Venting question

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  #1  
Old 12-15-15, 11:36 AM
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Venting question

I posted in here a few weeks ago about some issues my furnace was having. After having a company come out and take a look, they figured it was an clogged pipe, most likely a birds nest or bee hive. Unfortunately, I live in a bottom condo and the pipes come outside about 40 feet the building on the side wall.

He came back today to see if blowing any air from inside (he cut a piece of the tube off), would have any affect. It did not. He other suggestion was to put a t pipe on the exhaust. He assured me this would be safe. Now my question is, is it alright for this? I have two cats who sometimes like to open the little door that encloses the furnace. Can anyone help me out here? THanks.

http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/n...s/image_25.jpg

Oh, forgot to say, furnace worked just fine doing it this way. It started right up with no issues.
 
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  #2  
Old 12-15-15, 11:52 AM
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I don't get it, why would he do that. Maybe he didn't have a coupling ? I hope that on the intake. Is the Tee capped off?

I took another look at the pic, he's just drawing air from the closet.
 

Last edited by skaggsje; 12-15-15 at 12:02 PM. Reason: corection
  #3  
Old 12-15-15, 12:03 PM
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He other suggestion was to put a t pipe on the exhaust.
ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE!

If he had added the tee to the air intake it might have been borderline acceptable but absolutely not in the exhaust. You now have the furnace exhausting into the furnace room itself rather than outside. Any carbon monoxide or other pollutants will concentrate in the furnace room.

You need to close off that open tee ASAP and get a COMPETENT technician in to fix the problem.
 
  #4  
Old 12-15-15, 12:10 PM
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http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/n...s/image_26.jpg

Better picture of everything

http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/nn240/Chode60005/Mobile%20Uploads/image_27.jpg

Inside tube
 
  #5  
Old 12-15-15, 12:14 PM
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Looks like you did not follow through on the suggestions here.. I would say a clogged condensate line and its filling the blower and blocking the pressure switch..

Also fans get weak over time and your run of vent pipe may be long enough that the fan is not strong enough now, as when the unit was new, to close the pressure switch..

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ga...ace-issue.html

Yes please call a new tech out.. That is ridiculous that a tee was added to the intake.. ( And I sure hope its not the exhaust..

You can wake up dead ya know!!!!!
 
  #6  
Old 12-15-15, 12:17 PM
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Lawrosa, now even time I try starting it with vent open like that it starts just fine. I put something on it now and it won't work again
 
  #7  
Old 12-15-15, 12:36 PM
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Took a look at the manual for the furance. Looks like the pipe he used with that t pipe is indeed the intake pipe, with the pipe on the right being exhaust.
 
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Old 12-15-15, 12:44 PM
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So the unit works like that?

Depending on the size of the room the furnace is in that may not be allowed. Because you may need the combustion air taken from outside per code...
 
  #9  
Old 12-15-15, 12:54 PM
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It does work. Or has worked for a few minutes. It's been unseasonably warm here in Wisconsin so not.much need to turn it on. But when we've turned it on like this, it starts and runs w no issues everytime. I just want to know is it safe? I was worried if it was intake or exhaust but seeing the manual put some of my fears to rest on that aspect of it
 
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Old 12-15-15, 12:57 PM
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And then that's OK? Or at least passable?
 
  #11  
Old 12-15-15, 01:07 PM
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Ummm. I'd consider that a hack job.


Assuming it works, it's just the kind of thing that would be downchecked by an inspector as needing repair.

I'm supposing they did this because they couldn't figure out how to clean the combustion air pipe in a long run like that. I'll bet I could figure out how to do that.

For example: where in the house is there access to that pipe? It can be cut at those locations and that access used to check and clean the pipe. I'd guess that the pipe passes through the attic at a minimum.

Another possibility would be to bring in an air compressor and blast the pipe with compressed air, which would entrain any debris on it way out the pipe. When I worked for a gas utility installing gas mains, we used to insert a foam "pig" in the end of a length of new main, and put compressed air behind it to shoot it out the end of the other end of the new main, cleaning the main of any debris in the pipe at the same time.

Do that in you vent pipe and you'd see the foam pig shoot out the top of the vent pipe along with any debris along the way!
 
  #12  
Old 12-15-15, 01:16 PM
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Well I'm in a condo. Pipe goes up to unit above, then out. About 40 ft up the wall. He did bring some compressed air. Not sure how he did it but he did insert something from in the unit, sprayed and went to look outdoors to see if a beehive or nest or any grass came out. He said nothing he could notice. He thinks it's about 40-50 ft of piping if u could for the elbows used.
 
  #13  
Old 12-15-15, 01:49 PM
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A pipe in the basement that runs through a mostly heated path for that height should be naturally drafting on a cool day, anything below 50. Use smoke, a feather, or a tissue to see if air is being drawn into that open "T". Several trades, plumbers notably, use a snake cameras for inspecting plumbing. This would be a real easy job and rental shops might have one available.

When you look on the outside, do you see your vent along with the vent from the unit above? If units are back to back as well as one over the other count the total to be sure each unit has its own.

You can call another hvac tech or get hold of the owner of that company and have them remove the "T", find the problem and fix it right and send a different tech. If same company, I would insist ALL work be at no charge. If you call another company you will have to pay.

Bud

I just saw the "outside the wall" location for the pipe, but check to see if air is moving in either direction. Also easier to count .
 
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Old 12-15-15, 02:10 PM
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http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/n...s/image_28.jpg

That's what our condo has. 8 tubes way the [email protected] up there. 16 units in each building.
 
  #15  
Old 12-15-15, 02:22 PM
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With 16 units and each having an intake and an exhaust, if my math is correct, they are joined somewhere in the attic. Unless they surface somewhere else. If that is correct, then the problem might revert to the condo association, as you shouldn't be repairing part of your neighbors system, IMO.

Are all of the furnaces in the basement or do the upper units have their furnaces up there with them?

Bud
 
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Old 12-15-15, 02:30 PM
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That's what our condo has. 8 tubes way the [email protected] up there. 16 units in each building.
With 16 units and each having an intake and an exhaust, if my math is correct, they are joined somewhere in the attic. Unless they surface somewhere else. If that is correct, then the problem might revert to the condo association, as you shouldn't be repairing part of your neighbors system, IMO.

Are all of the furnaces in the basement or do the upper units have their furnaces up there with them?
They are concentric terminations bud..


[ATTACH=CONFIG]60081[/ATTACH]
 
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  #17  
Old 12-15-15, 02:38 PM
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Expense is on me. Asked the condo after the first assessment. It falls on individual owners to fix problem
 
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Old 12-15-15, 02:58 PM
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Mike, my math is still failing. With 16 units using concentric terminations, where are the other 8? Probably visible somewhere else as I can't imagine they are combining vents from different units.

Jason, do you have access to the attic?

Bud
 
  #19  
Old 12-15-15, 03:00 PM
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No buD, unfortunately I do not
 
  #20  
Old 12-15-15, 03:08 PM
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I wouldn't call that a hack job under these conditions. In my area it is not against code to draw combustion air from the indoor space.
 
  #21  
Old 12-15-15, 03:10 PM
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See the pic bud?

2 pipes to each concentric termination. They are combo intakes and exhausts...

[ATTACH=CONFIG]60083[/ATTACH]
 
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  #22  
Old 12-15-15, 05:49 PM
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I'm still thick Mike, 16 units with 1 exhaust and one intake each give us 32 pipes. Combine intake and exhaust from each unit and we are down to 16. Op only sees 8. That's my math problem. Like I said, probably on the other side or somewhere else.

Here's my concern. If they have combined intake and exhaust from two units into one concentric vent, then blowing air into this one could be a problem with the other. Need to find the other 8 vents, or find my blind spot.

Bud
 
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Old 12-15-15, 06:06 PM
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Depending on how the units are set up.... it would make sense that some would be in the back of the building. It would waste a lot of pipe to bring them all to one location.
 
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Old 12-15-15, 06:10 PM
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Yes LOL.. There is probably a carbon copy of the other side of the building as pete states... ...

I need to get a calculator... he he..
 
  #25  
Old 12-15-15, 06:28 PM
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Whew, thought I was losing it, again. Last week I went to get the milk and found my container of ice cream right next to it, AHRRRG! It survived, but I panicked. Those old goat stories are hitting closer to home every day.

I'll leave the rest to you pros.

Bud
 
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Old 12-16-15, 12:58 PM
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I'm not surprised that the condo association doesn't want the responsibility, but I'd be VERY surprised if maintaining the vent pipes isn;t their job.

Usually, anything behind a wall is the responsibility of the condo association.

If you have your CC&Rs, I'd look carefully through those. Vent pipes are critical to the safe and reliable operation of gas equipment. I certainly wouldn't want a neighbor messing around with the vent and combustion air pipes serving my equipment!
 
  #27  
Old 12-17-15, 06:23 AM
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Yeah I'm not thrilled w this bring my responsibility but it is what it is
 
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Old 12-17-15, 08:44 AM
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Get a snake camera in there, rent or pay a plumber, and see if a blocked intake is the problem. They can reach 100' into a pipe and snap pictures. Something like this:
Inspection Camera Systems

Bud
 
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Old 12-17-15, 12:28 PM
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<<Yeah I'm not thrilled w this bring my responsibility but it is what it is>>


As I said, I'd read the CC&Rsm and see what they say. State laws may define the condio association's responsibilities as well.

If they continue to balk, you can inform other condo owners of their intransigence and the risks people take when the association doesn't take their responsibility seriously.

I'd talk to the management group and make a complaint, then attend a board meeting and make a complaint there.

You can make repairs and sue the Condo Association in small claims court. You could deduct your expenses from the condo association fees.

I used to be on a HOA Board, and in my view such associations have no business ducking their responsibilities.
 
  #30  
Old 12-19-15, 11:27 PM
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Well it seemed to be working just fine... for a day and a half. Now, it seems to run for a bit and then turns off. Blower continues to run but no heat. I've ended up bouncing between 3 blinking red lights and 6 blinking red lights (lockout due to pressure switch).

If I turn off power, and restart, I can get it to work, for about 10-15 minutes before the problem repeats itself.

What is going on here????
 
  #31  
Old 12-20-15, 03:38 AM
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What is going on here?
You are not getting a proper draft signal. Could be a partial obstruction in the exhaust piping or a partial obstruction in the intake piping. The tee simply allows room air to enter and depending on the construction of the room it may simply not be "leaky" enough to supply the requisite amount of air.

You need to verify that BOTH the exhaust and the intake piping is completely clear of obstructions. Then cap off that tee.
 
  #32  
Old 12-21-15, 06:36 AM
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Well if I do a shut down and wait a few minutes, I'm usually able to get it to start and work for 10-15 minutes before it gives out. I sent an email off to the same company again complaining about the need to have a third visit to fix something they should have fixed correctly the first time
 
  #33  
Old 12-21-15, 08:34 AM
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Years ago the powers that be came up with tables that compared the BTU input of gas appliances to the cubic feet volume of the room they were installed. For any given input there was a corresponding minimum volume requirement for the room. If the installation did not meet this minimum then additional outside air needed to be brought to the appliance for combustion and ventilation purposes. All this was predicated on the construction standards of the time which allowed a fair amount of leakage from the outside into the room.

As construction standards have been improved as a means to reduce the influx of outside air into a building the necessity of bringing in outside air to a fuel-burning appliance has become more and more important. Unfortunately, they are STILL using those tables developed decades ago. ALL 90+% AFUE furnaces that I am aware of use a separate inlet duct to bring in 100% of the needed combustion air. The air infiltration to your furnace room is simply not sufficient to maintain the furnace operation, even with the required inlet air duct. You have a blockage in either the inlet duct (more likely) or the exhaust duct and until you get them cleared you will have trouble.
 
  #34  
Old 12-21-15, 09:21 AM
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Well if it indeed 100 percent a intake or exhaust issue my question is this, why does it seemingly have no affect on the people above my condo?
 
  #35  
Old 12-21-15, 09:42 AM
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Because THEIR furnace is connected to different intake and exhaust pipes.

Don't like my answers, don't read them.
 
  #36  
Old 12-21-15, 12:18 PM
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I thanks for information!!
 
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