Ask the Woodchucks: August 24, 2017

Question: We have an Adler unit with no basement and recently had our air ducts cleaned. During the process, the tech removed the grill from each duct and inserted an air and vacuum hose. While working in the laundry/utility room, he removed the ceiling grill by the garage door and found that there was a circular duct about a foot long, which was not connected to anything, just open to the attic. This obviously is allowing attic heat in the summer and cold in the winter to enter the laundry room. Before I close this off, I wanted to check with the woodchucks to see if this has any purpose.

Answer: In your utility room you have three appliances exhausting air through roof vents or side wall vents to the outside. These appliances are the furnace, the water heater and the clothes dryer. This air has to be replaced from somewhere. In your home, this is done through the round duct you have discovered. It takes air from the attic to replace the exhaust air being blown to the outside by these three appliances.

Homes with basements do not need this duct because the volume of air in the basement and the migration of air around doors and windows is enough to supply the needed makeup air. High efficiency furnaces have a dedicated duct to bring outside air in to offset the exhaust.

Question: At the bottom of all my downspouts is a box with removable grate. A black corrugated plastic tube goes out of it, which is buried. At the end of the tube there is a lid that is supposed to pop up and let the water escape into the yard. I am sure they are all clogged up because the box at the downspout over flows when it rains. I am sure I can clean out the box, but what about the buried tube if unclogging the box doesn’t help?

Answer: The pop-up at the end of the tube is removable. With it removed, you can reach in and remove any dirt or other debris that is clogging the tube. If the clog is further in than you can reach, insert a garden hose with water running full force to wash out the clog.

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1 Comment

  1. We have the Fox model and there is a vent in the rear of the house toward the bottom of the siding and the flaps are breaking off. I’ve been looking all over and can find anything to replace it. There is a grid behind the flaps. While we’re at it what is it used for? We have a basement. Thanks.