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Stunns38

HVAC Zoning advice

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I need some expert help. This is a little long.

 

We’ve been in our new construction house for a year now and a few rooms upstairs haven’t been heating/cooling evenly. Our HVAC company who installed it found no issues and did nothing but “balance” the system meaning taking air from other rooms and turning it up in the colder/warmer rooms. They’ve come out at least 10 times.

 

Those rooms still haven’t improved. Had insulation and windows checked and those checked out ok.

 

So, we had a third party HVAC company come out and inspect our system and they said that it’s zoned poorly and our unit isn’t running efficiently. We have a Trane system but the HVAC installer and builder went cheap and cut corners on how they ran the ducts /returns, used too small ducts, and didn’t use a Trane zoning panel. Plus the HVAC installer is probably the lowest bidder and has a contract with the builder so they won’t act in the homeowner’s best interest.

 

Anyway, they would need to add dampers,upgrade the zoning panel to a Trane part, upgrade to a Trane smart thermostat(and 2nd display), create a total of 4 zones, and add sensors to 2 of those zones. They quoted $5-$6K. We already have 2 zones(upstairs/downstairs) but they don’t work in concert and basically the units and condenser fan runs all day.

 

Our system “works” but not optimally. Also, our electric bills have been high during the hot and cold months which is unacceptable for a so-called energy efficient home. We have an electric heat pump in about a 2,700 Sq ft house 2-story house. It’s not a starter home and David Weekley is usually a decent builder but I think they dropped the ball on this. Would doing this conversion be worth it? Any experience with this?

 

Thanks y’all.

 

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How long do you plan to live in he house and do you have the money to fix it?



5-6 years max. We do have the money...the area is appreciating quickly so the upgrade wouldn’t affect the price when we sell in the future. Not even sure if we’d recoup half of it back in energy savings in those 5-6 years. That’s my dilemma. Well, comfort is a dilemma as well.

Thanks

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In for a year?  What state are you in?  Texas has a 2 year warranty on mechanical trades and a 10 year warranty for latent defects.   There is a legal procedure for making sure your builder and his HVAC contractor address the problems you are experiencing.   

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Was your installer Christianson? Had a similar issue on a previous house. They were all new builds and everyone had similar issues. I didn't do anything and eventually moved. Are the rooms with issues above the garage? A lot of times there isn't much insulation there

I'd probably just live with it if you are moving that soon. But when we get another hell summer when it's 105+ everyday it will barely keep up. Also, don't throw a day party with 30-40 people in your house because it won't keep up.

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In for a year?  What state are you in?  Texas has a 2 year warranty on mechanical trades and a 10 year warranty for latent defects.   There is a legal procedure for making sure your builder and his HVAC contractor address the problems you are experiencing.   


In Texas. However, The issue is that the system was actually installed functionally(it passed inspection ) but not for maximum optimization hence the uneven temps in the rooms. Airco has been out multiple times but still wasn’t able to improve the airflow. The builder had the windows redone and checked the insulation, all they’ve done is send over Airco for the same runaround. I don’t think I can fight them if the installation was technically ok though it’s not functioning like it was intended too due to being cheap.

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Was your installer Christianson? Had a similar issue on a previous house. They were all new builds and everyone had similar issues. I didn't do anything and eventually moved. Are the rooms with issues above the garage? A lot of times there isn't much insulation there

I'd probably just live with it if you are moving that soon. But when we get another hell summer when it's 105+ everyday it will barely keep up. Also, don't throw a day party with 30-40 people in your house because it won't keep up.


Airco. I worked as a construction manager back in 2004-2005 and our builder fired Christianson back then for incompetence.

Yes, 2 of those rooms are above the garage and there is insulation between the garage and bedroom floors. Tract builder materials generally suck anyway. Should have upgraded to foam above the garage.

I understand what you’re saying. If this were a custom home and long term then having this done would make sense. The next owner will have to deal with a shortened HVAC unit life if I chose that route.

Thanks

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No help, but I’m always curious about that. I mean, you could instal some inline dampers and adjust them, maybe rerun the duct work or something like that. Did they use large enough vents in the rooms that are the problem?

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Send the builder formal notice per Texas Property Code 27.  They have a specific time to schedule a formal look and then cure.  This is by the book procedure.   Anything less will not help your case.  I’m not an attorney but I am in the construction business.  This is how to do it in the correct fashion.    Stay on your builder.  

Further, did you use their home sales contract or a TREC contract?  

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How can they screw up a 2700 sq ft house?  

Honeywell makes the zone controller for Trane and pretty much all others so you don’t necessarily need to pay for Trane name. 

How many tons HVAC do you have?   Something is all jacked up. 

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No help, but I’m always curious about that. I mean, you could instal some inline dampers and adjust them, maybe rerun the duct work or something like that. Did they use large enough vents in the rooms that are the problem?


Actually, the ducts have too long of a run as should have been an inch wider in diameter. The vents alone are standard size but just not getting ample airflow.

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Send the builder formal notice per Texas Property Code 27.  They have a specific time to schedule a formal look and then cure.  This is by the book procedure.   Anything less will not help your case.  I’m not an attorney but I am in the construction business.  This is how to do it in the correct fashion.    Stay on your builder.  
Further, did you use their home sales contract or a TREC contract?  


Their sales contract and that is a good idea. It’s still warranty so I’m definitely going to have AirCo com out one final time before sending the notice. They are being cheap.

Question, if I used a realtor on a new build, do you know if home builders find ways to cut costs on the houses vs. houses without realtors? Of course they say that there is no bearing but I suspect corners cut due to me bringing a realtor. I already had them upgrade my sprinklers, reshim all the windows, re-do the balcony amongst other repairs.

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How can they screw up a 2700 sq ft house?  
Honeywell makes the zone controller for Trane and pretty much all others so you don’t necessarily need to pay for Trane name. 
How many tons HVAC do you have?   Something is all jacked up. 


They used XCI zoning and we have the basic Honeywell thermostats. I think it’s a 3 ton system.

216f9705a5122a891d4d9e3988ceec0d.jpg

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11 hours ago, Stunns38 said:

 


Their sales contract and that is a good idea. It’s still warranty so I’m definitely going to have AirCo com out one final time before sending the notice. They are being cheap.

Question, if I used a realtor on a new build, do you know if home builders find ways to cut costs on the houses vs. houses without realtors? Of course they say that there is no bearing but I suspect corners cut due to me bringing a realtor. I already had them upgrade my sprinklers, reshim all the windows, re-do the balcony amongst other repairs.

 

If their sales contract was used then an express home limited warranty is most likely in place and you have 2 years for mechanical issues (read YOUR warranty).  Copy builders on every communication with HVAC SUBcontractor.  Don't text. Do email.  Read Texas property code 27.  Send notice.  Do it now.  They jerking you around. Call their bluff.  

 

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32 minutes ago, deadshank said:

If their sales contract was used then an express home limited warranty is most likely in place and you have 2 years for mechanical issues (read YOUR warranty).  Copy builders on every communication with HVAC SUBcontractor.  Don't text. Do email.  Read Texas property code 27.  Send notice.  Do it now.  They jerking you around. Call their bluff.  

 

Is the sales contract with the owner or the general contractor ?  Seems like the only contracts I see are homeowners with the GC, not the sub contractors.  The GC should be dealing with this, they bear the legal ramifications.

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21 minutes ago, Onboard 2.0 said:

Is the sales contract with the owner or the general contractor ?  Seems like the only contracts I see are homeowners with the GC, not the sub contractors.  The GC should be dealing with this, they bear the legal ramifications.

Correct.  Notice needs to go to builder. Your contract is with builder and this is builder's ultimate responsibility.  All communication should first go to builder. 

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Thanks, I’m going to start working on drafting a letter to the builder. As you stated, AirCo came out and made some adjustments like closing the bypass but it’s not getting to the source of the problem which is poor design.

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