No Problem Here Under the Lampost!

I remember a story I heard when I was a kid about a man who comes upon another man obviously searching for something under the light from a lamppost on the street corner.  He asks the obvious question, “Lose something?”  The second man looks up and replies, “Yup.  I lost my keys.”  The first many asks, “Where did you lose them?”  The second man says, “Down the street a ways.”  Puzzled, the first man asks, “If you lost them down the street, why are you looking for them here?”  The second man looks up and replies, “The light’s better here.”


I was doing a duct test on a new house this week and couldn’t get the ducts up to pressure which generally means something’s

Where’s the Hole?

wide open – I missed covering a grille or the grille tape blew off or there’s a missing duct connection.  After checking all the obvious possibilities, sure enough, down in the crawl space, on the back side of the duct board trunk on the return, a piece of duct board had been left off.  It was just missing.


It wasn’t a bad contractor just being lazy.  It was just a mistake.  Mistakes happen.  Looking at the system, everything looked fine.  The missing piece was hidden, on the backside of the duct.  The system was working great, satisfactorily cooling the house since it was that time of year.  So a conscientious HVAC contractor wouldn’t have caught it by commissioning the system.  It would have been that way for the life of the system – a hole the size of a large pizza in the duct work, sucking air in from the crawl space. Without testing, that problem wouldn’t have been found.  And this is certainly not the first time I’ve seen this, and there are lots of people who test lots more ducts than I do.  It’s mind boggling.  It’s one of those weird LOVE/HATE things: I love finding this things, but I hate that they exist.


Contractors complain to us all the time about having to comply with new codes and regulations and those air heads in Washington who make all these new rules.  “But go ahead.  Do your testing.  Waste of time, though.  I don’t see any problems . . . here under the light.”


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