There can be many different sources of high moisture content in your home and flooring. This post is in reference to an inspection done by my associate Ken Vavasseur. It illustrates an elusive moisture source that is many times overlooked.
CONSUMER CONCERN AND HISTORY:
1957 – House was built
1975 – House was bought
1976 – First Central AC unit was installed
1992 – Second Central AC (3 Ton) unit was installed
1997 – Remodel of Kitchen with addition of Laundry Room & Master Bath
Nov 2011 – Third Central AC (4 Ton) unit was installed
March 2012 – I called D****’s Heating & Air and advised that I thought something was wrong with my current AC unit. D**** was sent to assess the unit and air flow. He placed a string from an air vent in my bedroom at the front of the house and assessed the air flow and said “it was fixed” and leaves.
June 2012 – I notice the floors in my den begin to buckle. My daughter and her family came in on June 9th, 2012, she tells me that it is “too hot” in her bedroom (the bedroom in the front of the house in which ***** had just checked the air flow.) The thermostat is set at 65 degrees but there is no relief.
Winter 2012 – During the winter, I noticed that the some of the buckles in the floors had begun to lay down. They were by no means, flush. But they were somewhat better.
Summer 2013 – I noticed that the floors in the den began to buckle yet again. Along with the floors in the master bedroom. I saw J*** and again I stated I thought something was wrong with my AC unit. He assessed the unit and advised nothing was wrong.
Winter 2013 – Again during the winter, the buckled floors in the den and master bedroom began to lay flat, however not as flat as the previous winter.
August 2014 – While sitting in the den, I heard what sounded like a loud gunshot that came from my master bedroom. I ran in to find the floor had severely buckled. At this point, I called J*** and asked if both he and D**** would come assess the situation. When they arrived, I told them that when they put two more holes in my ceiling for “return air”, all the problems started. I was told, “you can never have too much return air!” Everything had been fine up until that point. They went up into the attic to check the duct work and air flow only to say “everything was fine. But, if the floors buckling was their fault; they would make it right.”
Dec 2014 – I spoke with J*** and advised him my daughter was again in town and she stated it was “too cold in the front bedroom” and she didn’t think the heater was working right. Again, we spoke about my floors and the temperature issues. At this point, J*** advised I needed to have my house assessed for termites.
Feb 2015 – I spoke with a pest exterminator. They sent someone to assess the house. I was told, I have no issues with termites but it was “raining” underneath my home (condensation dripping).
April 24, 2015 – J*** came to my house and changed out the AC unit from the 4 ton, installed in Nov 2011, to a 3.5 ton.
August 24, 2016 – The floors in my den began to buckle yet again. This time I took a few pictures and sent them to J*** with a caption “AC still not right!” His response, “would have to look at humidity in the house. Try to get there as soon as I can.”
September 23, 2016 – While changing the sheets on my bed, the floor suddenly gave way and my foot and leg went through the floor.
KEN’S INSPECTION OBSERVATIONS:
I met with Ms. N****** on 10/11/2016. I arrived at her home at 5:30 p.m. Ms. N****** showed me the areas of concern where the wood floors were buckling. These rooms were the dining room, master bedroom, living room, and two front bedrooms. The a/c thermostat was set at 64 degrees. Ms. N****** stated she kept the thermostat at 64 so that the front of the house could maintain a 72 degree temperature. This causes the back of the house to be 63 degrees. The air flow from the a/c unit is not balanced. When conducting a moisture test in the wood floor, I found high moisture content. ( See pictures of readings). The sub floor was rotting in the master bedroom and dining room.
The temperature of the wood floor inside the home from the front room was 68/69 degrees, middle rooms were 62.9 degrees, master bedroom in back of home was 63 degrees, and the kitchen was 70 degrees. I went under the home to conduct temperature readings on the substrate. The front of the home was 80 degrees, the middle was 77 degrees and the back was 75 degrees. I did not find any rotting of the substrate under the home, only from the top inside the home. The ground under the house was completely dry.
KEN’S INSPECTION CONCLUSION:
The home measures 1408 square feet. The a/c unit that was installed in November 2011 was a 4 ton unit which is over sized for that size home. Due to the unbalanced air flow from the a/c unit and the difference in temperature from outside to inside the home it created condensation between the wood floor and the substrate, causing the wood floor to buckle.