Squirrel damage to ducts in attic!

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Old 01-13-20, 02:56 PM
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Squirrel damage to ducts in attic!

I ended up with squirrel(s) in my attic. I was able to "evict" them by trapping them outside the house. And I've blocked the chimney they used to get in with wire (temporarily).

Finally entered into the crawlspace attic to get a look, and it's not pretty. I got a high-velocity AC system and it consists of a plenum that feeds 2" supply ducts that go into the ceilings of the rooms below.

Basically, two problems (see attached pic):

* 4 foot section of 10" plenum with the insulation and metallized sheath ripped off on the top. It is now exposing the sheet metal tube. Interior of plenum isn't breached, and I can confirm that with a long borescope.

* One of the 2" ducts venting into a bedroom has been ripped up. I disconnected this knowing that I need to replace it.

I will get a quote from a pro even though I have a feeling it's going to be astronomical. The crawlspace is tight and requires belly-crawling on top of planks that need to be moved over the joists. It took me 20 minutes to get to the spot and I could barely fit in there.

Questions:

What's the "correct way" to fix the plenum sheath? I know I can replace the fiberglass, but there's also the metallized film that needs to be replaced. What is this stuff called? How do I know if whatever I find is appropriate? Can I just get a sheet of this stuff and wrap it over the new fiberglass and tape it?

The Unico 2" duct seems to be less of a problem. I can feed it through the hole in the ceiling, attach to plenum and then finish the install along with a sound proofing segment from inside the bedroom.

Is this project practical for a non-pro, should I even attempt it? Am I missing something important?
 
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Old 01-13-20, 03:17 PM
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I would not bother repairing the ductwork. Just replace it with new. It's inexpensive and easy to work with.
 
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Old 01-13-20, 05:44 PM
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Thanks, I definitely can replace the one damaged 2" flexible miniduct.

The problem is the much larger rigid plenum. It connects to the main AC blower and about 8 mini-ducts and spans about half the length of the house. THAT will be hard to remove and reconnect.

Since only the insulation and outermost metallized plastic is damaged, I am thinking that I should cut out the damaged insulation and outer foil. Then, wrap the rigid inner pipe with new insulation that has foil on one side. I can then tape the seams neatly (while swearing loudly and promising to never live in another house with a crawlspace).

I understand that insulation can be tricky, and that it's easy to make problems worse. Just want to avoid a ghetto solution!
 
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Old 01-14-20, 05:35 AM
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Use a quality tape. I like the metalized duct tape. It seems to hold better long term while most gray duct tapes will fail after a few years. Also try very hard to keep the tape and your insulation clean. Crawl spaces can be very dusty and dirty and when that dirt gets on things no tape will stick well. As a first step I will often cover the floor of the crawl space with 6 mil sheet plastic before starting on the project. It's slippery so it makes it easier to move around and it keeps you and your work much cleaner.
 
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