Daily Insight | OBVIOUS Part 2

“Success is the study of the OBVIOUS. We all need to take Obvious 101 & 202 in school. It is the starting point. Start with the OBVIOUS. It will save you a lot of time…” — Jim Rohn

In Part 1, we discussed the need for taking classes on the Obvious. The use of the Obvious will make life more enjoyable. It will lessen the stress caused by seeking that which isn’t there. Such was the case with those on the fan. They didn’t want to believe it was as simple as it would be found to be. They had obtained a mountain of information, but their information having been taken in places that were not correct was flawed and thus could not provide the facts needed to solve the low flow problem plaguing this fan.

As I saw it, the problem with the placement of the holes lay in the fact they were too close to the flex connector. This is where the rigid metal duct is connected to the fan. The reason for the use of a flex connector is to reduce or stop fan vibration transferred into the duct and thus into the building and occupied space. When I asked where the static pressure for the fan inlet was taken, I was told it was taken in the flex connection between the duct and fan. I had them show me where this was then grabbed a pair of pliers to pull out the flex connector and check the “hole” used for their reading.

When I pulled out the flex connector I was shocked for I noticed an inordinate amount of flex; much, much more than was necessary. I immediately surmised this was more than likely the mystery problem for which ALL had been looking. I made a comment on how I believed this could be the culprit further stating I didn’t consider there was any reason to continue testing. The response of all was they had paid me for a full test so, I should continue. I thought perhaps they knew it is the flex connector thus they were using me to simply check on the readings, which had been previously taken and submitted. In other words they would use my readings as verification. I also thought this may be a setup to test my true skills. I would soon find out this was not the case.

After drilling new holes in the correct locations, I turned off the fan. As it slowed I noticed the rotation was correct. I then went through the normal survey checking everything from head to toe on the fan and ductwork with the information I took matching that which they had already taken. What I found while taking my own readings revealed the problem was right where I said it was: the flex duct connector. As stated my readings matched everything they had taken with one exception: I took a pressure drop across the flex duct connector and they did not. The readings across the flex duct connector showed the flex connection to have an enormously high pressure drop, which would adversely affect the performance of the fan. I had not at this point disclosed my readings across the flex connector to those around me as being the culprit. So, those around me were looking at me wondering what was going on as my readings had not disclosed anything different from what they already knew.

At this point I turned to the person who hired me telling him I knew what the problem was and could have it solved in an hour or less. He did not believe me and neither did anyone else. I stated it was the flex connector and everyone laughed. They thought they were laughing me to scorn. I knew then they didn’t know it was the flex connector and I was stunned. To take a reading in the flex connector they had to pull apart the two pieces of duct and pull out the flex. They then had to poke a hole in the flex while holding the pieces of duct apart by sticking a static pressure probe through the hole in the flex some ten inches INSIDE the edge of the two pieces of duct. What amazed me was this did not register in their minds as being an issue. If the flex was ten inches inside the edge of the metal duct the flex had then reduced the metal duct to something that was ten inches in every direction smaller than it was supposed to be and that my friend was the problem. THEY DID NOT SEE THE OBVIOUS!

They all worked right beside me; they saw me pull the flex duct out revealing a tremendous amount of excess flex duct “stuffed into” and in between the two metal ducts that were now jammed together. Somehow, they did not think of or see THE OBVIOUS. Somehow it didn’t register in their brains this extra flex duct was “reducing” the actual free area of the metal duct thus creating a blockage in air flow. Seeing as how the flex duct blockage was very close to the inlet of the fan this further exacerbated the problem. It was the OBVIOUS cause of why the fan was not performing to capacity.

Although they did not believe me, I took the next hour to prove the flex connector to be the issue. I directed them to remove the flex connector and since we had no extra sheet metal lying around, I had them cut some drywall pieces to the correct size; then screw and gray tape these to the outside of the duct. The fan was started and retested. It was found to be performing considerably higher than design. This was due to previously increasing the fan speed thinking this was the problem. Now that the OBVIOUS BLOCKAGE was removed the fan speed could be reduced allowing the fan to perform at design. Once again, the OBVIOUS was the blockage and yet, the so called professionals never saw it.

Remember, when faced with issues and problems the answer most often is found in that which is the simplest and most obvious. More often than not we over think, try to outsmart, or over intellectualize it. The real answer lies in humbling yourself to the point of looking at that which is simple and OBVIOUS! If you will but apply this little discipline to everything you do, life will become much easier.

Best of LUCK as you
Labor Under Correct Knowledge…


Rick Cox