Tag Archives: home disasters

Money Pit or “I’ve Never Seen Anything Like This Before”

The sentence that will forever define our experience in our first house in North Carolina is “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”  That’s the sentence used by every service technician that enters our home.  Today it is being used by the good folks at Duct Doctor who are here cleaning out our air ducts.


The reason the good people at Duct Doctor used “the sentence” is that they’ve discovered radiant water heating coils in the ductwork of our basement.  As I may (or may not) have documented in the past the previous owner of this house had a large chimenia built in the back of our house (picture above), had water pipes run through it and then attached those pipes to some radiant heating coils throughout the basement.  Until now we had no idea that they also put radiant coils inside the ductwork.

Apparently the theory was that the coils would aid in heating the house by allowing the air handler to blow air around the warm coils, but unfortunately the coils are just resting on the bottom part of the ductwork so the air can’t really circulate around it.  Furthermore, it makes no damn sense when you consider that you have to worry about heat around here maybe 3 months out of the year.  And the fact that this was all hooked up to an outdoor, wood burning operation kind of totally defeats the purpose too by causing you to spend your entire day out in the cold stoking a fire.

Unfortunately for us the result of all this is that we have a higher propensity for mold in our HVAC system.  We already had the water source detached from the coil system when we had the plumber (John’s Plumbing, Heating & AC, whom I highly recommend) in to fix our water pressure after our new water heater started leaking, so that part of the equation is taken care of. But, we still need to get those metal coils out of there since condensation can build up on them when we run the AC. Oh, and by-the-by, we run our AC a LOT more than we run the heat.  Guess what I’ll be doing over the next few weeks?

So now we’ve had a general contractor, a plumber, an HVAC tech and a duct cleaner all walk in our house and say “I’ve never seen anything like that before.”  I suspect we’re becoming infamous among the service people in Winston-Salem.