Plumbing access inside return chase

  • It is wrong to have a plumbing access installed inside at return chase for the A/C heating.



Carlos Orellana
Houston, Texas

dont know about that but it looks like there is some likelihood of mold there…

Are you sure that’s a return? Whats the white cover for? Looks like an opening for the plumbing of the tub. Did that white piece cover the hole or did you remove a grill?

Ha ha !
Carlos is pulling a fast one.
You are a little new to be that sarcastic Carlos.
Good catch guys.
That is a access hatch behind the tub.:slight_smile:

Here is a copy of Carlos last post from days ago…
7/31/10, 6:03 PM
Carlos R. Orellana
InterNACHI Member

Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 25
Re: Design defects in new homes
Do you guys write up as deficient lack of plumbing/drain access at rear wall shower/ tubs in new homes ? Also do make any comments about exposed uninsulated CPVC water pipes in attics ?

Houston ,Texas

I can clearly see the tub. Carlos, outright lies or causing people to waste their time will make people not like you very much!

No, No No, you guys are making a mistake.

  • These picture are in the inside of the return chase, unfortunately , did not take a far away picture showing as I first removed the A/C filter , and has to stick my head to open the plumbing access to see if there was leaks.My concerned was if any moisture could be succioned into the return from the bathroom area and if it would do any harm as usually return are not located at kitchen & bathrooms.
  • regarding Bobs comments about the uninsulated CPVC pipes in attic, I find them here in new homes all the time ( find PEX as well) , . I also think that the plumbing access should be installed in new homes as well to check for leaks, No joke intended, honest concerns in both cases.
  • I value my time as much as others; Would not waste any ones time. , Message board is very valuable as well as others opinion, Have been NACHI a member for about a little over a year and seriously, not joking or wasting your time.

Carlos Orellana
Houston Texas

Carlos if that is a tub in the background ,and I am sure it is then it is not a proper return.
Floor joists can be used and often are, but wall studs that are not even compartmented off could not possibly be used that way.

You need to look at the furnace and see where the return leads to.
That picture shows no clips that would even hold a filter and the sheet metal attached is solid.

The picture that I took did not make sense from feed back that I have received, Do not have additional pictures of that area; I made a simple sketch to show what was looking at.

plumbing.pdf (4.01 KB)


I looked at Carlos sketch, and i now understand what he is asking. The camera was held inside of the Ac chase to take a picture of the plumbing access leading to the tub. The plywood wall shown is the inside of the a/c chase. Look at his pdf drwg for a better understanding of what he is trying to show. I would think that the access panel might be acceptable this way, but i really have no basis for saying that. My understanding is that you need sufficient access to perform maintenance such as changing out the fixtures. If this access met that criteria, then it may be acceptable. However, I think there are other issues here such as the proximity of the chase to the tub— moisture issues – doesn’t appear that there is a framed wall separating the tub from the chase.


My feeling is that at least there is an access to the plumbing / tub. How many times have we seen cases where there is zero access to the plumbing or tub, especially with whirlpool tubs? Always makes me scratch my head anyway. Dumb. Looks like if any major work was needed the whole thing would have to be torn open anyway.

Of greater concern to me now is that there is what appears to be visible mold present inside this HVAC return chase system…


I agree ; I alwasy recommend to have plumbing access installed, this location seemed odd, find all kinds of things inside chases, wires, etc ( improper of course)

  • In your reference to the mold issue that you mention, the picture is shaded and in reality it did not seem to be any kind of organic substance; so no mention of any organic like substance was made.
    its beyond my scope but if I susspect an issue I will recommend further evaluation by specialist, just not in this case.
    Client did not buy property, multiple issues, did another inspection two days latter for client.

    . Thanks for all replies