Found this twice this week

So who can tell me what these three pictures show. They are of the same area of the ceiling in a one year old high end two story home.

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No one wants to play? :frowning:

First or second floor ceiling?

Give us some information!

At least a digital photo.
Can you post those better than 100x69 ?

I will give it a shot. Moisture from the attic adjacent to the light fixture.



With out knowing the arrangement of construction locations of bathrooms A/C equipment and ducting I would just be shooting blanks but yes you have some unusual patterns and it will be interesting to see what you have.

We’re waiting for your answer…

First floor ceiling. Time progression and images should answer the moisture question. Don’t really need a normal view picture, as it is a completely unremarkable ceiling picture. First picture was an hour - hour and half into the inspection on a hot day. My normal procedure in hot weather is to set up the inside by turning down the AC and then going out and doing the outside, while the inside cools off.

What is the largest image I can upload? At some point I settled on a custom size that the board would allow and always used that without experimenting. Here are some larger versions.

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He is cooking dinner and doing the mothers day thing.


He will get back to us later.


Took her to a nice restaurant. Food was good, service was not. Which is unusual for this particular place. Took almost 3 hours. Not that much fun with a 3.5 year old.

The problem is leaking ductwork. The area pictured was one of several places I found the anomaly in this home in the general area of a chase down from the attic. You can see the progression from very cold when the ac had been running for a while to normal/hot after I ran the heat. Notice how the wood members stay much colder than the empty space between them.

The photos below are more obvious because you can see the registers.

In both houses, both high end 5000 sf plus, the owners had upgraded their ac when they built to 18 and 15 seer respectively. Guess upgraded or just quality ductwork installation doesn’t come with the 15k or so they spent on the upgrade.

In the original set of photos the owner has had big problems getting the master suite to cool. The builder has come out multiple times to “balance” the airflow. Leaving every time with “well there just isn’t much we can do.” They also shorted this house a whole ac unit compared with others of the same floor plan. I believe there is a good chance the leak is at least contributing to the cooling issue as it was the chase that would supply the master suite.

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Kevin I have seen it a million times contractors will install a larger or even the same size unit on existing duct work that is a pile of crap and they will never check the ducts just install the unit grab the money and scoot. Makes no sense to me they are leaving money on the table by not making all repairs.

The neighboring house to the first set of photos, who referred me, paid for their units to be upgraded. When the wife’s Dad happened to walk through with her the week before closing he commented on the basic level units which had been installed. She said the builder initially tried to blow her off, “of course we installed the correct units…” When she insisted that she wouldn’t close, he came out and had to admit they had installed the wrong kind.

So there is a pattern of sloppiness in the AC work in this neighborhood.


Were the the ducts completely insulated? I wouldn’t think so, at this point.

Just a note; air leakage can account for 60% loss versus 30% for no/inadequate insulation.

You can have the best unit out there and it will not provide the needed comfort. System/duct design is 9 out of 10 reasons why HVAC performance is inadequate.

You do not even have to do analysis (which is outside SOP) to see that it isn’t going to work. The IR can help to show HOW it isn’t working a lot of times.

I have to write all too often;“This is due to the laws of thermodynamics and is not an equipment defect.”.

When the air leak in your case is in an unconditioned space (attic), your loss is doubled. Conditioned Air Loss cfm/hr = Unconditioned Air Infiltration cfm/hr.

?? One year old home. Standard R-6 insulated flex duct. Installation in the attic space that I could see was average. PRetty confident that it is either a damaged duct or a disconnect/poor connection.

Contractors like to cut corners when it’s going to be covered up!