Wednesday, March 31, 2010

PTCS Duct Sealing

PTCS allows this (next photos), as a way to fix ducts, as long as the repair is preceded and followed by a duct blaster test. I read of the allowance of detachment somewhere. Wouldn't you think such an issue would be loudly presented for public debate and enforcement if PTCS were real? No. If they have something to teach, it is kept secret. My rebate organization is unhappy with my condemnation of PTCS as a mere figment of someone's imagination. A half-baked set of rules mainly demanding rote use of expensive tests, that a wary consumer will not allow. Must not pay for. Must not be paid out of funds collected for real weatherization.

My rebate organization knows better, (see DS 1.3), and a competent worker, not just "PTCS certified", would not do this. Yet my rebate organization exalts and defends PTCS and deeply hurts me financially, as a protester. I can not be regarded as a person competent to repair ducts, defending a customer's rebate claim. With my disdain of duct blasting, I am expected to call in a real PTCS person, and stay away from those mysterious ducts. I am expected to shut up, and find some other campaign and livelihood.

 I have not altered the found misalignment. The applied mesh and goop were not bonded to the duct, but until someone again stepped on the obstructive duct, it was not leaking.

The replacement of that awful duct, and others horribly in the way of storage, and in danger, does not meet PTCS requirements because I will not honor PTCS and support its tax on good trainers and technicians, by paying up and joining the "program." I then am barred from supporting a rebate application for my customer for all of the air sealing that was wanting in this home, done with meticulous, documented, reported diligence.

An unsupportable consequence to consumers of demanded performance-based weatherization (the "P" in PTCS), is that they are expected to pay the cost of multiple sets of tests argued as determining maintenance needs, when visual examination is the true guide of judgement.

People are blessed with PTCS listing, for attending classroom instruction and paying a typical amount of $400. The listing contains no test of employer or customer verification of competence. The money is so misspent, that listings are not screened for typos, and important parameters of certifications and distance from the searcher are not bothered-with.

Here is a "before" photo of the well-traveled attic with mashed ducts.

Here is "after."

The duct wrap is Johns Manville R11 Basement Wall Insulation . A tough poly-skrim facing adds durability, and R-value. Seams are sealed with Vapor-Bond tape by Americover found in application of its GoldenTouch material as conditioned crawl space ground covering. It even sticks reliably to slippery goop found slathered on these ducts. The tape sold with Basement Wall Insulation is Venture Tape 1537WMP-VR, which has chancy bonding. The Americover tape peels from a roll, more convenient too, than Venture tape, with its paper backing. 

Tapes should not be relied-upon for strength in shear. For ducts in an attic floor, the need is easily avoided. Rest ducts on floor joists or insulation, and tuck lengths of basement wall insulation around them. In a crawl space, wrap of steel ducts has unavoidable shear demand. Even Vapor Bond will not hold indefinitely, and must be backed up with twine.