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  1. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,875
    Yes, designers generally don't install.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  2. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Beautiful, Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love!
    Posts
    1,096
    In this present hvac environment it is best to put a little extra money into the building budget to cover the hvac engineering, part of the design would include a write up some specifications that all contractors must use in their install quote. This is rarely how it works in real life and why most homeowners are dissatisfied with their hvac systems.

    I would add installing a separate zone would definitely take care of the addition if it gets designed installed correctly and that is a toss up most times.

    Option two would be to attach all three proposals to a spinning wheel and throw a dart.

  3. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Cal
    Posts
    1,596
    Randell, Guy 3 has the most complete solution, but you contradict it by stating that his number is 150% of the solutions that don't solve the problem.

    Huh? Let's say I find a great deal on 65 octane gas, who cares it won't get me down the road.

    I liked how he avoided an overly optimistic position on the concealed conditions of the framing. It could go either way. Your house, your problem, your signature on the change order sir.

    Retrofitting zoning on an existing system? Expensive and complicated to do correctly if the opportunity is even feasible. Do it wrong and you will regret it.

  4. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    6,271

    Thumbs up (503) 235-9083

    Quote Originally Posted by BaldLoonie View Post
    Look for H-T member SkyHeating. He's a Portlander or whatever you guys call yourselves Have him out and see what he thinks, from reading his posts on here, sounds like a sharp guy.
    Definitely call SkyHeating ... I believe he knows HOW TO LISTEN. Therefore, he will address YOUR Needs in a manner compatible with Science AND Your Budget.
    Designer Dan
    It's Not Rocket Science, But It is SCIENCE with "Some Art". ___ ___ K EEP I T S IMPLE & S INCERE

    Define the Building Envelope and Perform a Detailed Load Calc: It's ALL About Windows and Make-up Air Requirements. Know Your Equipment Capabilities

  5. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by dan sw fl View Post
    Definitely call SkyHeating ... I believe he knows HOW TO LISTEN. Therefore, he will address YOUR Needs in a manner compatible with Science AND Your Budget.
    So is he a designer? or an installer?

    Randell

  6. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,721
    Quote Originally Posted by RandellP View Post

    I live in portland, Oregon. The house is currently 2550 sq feet. Has one unit to do the whole house.
    Trouble is, the upstairs is always significantly hotter than the downstairs.
    We will call this problem 1.
    Problem 2 is that I would like to do an addition of about 500 sq ffet, mainly upstairs. But at the end of the house furthest from the unit, and I would like it heated and cooled.

    current setup... only one return, in the stairwell that goes upstairs at about the floor level for upstairs.

    Temperature differential from the thermostat (downstairs) and the master bed room upstairs in the summer is about 5 degrees.

    Randell
    Hi Randell.

    First, sounds like all three guys are taking wild guesses. Throwing convincing ideas together trying to get compensated for the time they spent at your kitchen table. Is this unethical? I don't think so.

    QUESTION: With no guarantee of compensation, and less than 33% chance of a sale, how much time can be expected to put into a complicated design?

    ANSWER: As little as it takes to sell the job.

    Free advice is worth what you pay for it. (Seems you get it, I'm hammering the point for other homeowners reading this.)

    Typical causes of temperature imbalance you complain of are:
    1. Oversized equipment
    2. Attic leakage
    3. Insufficient attic insulation
    4. Duct leakage
    5. Poor return
    6. Undersized supply


    Two pieces of equipment is brute force, usually unnecessary, short and long term costly, and IMO inelegant approach to curing problems that are better addressed by fixing the house. 2 pieces of equipment to service and replace, who benefits from that?

    So your current house is broken, and you want to add to it. You want to understand what is currently broken and what would fix it so that can be incorporated into the work rather than just picking the option that "sounds" best and living with the ensuing disappointment.

    QUESTION: if you call an insulation salesperson about comfort issues, what solution do you expect will be recommended?

    QUESTION: if you call an hvac salesperson about comfort issues, what solution do you expect will be recommended?

    Are the answers redundant?

    Might want to start with an energy audit. Really learn whats going on with your home, from a more comprehensive perspective. Consider this, is the bedroom uncomfortable because it doesnt get enough cooling, or because the cooling is lost too quickly? If improvement to building enclosure can fix or reduce comfort problems the audit should uncover that.

    Fix the house first, then design the hvac for the fixed house. Designing hvac for a broken house results in frustrating comfort problems and high energy costs in perpetuity. Fix the house later and you may find yourself with mismatched hvac.

    See if they will include duct leakage and score (tells airflow and btu delivery at each register) and room by room load calculation (so you can understand the current shortfall in delivery). Next get calculation of load for new rooms. Then get duct design that will supply the whole thing. Your basement ductwork may need modifying, an opportunity if you'd like equipment relocated.

    By paying for this you create accountability for quality design and ultimately a better result. Look for BPI or RESNET certified and accredited firms.

    If you want a customer testimonial about these issues contact user "Shortcircuit" in MD. I helped him navigate a major retrofit and he can explain these issues in depth.


    Or put a mini split heat pump upstairs and leave the doors open. ;-)
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  7. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by dan sw fl View Post
    Definitely call SkyHeating ... I believe he knows HOW TO LISTEN. Therefore, he will address YOUR Needs in a manner compatible with Science AND Your Budget.
    I gave him a call, but he only does designs if he can do the install. And contractors like to use their own hvac guys... So I guess I can't use him. Any ideas on how I find someone who can do the design even if they aren't the one doing the install?

    Randell

  8. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,619
    If you rely on the contractor's guys you probably will end up with whats best for the contractors pocket and not your comfort .

  9. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by catmanacman View Post
    If you rely on the contractor's guys you probably will end up with whats best for the contractors pocket and not your comfort .
    I hear ya... but what else can I do? The contractor won't guarantee the work of any hvac guy but his own... They all say that. And the job is big enough that it needs to be done while the addition is happening, because some existing rooms are being worked on and having vents moved and such, so the jobs need to be done at the same time... And I don't want to pretend to be a GC...
    My only hope was that if I have a design from a design guy that doesn't do installed (someone mentioned these people exist) and give that to the contractor, he has to do what the design says, since that will be in the contract. I figure I can have the design guy inspect later, and if it isn't done right, the builder is responsible for fixing it... assuming he would ever agree to work from someone else's design in the first place...

    Randell

  10. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,721
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  11. #24
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    south louisiana
    Posts
    3,161
    yeah right.

    so things you don't know:
    if the existing system has capacity
    to allow addition to be heated/cooled.
    if plenum has room to add extra ducts,
    if return can be added from addtion to existing unit.

    rarely do 1 or 1.5 ton units get installed, so it stands
    to reason that new unit would at best be 1.5 or 2 tons.
    bigger is NOT better, it only causes more issues.
    if you add a new unit for this addition you would have
    extra air that has to go somewhere.
    where does #3 propose to dump this air?
    is there an area that is both acessable by location of new
    unit to existing house that needs more air?

    the problem with a duct design by an independent is that you
    have no quality control to make sure that correct layout and size
    of ducts match the design. if duct designer can see the house
    and space to work with..it goes much better. itrw there are things
    in attics that impede duct layout that does not exist on paper.

    don't get me wront, I'm all for fixing the house, the ductwork
    and that whole route, but if you don't have an installable plan
    you are back where you started.

    best of luck.
    The cure of the part should not be attempted without the cure of the whole. ~Plato

  12. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Portland OR
    Posts
    1,975
    Thanks guys for the kind words. I have not been on much as we have been slammed with work these past couple of weeks. I did talk to Randall via e-mail but mentioned as he said I don't have any interest in just designing a system without having my crew do the install because I could design something with the proper manuals and then the other guys install it wrong and it falls on me.

    Randall. What you need to do is tell your contractor that you want your own HVAC guy or he is not your contractor. How much time will you spend in this new addition if it's uncomfortable and expensive to heat and cool. I also have a great list of contractors that build wonderful additions... Properly.

    I certainly don't mind consulting with you via email if you would like to send me pricing and what others have mentioned so I can give rough thoughts on it but the only way I make money is installing total package solutions not simply designing.
    My thoughts from what I have read so far is that the upstairs in most homes can be zoned so long as there is room to add a return. For additions 8 out of 10 times we recommend a new system rather than adding ducts/zones and have only had people tell me how glad they were to spend the extra.

    -travis
    Check out my YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/skyheating1 We have customer testimonials, product reviews and more!
    Like us on FACEBOOK if you like our advice here!

  13. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    11
    Sorry for the delay.. was on vacation...

    I agree on the where does the air go issue. In fact that is part of why I don't want the 2nd system. The current system seems to be slightly over sized as it is... if I reduce the rooms it is cooling upstairs (Some existing space is being remodeled and thus would be heated and cooled as part of the addition) and two zone the existing system, then it will have to dump a lot of air somewhere when it is operating in upstairs only mode. That said... #3 implied that the system would be sized for what it has to work with... but didn't actually say any numbers on size.

    And yeah, I thought the designer would still come out and look, but it sounds like that isn't how that works either. So I can see the draw back with that method.

    As for contractors... I am having a ton of issues there... Many have no desire to do any detail planning until money is flowing... And I don't want to sign up to pay a contractor until I see his plan. And I think the contractor who gave me hvac guy #3 wants out of the job... told me his carpenter broke his leg... and he won't be able to do the job. But that call came suspiciously after I had talked to the hvac guy and expressed that I didn't really want a 2nd system... I think the hvac guy (#3) wants to do the 2nd system solution because it is easier work than modifying the trunk line that he says isn't big enough for the addition, and thus easier work for more money. Cause the trunk line is in a kinda roof over the front porch. So either the ceiling of the front porch would need to come down, or the roof off to get at it. But if the 2nd system runs about 10k (his words) for just equipment, I can't imagine taking that roof off (or roof and ceiling of porch) could run the same 10k. (someone tell me if I am wrong). And he has no reasons why that solution wouldn't work... he just goes back to "I just think the 2nd system is the only way to solve the problem". Which is usually the refuge of someone who has a direction they want to go, but doesn't want to tell you the real reason.

    As for Travis, I totally understand your position... Gonna email you back offline to talk more about possibilities.

    Randell

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