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  1. #1

    Where to put the air handeler in Florida Attic, Garage or inside the house

    We are looking at some new construction homes an noticed the air handler was in the garage at one of the houses we really liked. As I am sure this makes it easy to service the unit I am wondering how it affect the efficiency of the a/c overall. The garages in Florida get very, very hot which means the a/c is working extra hard. Would it be better to place the unit inside the house where it is climate controlled?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,376
    Ideally, the air handler AND the ducts should be inside the house (ducts enclosed by drywall, of course). But it's rare for most builders to do it that way now.

    Garage is the worst place as far as risk of pollutants and carbon monoxide entering the house. Second worst for heat gain in the summer.

    Worst is the attic for heat gain. Let's take the hottest part of the house and stick more than half of the equipment, that is supposed to keep the rest of the house cooler, up there. Makes a lot of sense.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    352
    I second that...

    Inside your house would be the best... your unit works harder in the garage and attic. Also sometimes the unit can be smaller if in the house but then you are taking up prime living space.
    You can call me Sam

    It should be a crime to be a mechanical engineer in San Diego
    Summer Design Temperature: 83 F Dry Bulb ~ 69 F Wet Bulb (California Climate Zone 7)

  4. #4
    If we don't have the option to move it out of the garage is there something we can do after the fact to keep it cooler? Maybe build some walls around it in the garage, or would that just be worse?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    352
    Just make sure your ducts are sealed and insulated. Maybe add more insulation to the ducts... R-8. I wouldn't worry too much about it though if the ducts are sealed well.
    You can call me Sam

    It should be a crime to be a mechanical engineer in San Diego
    Summer Design Temperature: 83 F Dry Bulb ~ 69 F Wet Bulb (California Climate Zone 7)

  6. #6
    How much would it benefit to make the garage cooler? I was thinking about getting an insulated garage door. Not sure how much of a difference that will make. The garage is facing south so it gets heavy sun all day.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    south louisiana
    Posts
    3,316
    is putting it inside the house an option?
    that would be the best choice.
    in high humidity areas like florida there are
    condensation issues when equipment and ducts
    are in unconditioned spaces.

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,376
    Insulated garage door is not a bad idea. Insulating above the garage ceiling (if any) is also not a bad idea, especially if a "bonus room" will be over the garage.

    If this house has not been built yet (you looked at a model, maybe?) see if you can get radiant barrier roof decking as an option when the house goes up. That will reduce the heat gain to the entire attic, not just the garage.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    352
    Does your garage have louvers/vents to the outside? Some garages do when the furnace and water heater are located there.
    You can call me Sam

    It should be a crime to be a mechanical engineer in San Diego
    Summer Design Temperature: 83 F Dry Bulb ~ 69 F Wet Bulb (California Climate Zone 7)

  10. #10
    We are in pre construction talks with a builder, the problem is they are more or less a track house builder and will not make any major changes without charging an arm and a leg. I will have to check the model home to see if there are vents, I don't believe there were but that was not something i was looking for an may have overlooked.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Keokuk, IA
    Posts
    5,520
    Tract builders build by volume and low margin. Slap em up and move on. They want minimal changes from the model. Things that don't require installation changes. So where a bay window goes, the color of siding flooring, countertop material, not a problem.

    I think the only option you'd have is to pick a closet that's larger enough and away from bedrooms and sacrifice it for the HVAC equipment. Get a credit fom the builder and contract your own HVAC. You'd have to get quotes based on the floor plans. You might be able to negotiate a credit of I'd guess 1/2 -2/3rds the cost... since you'll want a quality installer and the builder would normally choose a low bid installer or one that they have a special agreement with. IT would also give you the flexibility ot pick higher end equipment.

    However, any "improvement" you make to HVAC won't change the value of the property and are generally viewed as over improvements since no other homes in that neighborhood would have them. So you can start ot get into trouble with loan to value ratios from your lender.


    But it's your money and your home. YOu can either have it doen right, with proper load calculations, installed in a conditioned space, and get quieter more effcienct and comroftable equipment, like a 2 stage system for example, or jsut have builder grade low end stuff slapped in by the lowest bidder.

    I had a BIL that was renting a new construction duplex in Central Missouri. It had straight electric head (no heat pump), horrible, sloppy, undersized flex duct runs and was located in the garage and poorly sealed. During a normal Dec. that year, he had a $500 electric bill!!!! He moved out to a new place before he got a Jan. Bill.This was a 1300sqft duplex and he only kept it about 67F... although the overconditioned master bedroom was about 5F warmer. Thsi was a tract development. We had trouble finding his house every time we visiited because there was no way to tell them apart if the garage doors were closed. He current house isn't much different.

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