Home Buying in Albuquerque>Question Details

Deb Russell, Home Seller in Albuquerque, NM

IAre most home buyers asking for duct video and if it shows the home has sonotubing ductwork are they asking

Asked by Deb Russell, Albuquerque, NM Mon Jun 16, 2008

that the venting be redone overhead?

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I have a background in construction, and have asked several professionals about these tubes, my understanding differs from the previous statement that "it is not a matter of if, but when they will fail". My understanding was that if they were installed properly, sonotube is as good as anything else, and if the tube has existed for 10, 20+ years without damage, it is likely to function as long as the house.

To give you a brief background on the sonotube, when the house was built, before the slab was pored, the proper way to setup sonotube was on concrete blocks, elevating it off of the ground (where those friendly, cardboard loving critters live) then pour concrete over the sonotube, encasing it - so you essentially have a tube made of concrete lined by cardboard. Problems occured when the builder skipped or missed the concrete block part of this process. There are other issues that sometimes occcur if water gets into the sonotube but all issues are likely to be discovered by a duct scope.

To summarize, I would NEVER buy a house with in-slab duct work without having a duct scope, and I would personally purchase a home with in-slab duct work without a second thought if it passes inspection.
Web Reference: http://www.casacrazy.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 17, 2008
I always recommend a duct scope if they are in the slab. If they are in good shape, most people are ok with them, even sonotube. If they are not in good shape, there are some aloternative remedies if they are not too bad, but it is best to go overhead. The only problem is that most sellers do not think anything is wrong until you tell them it is and they think you are unreasonable if you are asking for all new ventilation, which you want them to pay anywhere from $6k to $16k for. You can ask, and I recommend you do, but I would not expect them to foot the entire bill. But even if they split it with you, it would be a worthwhile investment, especially if you really like the house otherwise. Best of luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 16, 2008
Hi Deb-

If a home has Sonotubes I would definitely recommended that a buyer have the ducts scoped. Everything I have ever been told by HVAC experts is that it’s a matter of when, not if they will fail. But with said, I have seen 30 year old homes that have no problems. If the ducts are compromised, the only economical solution I have seen is to install a new system in the attic (if available), or on the roof if flat.

I hope it works out for you - Tego
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 16, 2008
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