Feb 16, 2011

Snowdon: Aitch Vee Eh See

As promised, I'm going to jump into where we're at to-date with Snowdon.  HVAC: it blows.

Who ever told you that running ducts would be easy, lied.  And as humans we tend to repress our bad memories, so I shouldn't be surprised that I'm yet again banging my head against the (ductless) wall.

But the memories are slowly flooding back from previous houses: working so hard to make your space perfect, square, symmetrical...only to have some tin-junkie take the path of least resistance.  HVAC isn't easy, but it is mandatory. 

So here's some things to consider:
  • Get a very good mechanical engineer.  This is the guy who does your heat loss calculations and considers how to best run the ducts through your structure.  Trust me, the extra money you'll spend in creating a good plan, will save you time and money debating with the duct installer.
  • Make sure your mechanical engineer visits your house, so he can see the actual completed structure...as this may differ slightly from your architectural and structural drawings.  Typically it doesn't take long to get your HVAC permit, so make absolutely sure he visits the site before you submit.
  • Duct installers will always take the path of least resistance.  They typically won't consider moving any framing or thinking outside of the literal box.  Good drawings help, but you have to be involved.  Be on-site, ask stupid questions and consult with your framer or GC.
  • It's a good idea to have your plumber around to discuss options with the duct guy.  They'll likely want to share the same cavity.  Eww.  I suggest a mud wrestling pit, if you haven't yet completed your back yard.  My bet is on the plumber.
  • Lastly, it's never as bad a you think.  This is a general piece of advice in any home reno.  There will also be concessions when you're renovating.  When you're really invested and attached to a house, and you've have been envisioning the beauty of unobstructed walls and ceilings...dealing with the cold, hard reality of bulkheads seems like the end of the world.  In reality, when your house is done and you're sitting back in your pj's with your coffee, you'll never notice what gave you night terrors only a few months earlier.  And if my consolation doesn't help, ask your doctor for more happy pills.
The up-side is that we're almost done; despite our duct guy, who decided to take 2 weeks to do a 3-day job.  So we've proceeded to work plumbing and electrical around him.  All in all, we should be done and ready for drywall early next week...once the framer creates bulkheads around all those hideous ducts.

ducts right down the sight lines of a main hallway, there's no
way around creating an obtrusive box.  But it'll be a good place for art...


  1. Very insightful!!! I think all trades people should share their cavities...its just good business. Keep'em coming.

  2. Congrats on the blog. Can't wait to hear about your walls.