November 26th, 2013

Installing HVAC Systems in Elevated Homes

Installing HVAC systems in elevated homes can be a challenge. Elevated homes typically have a large garage space under the first floor system. The ceiling of the garage acts as the fire barrier as long as it is completely covered with 5/8″ fire rated drywall. The same concept applies to a home with an attached garage. In that case both the garage wall and the ceiling are covered with fire rated drywall.

The ideal location for the HVAC air handling unit and ducts is inside the conditioned space of the home. An example would be for the system to be in side a closet and the ducts running through the floor system. The advantage of this type of installation is that the system is within the building envelope and is much more energy efficient.

Installing HVAC systems in elevated homes in the garage is relatively common. The trick in this case is to protect the integrity of the fire barrier between the garage and the living space above. The most common finding during the home inspection is that the HVAC air handling unit is attached to the floor system above and there is a large gap in the drywall around the unit and the adjacent ducts.

Installing HVAC Systems in Elevated HomesAt a recent home inspection I found a real nice solution to the problem. All of the ducts where inside chases that were covered with 5/8″ drywall. The air handling units were also boxed in with drywall and fire rated plywood was used at the access panel. While there are a couple other ways to tackle this problem this was one of the cleanest solutions that I have found.

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