Lake Austin Build Along: Mechanical Systems

Lake Austin Build Along: Mechanical Systems

Our Lake Austin build along is really making progress since our last visit and we've begun installing the mechanical systems.

Because we are a Design + Build firm, we have a very close relationship with how things are built and installed. In other words, we like to make sure all project work is being carried out as our design and experience dictate they should. Today's blog is about mechanical systems install.

Our project manager Adrian put together this walk through on how the mechanical installation phase should go.

There is an ideal sequence to installing mechanical systems

The framing is almost completed and the windows and doors have been installed. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) hardware is being installed along with plumbing, electrical, and other critical home systems. It's a good idea to install the mechanical systems in order of piping priority. HVAC ducting should have the highest priority followed by plumbing and then wiring. You cannot sacrifice the efficient distribution of air conditioning because a wire was in the way when a wire can be run any number of ways without effecting it's efficiency.

First the air handler and plenums are placed. Then the duct work is run to and from each location. Ducting should be installed with smooth sweeping curves and provide the shortest run possible to each location. There should be no pinch points or crimped duct work as these reduce efficiency and ultimately prevent the system from operating properly. Returns and supplies should be placed across the room from each other to create a good flow through the space.

After the HVAC is in, the plumbing drains and vents pipes should be installed followed by the supply lines for hot and cold water. All drain and waste plumbing should be schedule 40 PVC pipe. All of these pipes should be filled to the roof with water to test for leaks when completed. The supply lines should be pressurized then connected to the permanent water supply as soon as possible. If a water line is cut in the wall it is identified immediately.


After the HVAC and plumbing have been installed the electrical, central vacuum, and low voltage should go in. Prior to any wiring being run, we like to set all of the electrical boxes and then walk through the house with the client and discuss all of the locations. It gives us a final opportunity to make changes and confirm locations prior to running wire. Moving a blue box is easy compared to rewiring later. Electrical and low voltage lines should not run together or closely parallel. This creates interference in the low voltage lines and should be avoided.

Modifications will be needed along the way during mechanical installation. The framer will need to modify some areas to allow the plumbing or HVAC to be run as they should. All modifications must maintain the structural integrity of the structure.

We will be installing these systems over the next couple of weeks. Next time we'll look at stucco, which will be starting soon.

Thanks for checking in on the progress of our Lake Austin build along. For more photos of completed homes and projects in design, visit our site here.

"We have been extremely happy with every process of the construction of our home with Jenkins Custom Homes."

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