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  1. #1

    What's the Best Value for a new build, 5,000 sq ft

    I have read a lot about the Trane 16i and 19i, as well as some other systems. We are building a new house in Houston, lots of heat and high humidity. Since we have the opportunity to start from scratch, what is the best recommendation in terms of a/c, heat pump, furnace, and compressor?

    Our main concerns: clean air, high efficiency (but no need to waste money just for the newest tech), and reliability.

    We have heard about systems that can control venting to specific rooms, clean air, etc. It is all a bit overwhelming, and we need to pick a system in the next few weeks.

    All comments are appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,158
    Where are you? I might guess Houston?????? If so, we got some good Houstonians, if that's what you call yourselves, on here who will be a great source of advice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Houston Tx
    Posts
    344
    variable speed ahu's. 2 systems ,,Media filtration,

    Seperate HEPA filtration units.



    watch out for fresh air intakes that are unfiltered and uncondtioned.












    h

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    in my lumpy chair
    Posts
    1,950
    the best value is the contractor that will do a heat load calculation and properly calculate the size of your duct work for proper airflow
    don't go with lowest bid because they cut corners in order to make a buck
    I dont warranty Tinkeritus

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    6,323
    What will work best in Houston depends on your lifestyle the design of your house and the type of materials used to build it.

    The very most important component will be the ductwork it should also be the most expensive component. If the ductwork is poorly designed and installed no equipment will work well.

    Forget the brand game because for the most part brand is irrelevant. Zoning is an excellent choice for a home the size of yours and will provide the greatest comfort and efficiency if properly designed and installed.

    A properly installed HVAC system should run about 8% to 11% of the total for the house. In Houston you will find contractors that will install new homes from $1,000.00 per ton to $10,000.00 per ton you get what you pay for. Guaranteed if you go with the GC recommendation you will get a sub par system.

    In what part of town are you building that can also make a difference.

  6. #6
    Thanks, I am in Houston. I have heard there are systems that can zone even specific rooms. I suppose that must come from automatic dampeners in the ductwork? Is there such a thing, and are they reliable?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    6,286

    Thumbs up Planning

    Quote Originally Posted by h-town humidity View Post
    I have read a lot about the Trane 16i and 19i, as well as some other systems. We are building a new house in Houston, lots of heat and high humidity.

    Since we have the opportunity to start from scratch, what is the best recommendation in terms of a/c, heat pump, furnace, and compressor?

    Our main concerns: clean air, high efficiency (but no need to waste money just for the newest tech), and reliability.
    For starters, ...
    Where did you locate your equipment room(s)?

    Attic insulation shall be R-19 minimum spray foam.

    Windows shall be tinted, SHGC 0.55 maximum.
    Overhangs for any South, East or West facing windows should be ~8 feet

    Now you can start an HVAC load analysis and layout.

    You can provide the HVAC design and your specs to several mechanical contractors.
    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    6,323
    Quote Originally Posted by h-town humidity View Post
    Thanks, I am in Houston. I have heard there are systems that can zone even specific rooms. I suppose that must come from automatic dampeners in the ductwork? Is there such a thing, and are they reliable?
    Yes there are such systems my house is 2800 sq.ft. and I have four zones. I install zoned systems all the time and have a very minimal component failure rate. In fact my system is 7-years old and never any problems. In the last ten years I have had three or four bad dampers and one bad control board and that board failed on start up so yes zone controls are very reliable when properly designed and installed.

    Going to the extreme of controlling each room is possible but not recommended. Especially in Houston because proper humidity control would be difficult to achieve. In could be done but you would need to install top of the line all the way and add supplemental dehumidification.

    Depending on what materials you are using to construct the house best option for a 5000 sq.ft. two stories would be two 4-ton or 5-ton 2-stage units with two possibly three zones each. Currently the Bryant Evolution system with zoning would be your best choice. The Lennox Harmony is an excellent option but is not technically up to the Bryant and Tranes zoning controls from what I have been able to ascertain are less than comparable to either.

    What it boils down to is the technology is available to do almost anything you want; you just need to balance technology with your desires and your pocket book.

    I will be glad to discuss option with you if you like. My number is in my profile.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Dallas
    Posts
    189
    Going from 16 SEER to 19 SEER can be wasted $$$. If you had a ton / 700 sqft, and you ran at full speed (stage 2) for 1000 hours, the annual savings would be $124.34 according to the formula below (add hours = Larger annual savings for high SEER). Get a quote for both systems, divide the difference by $124.34. This is the number of years longer it takes to start saving money with a 19 SEER.

    Spend your $$$ on a non-leaky duct system, and some zoning.

    BTU x Annual Hours Running x $ KWH / SEER / 1000 = Annual Cost $

    BTU 84000
    Cooling Hours 1000
    KWH $ 0.15
    SEER 16
    W/KWH 1000
    Annual Cost $787.50

    BTU 84000
    Cooling Hours 1000
    KWH $ 0.15
    SEER 19
    W/KWH 1000
    Annual Cost $663.16

    16 SEER to 19 SEER Annual Energy savings: $124.34

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    DFW
    Posts
    684
    Pay attention to the design details on the house.

    #1 - either make the attic part of the conditioned space, or get the A/C equipment and duct work out of the attic.

    #2 - site the house such that most of the windows are on the north and south - and SHADE all of the windows as much as possible.

    #3 - cut air infiltration. Set a design goal of less than 2ACH50 and then do a blower door test to make sure you got there.

    The above three items can cut your A/C bill in half or better.

    minimum A/C requirements - knowlegeable installer (this is the hard part and the most important), variable speed blower, media filter.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    6,286

    Thumbs up Energy Evaluation$

    Quote Originally Posted by gonekuku View Post

    If you had a ton / 700 sqft, and you ran at full speed (stage 2) for 1000 hours, the annual savings would be $124.34 according to the formula below (add hours = Larger annual savings for high SEER).

    Get a quote for both systems, divide the difference by $124.34. This is the number of years longer it takes to start saving money with a 19 SEER.

    BTU x Annual Hours Running x $ KWH / SEER / 1000 = Annual Cost $

    BTU 84000
    Cooling Hours 1000
    KWH $ 0.15
    SEER 16
    W/KWH 1000
    Annual Cost $787.50

    BTU 84000
    Cooling Hours 1000
    KWH $ 0.15
    SEER 19
    W/KWH 1000
    Annual Cost $663.16

    16 SEER to 19 SEER Annual Energy savings: $124.34
    Operating Hours is ~ 2,200 for Houston

    XL19i probably won't actually yield 19 SEER.

    In any case, the point of a higher SEER comparision is well made in a simplified manner. Pay-back period can be >> 10 years given that annual savings are likely to be < $250.

    Try for your own situation aand comparison :
    http://www.hvacopcost.com/
    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

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,432
    Quote Originally Posted by h-town humidity View Post
    I have read a lot about the Trane 16i and 19i, as well as some other systems. We are building a new house in Houston, lots of heat and high humidity. Since we have the opportunity to start from scratch, what is the best recommendation in terms of a/c, heat pump, furnace, and compressor?

    Our main concerns: clean air, high efficiency (but no need to waste money just for the newest tech), and reliability.

    We have heard about systems that can control venting to specific rooms, clean air, etc. It is all a bit overwhelming, and we need to pick a system in the next few weeks.

    All comments are appreciated.
    Not any mention of fresh air ventilation and humidity control? I am attaching a word doc showing the specifics about humid Houston weather. Fresh air and maintaing <50%RH are the most important points of indoor air quality and comfort. Ultra-Aire/Honeywell/Lennox/others are selling whole house ventilating dehumidifiers that provide fresh, clean, dry air to home while maintaining <50%RH during the low or no cooling load conditions. I realize that this is not simple. Keep us posted. Regards TB
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by teddy bear; 11-13-2007 at 03:17 PM. Reason: forgot attachment
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  13. #13

    Current Reccomendation

    We received a quote from one contractor today who believes that even the 16 seer would be overkill. He reccomends a 13 seer, with three units, a 2.5, a 3 and a 4 ton unit (calculated with J Manual).

    I asked about the 90% furnace as opposed to the 80, and he did not think it would be worth it.

    He also thought we would not have any savings for moving up to the 16 seer, the higher efficiency furnace, or single room zoning.

    Lastly, we talked about the Trane "clean effects" vs a media filter. Do any of you have any thoughts about whether the media filter would be adequate, or is the Trane or some other clean air system really worth the money.

    Thank you for any replies.

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