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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6
    Greetings!

    Long time listener, first time caller.

    We are in the process of building a new 3402 square foot home in Edwardsville, IL (A suburb of St. Louis, MO). We're the owners and general contractors. The trusses just went up earlier this week.

    Here's the plan we're building:
    http://www.familyhomeplans.com/plan_...anNumber=54083
    (plus a walkout basement)

    After reading the recommendations on the forum for the past month, we are leaning towards a Carrier Infinity system.

    We like the advanced humidistat controls, zoning capability and internet connectivity. So far none of the subs I've met with have been able to talk about the Infinity system; oddly they all want to sell me "Comfortmaker" gear. I've not seen a lot of talk about "Comfortmaker" so I don't know if it's a local brand or what.

    As a lay-person reading about the "Manual J" and other "Manual" computations, does this apply to new construction? Again, all of the subs so far have just eyeballed the square footage.

    We are also a little concerned because at least one of the installers recommended a flex-pipe ductwork system, and if I understand it that's not a good idea?

    Since we are also partially finishing the basement, we will need a crafty sheet metal artist to keep the ducts in the ceiling as much as possible.

    Is there anyone on the board that can work with us, or does anyone have any recommendations for a "Wall of Pride" - level installer? We are willing to spend what it takes to get a good system and a great install at a fair price.

    Thanks for your help!

    G

    PS: I did not see anything in the rules against soliciting for an installer, but if I've offended anyone I apologize.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Northern VA
    Posts
    512
    Comfortmaker = builder-grade equipment. New construction subs are used to bidding entirely on price, since GCs are *so* price sensitive and most people don't care about HVAC quality.

    You need to make sure they are aware that you are not a typical GC. I would suggest directly saying "Even though I'm the GC, I am not interested in builder-grade HVAC equipment on this job." or something like that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Richmond
    Posts
    480
    I upgraded my HVAC to Carrier Infinity on my New House a few months ago. Advice: Watch what the installers are doing! I posted my pics in the Wall of Pride, thinking that it was the best system ever, then "Return looks too small..." "R-410A linset left open..." "No Secondary Drian..." Follow their work carefully! Don't feel bothered to ask them questions or concerns you have. I did, but the dumb sub that did our work never followed up on any of our concerns. Better luck to you than me. Anyway, Carrier Infinity is a great system, but only if it is installed properly!

    P.S,
    Wondering what the mess looks like?




    http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php?threadid=96638

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    East Grand Forks, MN
    Posts
    1,375
    Sorry I,m too far away!

    Seeing all equipment and working with them, I say go with the Infinty or the Evolution system (Carrier or Bryant).

    Are you contemplating Heat Pump or A/C only?
    Offpeak, Nat or LP? Is Geothermal out? How about radiant floor heat?

    I would look for perfomance based installers, ie us.

    Al



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    2,597
    have you considered two seperate systems?

    even though zoning would be less expensive, most builders around here(cheap) always install two(cheap) systems in a home such as yours. in this scenario you should have at least one working when the other fails, and they will fail.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6
    Originally posted by arc8
    Sorry I,m too far away!

    Seeing all equipment and working with them, I say go with the Infinty or the Evolution system (Carrier or Bryant).

    Are you contemplating Heat Pump or A/C only?
    Offpeak, Nat or LP? Is Geothermal out? How about radiant floor heat?

    I would look for perfomance based installers, ie us.

    Al


    Well, I'm not sure about heat pump vs. A/C. We have pretty harsh summers and fairly strong winters here in St. Lou. We will have Natural Gas, and are used to Natural Gas heat in our current house. We looked at Geo and were blown away by the price of a closed-loop vertical system by the one bid we got. What would you recommend? If I'm reading the website correctly, Infinity series has both an A/C and a heat pump...

    I am definitely looking for performance based installers. I haven't found one yet.

    Thanks!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6
    Originally posted by billva
    have you considered two seperate systems?

    even though zoning would be less expensive, most builders around here(cheap) always install two(cheap) systems in a home such as yours. in this scenario you should have at least one working when the other fails, and they will fail.
    We have three comfortmaker 13 SEER 2-unit system bids. I asked one gent about "zoning" and he replied "You're getting 2 units, so 2 zones". Sigh.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,042
    Manual J- absolutely. I think the rules of thumb work even worse on new construction than they do on existing, because new construction tends to be so much better insulated than the good-ol-boys are used to.

    I have Infinity equipment in my own home and have no regrets

    If a sub doesn't know high-end equipment and doesn't do Manual J, keep looking. Just like you can ask your spouse to change and they can promise to (try to) do it, deep down they're always the same. So even if they are willing to do something special just for you, keep in mind that it'll be all new to them. After all, lower-end equipment is the vast majority of the volume in HVAC.

    I don't think it would be crazy to announce on the very first call to the shop that you want a high-end system. Even at a firm that does decent business in high end systems, not every salesperson may be trained on it. If you're upfront about what you are going to be asking them about, they have a better shot at sending the right person to meet with you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6
    Originally posted by perel
    Comfortmaker = builder-grade equipment. New construction subs are used to bidding entirely on price, since GCs are *so* price sensitive and most people don't care about HVAC quality.

    You need to make sure they are aware that you are not a typical GC. I would suggest directly saying "Even though I'm the GC, I am not interested in builder-grade HVAC equipment on this job." or something like that.
    Thanks!

    Definitely a good suggestion, though the one guy I tried that on gave me a blank stare and basically told me I didn't know what I was talking about (True, to a point) and that his bid was "all I need".

    Given what you said, I think what's happening is I'm only talking to the "new construction" drones and they honestly don't seem to know any other way.

    Wanted: HVAC gunslinger in St. Louis. Anyone?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    2,597
    if you go for two systems (zones), you may want to consider something like this:

    lower level will do most of the heating with the upper being primarily auxillary heat.

    upper level is most important for cooling.

    lower system: ruud/rheem modulating furnace with single stage condenser.

    upper system: brand of your choice with a two stage condenser.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6
    Originally posted by wyounger
    Manual J- absolutely. I think the rules of thumb work even worse on new construction than they do on existing, because new construction tends to be so much better insulated than the good-ol-boys are used to.

    I have Infinity equipment in my own home and have no regrets

    If a sub doesn't know high-end equipment and doesn't do Manual J, keep looking. Just like you can ask your spouse to change and they can promise to (try to) do it, deep down they're always the same. So even if they are willing to do something special just for you, keep in mind that it'll be all new to them. After all, lower-end equipment is the vast majority of the volume in HVAC.


    Very good point. Like I said earlier, I'd be very reluctant to have one of the subs I've already spoken to install a complex system. "Why would you want to hook up your thermostat to America Online?"

    I don't think it would be crazy to announce on the very first call to the shop that you want a high-end system. Even at a firm that does decent business in high end systems, not every salesperson may be trained on it. If you're upfront about what you are going to be asking them about, they have a better shot at sending the right person to meet with you.
    The danger in announcing I want a high-end system is I don't want to basically shout "I'm an putz with an open wallet, fleece me".

    It's been very difficult to tell the "good guys" from the "bad guys".

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6
    Originally posted by billva
    if you go for two systems (zones), you may want to consider something like this:

    lower level will do most of the heating with the upper being primarily auxillary heat.

    upper level is most important for cooling.

    lower system: ruud/rheem modulating furnace with single stage condenser.

    upper system: brand of your choice with a two stage condenser.
    Thanks, but I'm really looking for the flexibility of the Infinity / Evolution.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    2,597
    the only flexibility of the infinity is to zone without bypass dampers, a great feature i might add.

    [Edited by billva on 08-11-2006 at 05:47 PM]

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