup. Is that the supply or return air? Do both branches go to parts of the house, or does one go to outside?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What CO² measurement did you get?

Post a wider angle picture of the setup. Is that the supply or return air? Do both branches go to parts of the house, or does one go to outside?
Thanks for the reply. The CO2 measurements are around between 900 and 1100 ppm during the day, and 1000 to 1200 ppm at night. But, this is with an Aprilaire Active Ventilation Control System (8126X) running for between 20 to 30 minutes every hour, using the furnace blower to bring in air from outside. Without that, they'd be much higher.

I've added another picture showing the wide angle, best I could (is cramped area in corner of basement). On the left, is the AsbestorLux/Honeywell combo in the early pic, attached to that duct. On the right is the other end of the connecting rod to the other duct from the furnace. These are both supply air. I have a multi level - the one on the left feeds the upper level vents, and the one on the bottom feeds the lower level vents. Neither goes outside (which are the white PVC).

Robert

Motor vehicle Automotive design Gas Tints and shades Fixture
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
One more picture, if of any use, showing the bar connection to the right duct (lower level supply).

Thanks,
Robert

Line Gas Tints and shades Composite material Engineering
 

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Those are balancing between parts of the house.

If you want more fresh air, turn on exhaust fans in the house. IE bathrooms. Do you have any air duct coming in from outside?

FYI: default fresh air setpoint for CO² on automated systems is usually 1100-1200 ppm. Meaning they don't bother to get extra fresh air until its that high. Modulating versions start a bit sooner, but still center around 1200 ppm. Also note that you'll basically never get below 500 ppm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Those are balancing between parts of the house.

If you want more fresh air, turn on exhaust fans in the house. IE bathrooms. Do you have any air duct coming in from outside?

FYI: default fresh air setpoint for CO² on automated systems is usually 1100-1200 ppm. Meaning they don't bother to get extra fresh air until its that high. Modulating versions start a bit sooner, but still center around 1200 ppm. Also note that you'll basically never get below 500 ppm.
Thanks for the additional reply and information, I thought it was some sort of damper balancing system for the house, as you say. But as it is now, there is no active balancing - it is stuck in the same position shown, for who knows how many years. I doubt that Honeywell box (50's vintage) has worked, or done active balancing, for some time. I'm concerned it's stuck in a mode that is restricting the upper level, which is most prone to high CO2. Do you think I can just disconnect the connecting rod, and manually adjust the dampers on either side? i.e. more air flow for bedroom level at night, and more towards main level during the day.

I do have a Panasonic WhisperGreen 80 CFM on continuously in the lower level bath - probably not helping the upper level CO2 issue. But I also have the Aprilaire 8126X, which is a direct vent from outside. But even with that running 20 to 30 min hours, those PPM levels occur.

I understand outside ambient is 400 ppm, so 600 ppm would be ideal/best that could be expected. But I'm twice that. 1000 ppm is kind of the upper level of "ok" I've seen/would like lower for my family for health reasons.

Robert
 

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While you can disconnect the motor and rods. Before you do that. Check to see if the manual balancing dampers that are closer to the furnace are fully open or not.
 
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I understand outside ambient is 400 ppm, so 600 ppm would be ideal/best that could be expected. But I'm twice that. 1000 ppm is kind of the upper level of "ok" I've seen/would like lower for my family for health reasons.

Robert
1000 ppm is still relatively ok for occupied spaces. Lots of sensationalism and marketing out there. It's not great, but it's what you'd likely experience when at your office or a store. Older schools can be twice that easily. (each time you breath out, it's roughly 20-30× that.)

At 4 air changes an hour, which is very high, you'd still be at about 25% of the difference between inside and outside, 1 hour after everyone has left the house. I'm only saying all of this for your knowledge. Take as you will. Getting it to 600 ppm may be a challenge depending on your outdoor conditions, and house build quality. You may need to switch to an HRV/ERV instead of the Aprilaire 8126X.

Yes, you can disconnect the damper linkage and manually open both. Your problem will be trying to do that without touching that padding. You may want to have someone remove that for you. Once the padding out of the picture, we can talk about more options. (IE replacing it and getting that zoning back if you wish. Or just locking the dampers in place)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
While you can disconnect the motor and rods. Before you do that. Check to see if the manual balancing dampers that are closer to the furnace are fully open or not.
Thanks for the reply. I've checked, and double checked, but do not see any other manual balancing dampers closer to the furnace, other than the ones that are connected to the rods (which are on the trunks that are pretty close to the furnace). Assuming that is the case, and these are the only dampers, the key question for me is at what percentage close/open are they now - that is the concern, that their almost closed, particularly for the upper level. I've attached a close up picture of both again - by sight, can it be determined what position the dampers are in, from the V-shaped adjusters? From my uneducated guess, they almost look to be about half open/closed. But I don't know which direction to move them, to be more open (or more closed). Would you have any insight/guidance for that?, and which direction to move them (up, or down) to open them more.

Upper level trunk pic:
Bumper Gas Automotive exterior Tool Wood


Lower-level trunk pic:
Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive tire Gas Automotive exterior
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
1000 ppm is still relatively ok for occupied spaces. Lots of sensationalism and marketing out there. It's not great, but it's what you'd likely experience when at your office or a store. Older schools can be twice that easily. (each time you breath out, it's roughly 20-30× that.)

At 4 air changes an hour, which is very high, you'd still be at about 25% of the difference between inside and outside, 1 hour after everyone has left the house. I'm only saying all of this for your knowledge. Take as you will. Getting it to 600 ppm may be a challenge depending on your outdoor conditions, and house build quality. You may need to switch to an HRV/ERV instead of the Aprilaire 8126X.

Yes, you can disconnect the damper linkage and manually open both. Your problem will be trying to do that without touching that padding. You may want to have someone remove that for you. Once the padding out of the picture, we can talk about more options. (IE replacing it and getting that zoning back if you wish. Or just locking the dampers in place)
Thanks again for the reply and information. Understood, regarding the ppm levels, and what is truly a concern (and possible for indoor). I've considered HRV/ERV, and may look into more seriously (also think the 8126X is going to run my older furnace blower into the ground, from running so much). I agree about concern regarding that padding. But I do believe I can disengage the rods without impacting that padding (see Upper level trunk pic in my other post). There's a screw right on the Honeywell box, to disengage. I do plan to have someone knowledgeable on asbestos to have it removed at some point. Right now is not a good time, during the pandemic, since furnace work requires going right through the core of my house (to get to the basement), and there are family concerns associated with that. That is why I'm posting here, to do what I can myself now. Post-pandemic, I'll have someone in for any remaining work.

Robert
 

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Thanks for the reply. I've checked, and double checked, but do not see any other manual balancing dampers closer to the furnace, other than the ones that are connected to the rods (which are on the trunks that are pretty close to the furnace). Assuming that is the case, and these are the only dampers, the key question for me is at what percentage close/open are they now - that is the concern, that their almost closed, particularly for the upper level. I've attached a close up picture of both again - by sight, can it be determined what position the dampers are in, from the V-shaped adjusters? From my uneducated guess, they almost look to be about half open/closed. But I don't know which direction to move them, to be more open (or more closed). Would you have any insight/guidance for that?, and which direction to move them (up, or down) to open them more.

Upper level trunk pic:
View attachment 666114

Lower-level trunk pic:
View attachment 666115
They both * appear * to be open. That doesn't mean that they haven't broken inside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
They both * appear * to be open. That doesn't mean that they haven't broken inside.
Ok, great, thanks for that follow-up. I'd like to run a test, and move them one way or other, and feel at the vents, to see if still active (not broken). Example - close the damper fully and confirm no air coming from vents. Would you know which direction to adjust, to open or close? Would moving that bracket up (which attaches to the circular pole that inserts into the duct), towards the ceiling, likely close the damper, or vice versa?
 

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Ok, great, thanks for that follow-up. I'd like to run a test, and move them one way or other, and feel at the vents, to see if still active (not broken). Example - close the damper fully and confirm no air coming from vents. Would you know which direction to adjust, to open or close? Would moving that bracket up (which attaches to the circular pole that inserts into the duct), towards the ceiling, likely close the damper, or vice versa?
They appear to move counter clockwise but may go both ways from center. (to close)
 

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I saw the damper on the third branch, and thought it was on the motorized damper section. My mistake.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Where does this branch go? That looks closed.
Thanks for noticing that. It's a third trunk that serves the mid-level basement, but is inactive. There's actually a vent coming off the second trunk into that space, so I'm not sure why this was ever put into the HVAC. But yeah, that damper position is more obvious than those with the Honeywell control. You can't see, but 90 deg up to the left, behind the white PVC, it says "Open" on that duct, so confirms even more that it is closed.

Robert
 
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