I wouldn't push for the greenspeed. You would be limited on who could work on it later.
I hear your concerns all the time about "upsetting the builder feeling"........Really? Is it his money or yours? YOU are the boss, period. You should be able to tell him to jump and he should ask, "how far". Grow some balls. I'm done trying to give information if you're going to be too afraid to hurt the builders sensitive feeling. Is he the only guy in town?
Originally Posted by lithnights
If I were building a house and the contractor was not willing to work for ME.......then it would be a very, very quick adios.
Ahh... I never thought of it from that angle. Good point.
So beenthere, you're not far from me and probably have the same weather. Do you think we NEED a HP like the Greenspeed or would I be OK with a standard HP, knowing that I plan to keep my wood fireplace kicking all winterlong, and that the HP would have a propane backup? There are winters where we can get cold (I think last year the lowest we got to was 15 degrees or so one night and it stayed below freezing for a couple days straight.) But those below freezing spells are not the norm, so I often wonder if our area needs something like the Greenspeed as much as a more northern climate would.
Originally Posted by beenthere
Ouch. I'm not afraid of upsetting the builder, I'm fearing he simply may not do it CONTRACTUALLY, since it's not written in the contract. I've never built a home before so I don't know how flexible a builder would be once that contract is signed. Hoping for the best, expecting the worst. And more than that, I'm not as much fearing he wouldn't do it, but more that he would do it but then charge an arm and a leg more b/c he's not using his York guy (who he uses all the time I'm sure and has deals worked out). That's why I'm trying to figure out if it's truly needed or if I'd be OK with a standard heat pump, based on my weather.
And so far he has been very flexible with us, from the design of the home, to the rewriting of his contract etc.
And quite simply, he IS the only builder in town. Open space around us is simply non-existent. We're right outside Philly. It's built up. If a random lot ever does pop up, it's certainly not in a neighborhood, which is important to us. This lot is in our existing neighborhood, in the area we love, and we are able to build a custom home, so it's pretty much a once in a lifetime opportunity. We could always move 45 minutes away from where we're at to build. But that would give us a one hour and 20 minute commute to work, so basically that isn't happening.
Hopefully that clears up where I'm coming from.
Originally Posted by George2
The thing you should be worrying about is the location of the mechanical systems. Do you have a basement? Don't use any recessed lights on the top floor. In-fact don't cut any holes in the floor or the ceiling and you could put a 13 SEER system in there and save plenty! Those penetrations over time cost you BIG money! Use a closet for your equipment or add a small mechanical room "inside the envelope" Sheetrock the house first, hang the duct, then build your soffits...you'll save thousands over the years. Check out green home building sites.
Have you considered a geothermal heat pump? They are the most efficient heat pump out there and you do not have an outside unit. They are actually quieter than a furnace or air handler. They do cost more up front but the payback is very good.
Yes, the basement (9ft ceilings) is essentially the same footprint of the 1st floor..minus the garage area of course.
I had thought about the location of the mechanical systems but wasn't sure how the HVAC guys figure out where to place that.
I hadn't thought much about using or not using recessed lights on the 2nd floor..although our current home does have them in the master bath which is very nice. But I can see the potential heat loss with them.
If the mechanical room is in the basement, is that considered inside the envelope? The basement won't have a designated heating zone (at least not until we finish it eventually) but it shouldn't be that much below room temp of the house, right?
Originally Posted by energy star
Yes, I had researched geothermal, knowing that it is the most efficient. I had given it much thought but quite simply it's out of my budget. I really wanted to do it, until I saw the pricing to do it. I also called a couple places but only 1 got back to me. I then got intrigued when I saw there is a 30% federal rebate, but even with that, it is just SOOO much more than doing a standard air heat pump, that we had to say no.
Originally Posted by welling service
Right, a semi-finished basement is a great place for the hvac equipment. A standard heat pump will work fine in your area. I have a heat pump with 10kw auxiliary heat in my home and it maintains 69F no problem in 20-25F weather. It's a little less efficient at cooler temps but will still get the job done. I'm a York dealer and York has a very good heat pump in both the affinity line and the LX line of equipment. http://m.york.com/#/residential/products/heat-pumps/ The LX series is a little cheaper but a good value and quality unit. You want a heat pump that has a good hspf rating as this is the efficiency of the heating portion of the heat pump. You can utilize a propane furnace for auxiliary heat but in your case (with the fireplace) I don't believe it's a great idea as propane is pretty expensive, although if natural gas becomes available on your street in the future it would most likely become an economical solution. Make sure the hvac sub performs a heat load calculation (manual J) and sizes and installs the ductwork properly, installation is key to making an hvac system perform at its rated efficiencies and properly heat/cool a structure (especially with a heat pump). If the duct is undersized you will have premature failure of major components and if the duct isn't sealed well you will end up with a dusty house with uneven temperatures not to mention the major efficiency losses due to duct leakage. Set up a meeting with the HVAC sub to go over your options and if you don't feel comfortable with that contractor then tell your GC to let you find someone you do feel comfortable with. Your comfort in your new home for the next 15,20,30...years depends on getting it right the first time so be diligent. Good luck
Originally Posted by lithnights
Basement is fine. Don't put ANY HOLES in the top floor ceiling. You will save money on your utility bills.
Use oval pipe from basement to 2nd floor.
Last edited by energy star; 01-07-2013 at 08:32 AM.
I'd say than a large number of Carrier Dealers can't even sell Greenspeed because they haven't been trained.
I'd look at zoning and even consider going ot more than 2 zones such as seperating area by occupancy, heat load, or side of the house it faces. IF a perfect world, kitchen and dining room are on the norht side since they run hot, and family room and living rooms are on the south. Then you zone those seperately. If you're obrderline on size, zoning, expecially with 4 or more zones can help reduce the equipemtn capacity needed, since all zones will not need max capaicty at one time. Jsut make sure that the smallest zone can handle hte airflow for low stage on the heat pump. For a 5 ton, that's around 900-1000 CFM to keep teh equipment running with that supply temp within the limits.
The other advantage is that you can use setbacks based on occupancy, and allow you to stay off the aux heat strips as much as possible. For example if the upstairs gets oversized ductwork and can handle about 1500CFM, it could take the full capacity of a 5 ton heat pump uptairs at night when heating or cooling and deliver 35k BTU's even at 20F without heat strips, saving you a lot of money, rather than sized for just maybe 1200CFM to handle 1/2 of the capacity or the capacty of the whole or just low stage alone.
The best zoning system is still Carrier Infinity which is modulating and doesn't use a bypass damper which has major advantages to system flexibility and comfort.
IF you can't afford Geo, then consider making the most of a conventional heat pump and install a well designed multizone system.
I still wouldn't count out Geo. I've heard of it comparing favorably to a conventional system after you factor in the 35-40% credits and rebates after you add up federal, state tax credits and utility rebates. Where I am locally, I've heard of it comming within 10% of the price of a premium conventional system. One the ground loops are installed, replacement costs are about the same in the future as a conventional system and if installed properly will last longer.