July 16, 2009 by David Gillaspie
Buying a dream home at a garage sale means taking a close look at all the systems. Since the crawl space was a walk-in I got a good look at the duct work. Or so I thought.
Half the bottom floor is walk-in crawl space; the other half has a floor access hole to crawl into. So I did it, I crawled down. It wasn’t as dark as I thought because the screened vents let in light. I noticed a sagging section of ducting and wondered how that happens.
The deal closed and I started tearing out the bottom floor shower stall to put in a jet bath. But I didn’t turn the main water off first.
It was late.
A water jet pounded my chest while I tried screwing the faucet back on a threaded pipe. That never works, but I had to try. Before I snapped out of water-shock and turned off the main I watched a stream flow over of the low shower lip, across the floor, and down a heat vent.
The next morning I drilled drain holes in the sagging duct and taped them up later. Disturbing memories of bad water kept popping up from my old Philadelphia neighborhood.
I learned that duct tubes sag for the same reason everything sags. Gravity. The greater the weight, say anything heavier than air, creates greater sagging. On the same subject, a sagging ceiling is not from heavy insulation. If your ceiling droops, you’ve got a roof leak.
It seems so simple in retrospect.
Just remember when an extremely motivated seller tells you sagging is natural, it’s usually because they want out of the house while their spouse visits his first marriage family on the other side of the country. He’ll be back and he won’t be happy.