Heater vents - tabs stretched out (opened)

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loveoldtrux
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So.... sort of sick to my stomach. Just found out why it's so cold in the winter / hot in the summer and why the furnace bills / air conditioning costs have been so high.

The horizontal runners that lead to the short 12" - 18" inch verticle runners that lead to the floor ducts in each room.... seems the "tabs" on the verticle runners through the years have ALL been stretched out and are COMPLETELY seperated from the horizontal runners!! Seems there has been some sort of aluminum tape installed 24 years ago that has dried and shriveled up.... so 40% (maybe more) of all air going through the ducts has been escaping outside. PLUS in the winter with the heat off, you can feel cold air coming in through the vents with it un-sealed like this. I guess maybe years ago when the underpinning was not sealed, critters must have climbed on top of the horizontal runners to keep warm in the winter thus stretching out the cheap tabs and allowing the runners to drop 1 - 2" (due to their weight)?.. Some vents I looked down into haven't been aligned right by the manufacturer - absolutely poor quality / design... the port from the horizontal runner to the verticle is off by as much as several inches.... so even if the surfaces WERE mated completely the actual opening into the home would be 20% less than if aligned properly (WHICH I might add WILL fix...!).

I've got the $15.00 Aluminum tape from Home Depot - but it looks like I have some real work cut out for me... best to do it in the "coolness" of winter than in the heat of summer!! Get this - one vent cannot in ANY way mate with the verticle riser as AT-THE-FACTORY a piece of wood is obviously in the way - not letting the riser seat on the runner. Good Lord - didn't they have "quality testing" in 1988?!?!?.... Seems I can fix what the factory did not do right (by re-aligning / modifying the ports to match the verticle risers) and what the animals damaged.... will take quite a bit of work though.... Sheesh.

Any do-it-yer-selfers done what I'm about to do; is this a good father son task? It seems I'll need to make a slit down the entire length of the horizontal runner to do the repairs and then seal the underbelly slits back up with Mark's heat tape after the repairs are over?.... Whatchall think?
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Greg
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I think if it were me, I would do a tape job and get it sealed up the best you can for now. In warmer weather I would replace all of the ducts with heaver duct work.

It's been that way for over 20 years, another season shouldn't hurt until you can redo it the way it SHOULD have been done. That was one of the reasons HUD got involved in the Mobile home industry. Greg
"If I can't fix it, I can screw it up so bad no one else can either."
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loveoldtrux
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Thanks Greg - I'd much rather do it now than wait till it starts getting warmer and the spiders / snakes / possums and whatever else is under there start waking up. I like the cold weather but NOT in the house.

Is this "heavier duct work" something that Home Depot sells? It seems the runners are rectangular so they'll fit between the underbelly and the home. Doesn't the Depot just sell the round stuff (made for real homes)? I imagine the cheap tin stuff under the house now is just that - cheap tin stuff?...

Suffice it to say the round duct work can't be installed under a mobile home between the joists and the underbelly (room issue)?

Keep the comments coming... now that I've found the problem, I've GOT to fix this....
Mark
colddonkey
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For what its worth, if it isn't beyond your abilities pull your furnace and make sure the hole in the floor aligns with the bottom of the furnace itself.
I had mobile home service here last Friday to replace my furnace and they show me another reason why my airflow was so weak. The gosh darn hole in the floor was about 6-8" off center to where it should be. I probably had the warmest furnace floor in all of America for the last 15 years.
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Greg
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Well since most "factory" ducts are nothing more than heavy aluminum foil, ANYTHING has to be better. Home Depot, Lowes or even a heating supply house. I would call around an get some prices. Perhaps Robert will add his thoughts as well. Greg
"If I can't fix it, I can screw it up so bad no one else can either."
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Robert
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Hi,

You can take sheet metal strips and screws to reattach and hold the connectors. Then wrap all seams with foil backed tape. Then cover tape and seams with Mastic Duct Sealant.


Then seal underbelly and skirting. That will hold everything while you decide improvements and get the finances in order for this unexpected cost.


For new duct work, you'll need an hvac or sheet metal shop to fabricate it for you.

IF I was going to totally replace the duct trunk lines, I would consider having the real ~correct~ size duct and duct material (not thin aluminum) installed.

Wrap/insulate the water lines and install duct below the underbelly same as any conventional housing.



Thanks,
Robert
Some people are Humbly Grateful, while some are Grumbly Hateful.................... Which one are you ?
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loveoldtrux
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Thanks Robert!

This weekend is my birthday so my son is coming over to get under the house with me and look at this situation a WHOLE lot closer. I plan to slit the underbelly on one side of the house to:

1) expose one of the long horizontal runners (one runner a weekend....)
2) probably drop it / modify one opening to correctly align what the factory futzed up 24 years ago
3) rehang the runner SECURELY up against the floor
4) resealing the tabs from the verticle runners leading to the horizontal runner ANd taping them
5) resealing joints with the Alcoa aluminum tape
6) mastic over that
7) if time permits, will do the entire duct wrap over that
Had to have the propane company come out - the tank cost $560.00 to fill - had to put it on a credit card so add 30% interest to that. I HAVE to make this the LAST tank this year....
8) reseal the underbelly with the repair kit I bought from Mark a few years ago.
All this in 2-3 hours.

Wish me luck....
Loveoldtrux
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Greg
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BOY does your son work FAST!!! :D :shock:

Greg
"If I can't fix it, I can screw it up so bad no one else can either."
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loveoldtrux
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Well actually it'll be Ray and myself below the home and his fiancee inside assisting with the vents and "nourishment"....

Have a nice weekend!!
Loveoldtrux
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Robert
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Hope all goes as planned and you get it taken care of in a timely manner.

Take care and best wishes,
Robert
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loveoldtrux
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Will keep everybody up-to-date as to how it went (with pix) for future generations. Thanks for the feedback....

More to come I'm sure,
Loveoldtrux
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