+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    2

    Unhappy Have several issues- need advice

    Hi,

    My house is 2 years old. My master bedroom sitting area is over the garage and that section of the room is considerably cooler than the rest of the room. I also have kneewalls(clipped ceilings)with attic space accessible through the garage in that area as well. Is there anything I can do about this? I am guessing the cold air is coming through the floor between the garage and bedroom. The garage ceiling is insulated with fiberglass, not foam. I was wondering if foam insulation might help, but not sure how much that would cost in a 2 car garage.

    My next issue is I have cold air coming in through a return air vent on 3rd floor (attic space behind vent) and it moves down the stairs to the 2nd floor and into my daughters bedroom. I also have cold air coming in through an air supply vent in my master bedroom sitting area. This vent is in one of the kneewalls. Is this normal?

    Lastly I have a forced air zoned (1 for each of the three floors in my home) furnace system. Regardless of which furnace turns on at least for the 1st and 2nd floors there is a whistling sound the entire time it is on, but once the thermostat clicks to turn it off (there's a few seconds before it actually goes off) the noise stops. Could this be ductwork, gas pressure issue. I can hear the whistling noise perhaps in several of the walls but it may be an echo going on throughout the ductwork. Any ideas?

    Also I have read about negative pressure in rooms without return air vents and to open doors to help the room heat better. What is this all about?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by stefaka; 11-18-2008 at 02:29 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: Have several issues- need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by stefaka View Post
    Hi,

    My house is 2 years old. My master bedroom sitting area is over the garage and that section of the room is considerably cooler than the rest of the room. I also have kneewalls(clipped ceilings)with attic space accessible through the garage in that area as well. Is there anything I can do about this? I am guessing the cold air is coming through the floor between the garage and bedroom. The garage ceiling is insulated with fiberglass, not foam. I was wondering if foam insulation might help, but not sure how much that would cost in a 2 car garage.
    Unfortunately this is a common problem where the builder hasn't sealed and insulated properly.

    Basically the insulation and air barrier wasn't done correctly along with possibly improper ducting...... hard to tell over the internet.

    Even though the floor is insulated ( from underneath in the garage ceiling ) with fiberglass batts it likely wasn't done correctly. There is an avenue somewhere under the floor where cold air is able to infiltrate and cool the floor.
    You mentioned the backside of the walls for this space open up into the garage?
    I would also suspect this area isn't properly sealed and insulated.

    Spray foam would be benifical for this situation.
    Frankly ... it should have been done since the foam will provide insulation as well seal air infiltration. The air seal is important ... not only for comfort ... but ... the fact this room is over the garage where carbon monoxide from car exhaust can make it's way into that space.

    My next issue is I have cold air coming in through a return air vent on 3rd floor (attic space behind vent) and it moves down the stairs to the 2nd floor and into my daughters bedroom. I also have cold air coming in through an air supply vent in my master bedroom sitting area. This vent is in one of the kneewalls. Is this normal?
    No... it's not normal.

    There's either openings in the ducting allowing the cold air from the attic spaces to enter .... or ... they hadn't sealed the opening around the duct grill and the wall.

    Are the furnaces located in the attic space?

    Lastly I have a forced air zoned (1 for each of the three floors in my home) furnace system. Regardless of which furnace turns on at least for the 1st and 2nd floors there is a whistling sound the entire time it is on, but once the thermostat clicks to turn it off (there's a few seconds before it actually goes off) the noise stops. Could this be ductwork, gas pressure issue. I can hear the whistling noise perhaps in several of the walls but it may be an echo going on throughout the ductwork. Any ideas?
    It's unclear as to the design of the zone system .... though what you describe seems to be velocity noise ..... whether it's from damper openings or undersized ducting or leaking ducting is hard to say for sure

    Also I have read about negative pressure in rooms without return air vents and to open doors to help the room heat better. What is this all about?
    Ideally there should be air returns in each room ( with exception of bathrooms and kitchens ) to assist with circulating the conditioned air. However ... without an air return the supply duct will be pushing air into that room and pressurizing the space. This is positive pressure which can eventually restrict the amount of air being delivered by the supply ducts into that room because there is no relief.

    In a balanced system there should be a return duct drawing an amount slightly less the amount of air being delivered by the supply duct .... this not only relieves the pressure but also helps circulate the air. The return vents should be located at floor level ( for heating ) to draw cooler air from the lower area of the room which also creates air turbulance helping to draw the warm air down.


    Sounds as though there has to be some rework to the insulation , air sealing and heating system .
    Considering this home is only 2 years old ... I would be all over the builder or warranty insurers ... like a tick to a hound to correct these issues.


    Hopefully this helps.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    2

    Post Re: Have several issues- need advice

    Thanks Canuk,

    A few questions before I contact my builder. You mentioned that air is able to infiltrate between the insulation because of improper insulation and air barrier. What type of air barrier should be in place? I mentioned months ago to my builder that I was concerned about carbon monoxide making it into the room and they told me to get a carbon monoxide detector like this was a normal occurance the cold air and nothing they could do about it. I was wondering if building codes allow this type of situation. I will have to investigate further. Also to mention that there are access hatches 2 on each side of the gargage where you can access the kneewalls/attic space for storage if you like. The soffits are vented on each side of the kneewalls to allow air flow. I imagine lots of air coming in through there. Earlier this year I got my builder to put in spray foam along where the subfloor and wall meets and supposedly they put up rigid foam on the walls. I really don't know if they did all of it or not because I cannot climb up in the hatches in the garage to see plus they may have done shoddy work.

    Regarding the cold air coming in the air return and air supply vents. The furnaces are in the attic on the 3rd floor. the air return is on the third floor with the attic behind it. The air supply is in my master bedroom. The HVAC company added a 3rd supply to my master sitting area trying to help with the coolness of the space by shimming the duct from the attic down an open space through the kneewall.

    As far as checking for the whistling noise with loose, open ducts how would the HVAC check for this? They are giving me the run around so I want some ideas to throw out at them so they don't try to treat me like a "dumb woman" they can try to take advantage of in this situation.

    Thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: Have several issues- need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by stefaka View Post
    Thanks Canuk,

    A few questions before I contact my builder. You mentioned that air is able to infiltrate between the insulation because of improper insulation and air barrier. What type of air barrier should be in place? I mentioned months ago to my builder that I was concerned about carbon monoxide making it into the room and they told me to get a carbon monoxide detector like this was a normal occurance the cold air and nothing they could do about it. I was wondering if building codes allow this type of situation. I will have to investigate further.
    Fiberglass batt insulation is accepted as an appropriate material .... however .... it does not perform well in moving air. In the case of the underside of the floor ( between the room upstairs and the garage ) if there happens to be air infiltration from outside into this space ..... this fiberglass won't stop it.
    Now I can't be 100 % sure but I'll bet there's a good likelyhood there are gaps in the framing allowing air infiltration as well improperly installed .... I've seen this many times.

    Depending as to your local codes ....... usually minimum code requirement is to have a certain R value of insulation between the garage and the room upstairs ..... drywall installed on the garage ceiling with the seams taped and mudded ( some areas only require 1 coat some require 2 coats ) ..... and that is considered the air barrier ( fire stop as well ).

    This doesn't prevent air infiltration inside this space from gaps in the framing ..... the builder should ensure these gaps were sealed during construction ..... probably $20 worth of spray foam in a can along proper attention when attaching the exterior sheathing.
    Many times I've seen poor drywall joints in both the ceilings and walls also poor sealing along the bottom edges of the drywalled walls .... this not only allows air infiltration but exhaust fumes from vehicles.

    Spray foam is a definate advantage for this space.
    Not only does it insulate well but more importantly will seal things preventing air infiltration .... also preventing exhaust fumes entering the living space above.




    Also to mention that there are access hatches 2 on each side of the gargage where you can access the kneewalls/attic space for storage if you like. The soffits are vented on each side of the kneewalls to allow air flow. I imagine lots of air coming in through there. Earlier this year I got my builder to put in spray foam along where the subfloor and wall meets and supposedly they put up rigid foam on the walls. I really don't know if they did all of it or not because I cannot climb up in the hatches in the garage to see plus they may have done shoddy work.

    Regarding the cold air coming in the air return and air supply vents. The furnaces are in the attic on the 3rd floor. the air return is on the third floor with the attic behind it. The air supply is in my master bedroom. The HVAC company added a 3rd supply to my master sitting area trying to help with the coolness of the space by shimming the duct from the attic down an open space through the kneewall.

    As far as checking for the whistling noise with loose, open ducts how would the HVAC check for this? They are giving me the run around so I want some ideas to throw out at them so they don't try to treat me like a "dumb woman" they can try to take advantage of in this situation.
    Having the heat source in the attic space adds to it own complications ensuring that the ducting is well sealed and highly insulated.
    Also consider the air handler is located in a vented ( open to the outside ) space. Moving cold air can get inside the unit to enter the ducting while the furnace isn't running. Add to this ..... trying to force warm air down doesn't lend itself to be an efficient or comfortable method for heating .... in my opinion.

    To be honest .... you might consider contacting a company that does enegry audits to homes. Possibly your local utility provider does this or may recommend a firm. They could evaluate your current situation first hand with using tools such as an infra-red cameras ( which would be benifical in your situation ) and appraise the heating / cooling system combined with the insulation ( what they can see ). Based on your description of the issues you are experiencing they are likely to find shortcomings of both the heating system as well as insulation and air infiltration.

    Having their findings and recommendations would better equip you with dealing with the contractor .... possibly have the contrator there while the audit is being done so he would see for himself .

    Hopefully this helps and good luck.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •