Humidifier and T-stat Upgrades?
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  1. #1

    Humidifier and T-stat Upgrades?

    We're recently purchased a new home currently just in final framing stage in CT. The heating and AC system was already specified in our contract (albeit generically). I was recently cautioned by a friend to check the equipment specs to evaluate if the builder is using options that are sub-optimal. I recognize after reading the post on this site that the installation is the most important thing and I don’t have a choice on the Company other than to trust my builder’s reputation which is very good. I requested and received a more detailed spec sheet from my builder. I'm considering whether or not it would make sense to upgrade anything in the existing system. We’ve decided to add spray-foam insulation so the builders already given us a large up-charge for insulation and another large up-charge for modifications required to the AC system (principally adding two Aprilaire 8100 whole house ventilators due to the closed air environment). Here are the details on the system:

    Burnham MPO231 Oil Fired Boiler – 87% Efficient
    2 EWC 2 zone electronic dampering systems
    2 Heil 4 ton air handlers (no model specified)
    1 Heil 3 ton air handler (no model specified)
    1 Heil 4 Ton Condensing unit – 13 Seer (H2A348GKA)
    1 Heil 3.5 Ton Condensing unit – 13 Seer (H2A342GKA)
    1 Heil 2.5 Ton Condensing unit – 13 Seer (H2A330GKA)
    1 Superstor 80 gallon indirect fired hot water tank
    3 Aprilaire 2200 Media Air Cleaners
    5 Honeywell Pro-4000 Programmable thermostats
    1 General 1099 Humidifier

    I’ve been reading a lot of the post on this site (a little info is dangerous) and I’ve currently focus my query to thermostats (Perhaps an upgrade to a Honeywell 8000 series makes senses given auto air circulation features etc) or an upgrade to Aprilaire Model 700A Humidifier versus the General 1099 humidifier? Any other “upgrades” I should be considering in light of the above?

    Would an investment in any of these upgrade or any upgrades be worth the investment? I’m really seeking guidance on the right things I should be requesting from the HVAC contractor. I’m not quoting the job so I won’t have the benefit of the data points from multiple HVAC contractors.
    Last edited by hparkhill; 03-20-2008 at 05:51 PM.

  2. #2
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    Besides the hydronic end of things (your boiler and diret hot water heater) everything else listed there is junk. I have the Honeywell Vision Pro 8000 and I love it. Is the humidifier they are quoting a steam humidifier or a fan powered? I recommend the Aprilare 700 and see if you can request the HoneyWell 100F media cabinets, they are much better made, easier to change the filters and cost about the same. Hope this helps

  3. #3
    Not the news I was hoping for but thanks - Are the Aprilaire 8100's junk as well? Do you have any quick recommendations for what I should request as an alternative in the Heil line (given that I'm presuming this is a Heil dealer?) or is Heil just "junk" all around? Are the two zone EWC dampener's junk as well? If so, any alternative recommendations that I should ask for?
    Last edited by hparkhill; 03-20-2008 at 07:47 PM.

  4. #4
    Sorry - I missed your other question - the humidifier is fan powered - the reps comment when I asked if the system was steam was that it wasn't because it would "ruin my system"

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by hparkhill View Post
    Sorry - I missed your other question - the humidifier is fan powered - the reps comment when I asked if the system was steam was that it wasn't because it would "ruin my system"
    Steam Humidifiers work great when they're installed properly. They require annual cleaning to remove scale buildup. If they're not installed properly they can rust your ductwork as well as cause mold and mildew problems. If they haven't installed your hvac equipment yet ask them the price difference to go with Payne (Carriers off brand) if you're on a budget. Its equivalent to lower end carrier but I'd take low-end carrier over high end heil anyday. As for the Aprilaire 8100 I don't know much about them, its great that you're going with ERV's because given today's tight home constructions it's vital to have fresh air exchange from outside. If you're concerned about IAQ, ask about installing UV lights in a Coil Irradiation Application. Don't settle for any other location besides flooding the Evaporator coil or you might as well write me a check for the amount of the UV lights.
    Last edited by addamsmasher; 03-20-2008 at 07:55 PM. Reason: Remembered something else

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by addamsmasher View Post
    Steam Humidifiers work great when they're installed properly. They require annual cleaning to remove scale buildup. If they're not installed properly they can rust your ductwork as well as cause mold and mildew problems. If they haven't installed your hvac equipment yet ask them the price difference to go with Payne (Carriers off brand) if you're on a budget. Its equivalent to lower end carrier but I'd take low-end carrier over high end heil anyday. As for the Aprilaire 8100 I don't know much about them, its great that you're going with ERV's because given today's tight home constructions it's vital to have fresh air exchange from outside. If you're concerned about IAQ, ask about installing UV lights in a Coil Irradiation Application. Don't settle for any other location besides flooding the Evaporator coil or you might as well write me a check for the amount of the UV lights.
    Thanks again - the AC contractors are starting in a week so it's probably not too late to make the request for Payne as we are on a budget. The Aprilaire 700 humidifier is not a steam humidifier correct? If it is not then I'll likely just make that requested change versus risking a bad install on a steam humidifier product. Finally, is there a brand or product that is the best for suggested UV Coil Irradiation product?

  7. #7
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    Why don't you build a tight house so you won't need a humidifier? Cuts down on heating & cooling costs too.

    Friend is a foam insulation contractor. He's going to do a 10K sq ft house soon. A 3rd party modeled energy costs (geothermal) for standard insulation and foam insulation. With foam, annual costs are under 1/2 that of standard insulation not to mention the savings for smaller equipment. And no humidifier needed, probably need an ERV or dehum.

    Let's see, Payne... compressor, coil, fan, no coil protection, fan grille easily damaged.

    Deluxe Heil, nicer cabinet, compressor under cover, high & low pressure switches, Copeland Comfort Alert module, 2 speed fan motor, sound deadening top, unit replacement warranty...

    Spend a bit more on the A/Cs, cut back a bit on the countertops or bathroom marble

  8. #8
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    I usually recommend Honeywell indoor air quality products, I've always received postitive feedback from them. The A.A model 700 is a fan powered humidifier. Like I said I personally have a vision pro 8000 t-stat and in addition to its userfriendliness it looks badass as well. I don't want to get you confused over equipment or start an argument so if you're on a budget but want decent equipment then go with Carrier Confort series Heat Pumps with R-410A refrigerant (Carrier also calls this Puron) with a Variable Speed Air Handler. The Variable Speed Blower (also called ECM) is more energy effecient, significantly quieter, and provides more even air mixing so you shouldn't have warm or cold spots in your house. If you can't splurge on the Variable Speed Air Handlers, I would at least go for the Carrer Comfort Series, if thats not feasable I still think Payne is a good way to go but its just my opinion obviously there are other people who think differently. BTW by going from steam to fan powered humidifiers that should free up a little cash to invest either in IAQ products or a little higher grade equipment.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by BaldLoonie View Post
    Why don't you build a tight house so you won't need a humidifier? Cuts down on heating & cooling costs too.

    Friend is a foam insulation contractor. He's going to do a 10K sq ft house soon. A 3rd party modeled energy costs (geothermal) for standard insulation and foam insulation. With foam, annual costs are under 1/2 that of standard insulation not to mention the savings for smaller equipment. And no humidifier needed, probably need an ERV or dehum.

    Let's see, Payne... compressor, coil, fan, no coil protection, fan grille easily damaged.

    Deluxe Heil, nicer cabinet, compressor under cover, high & low pressure switches, Copeland Comfort Alert module, 2 speed fan motor, sound deadening top, unit replacement warranty...

    Spend a bit more on the A/Cs, cut back a bit on the countertops or bathroom marble
    Thanks for your feedback - What's ironic is that I'm currently sitting with my wife talking about bathroom "overages". We actually did decide to spend the extra dollars going with closed cell spray foam insulation. We did get hit with an additional 5k upcharge from my builder due HVAC cost increases from the two Aprilaire 8100 air exchangers that you suggested we'd need to add. Also their is apparently not much cost savings from dropping 3 tons in overall AC capacity as we didn't get a credit. You beleive that we don't need a humidifier if we have a foam insulated house? To be honest - it seems that there's not a lot of building experience with spray foam in my area of CT. I also take from your comments that you think the Heil units are better than the Payne?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by addamsmasher View Post
    I usually recommend Honeywell indoor air quality products, I've always received postitive feedback from them. The A.A model 700 is a fan powered humidifier. Like I said I personally have a vision pro 8000 t-stat and in addition to its userfriendliness it looks badass as well. I don't want to get you confused over equipment or start an argument so if you're on a budget but want decent equipment then go with Carrier Confort series Heat Pumps with R-410A refrigerant (Carrier also calls this Puron) with a Variable Speed Air Handler. The Variable Speed Blower (also called ECM) is more energy effecient, significantly quieter, and provides more even air mixing so you shouldn't have warm or cold spots in your house. If you can't splurge on the Variable Speed Air Handlers, I would at least go for the Carrer Comfort Series, if thats not feasable I still think Payne is a good way to go but its just my opinion obviously there are other people who think differently. BTW by going from steam to fan powered humidifiers that should free up a little cash to invest either in IAQ products or a little higher grade equipment.
    Thanks again for the feedback - I'm definitely going with the Honeywell Vision PRo 8000 T-Stat and if others agree that Humidifiers are a waste in a closed cell house then I might just scrap the humidier all the way around. I've asked for my budget for the HVAC system and for him to price Carrier and Payne. His comment to me was that Carrier was "significantly" more that Heil. I guess I'll soon see what "significant" means....

  11. #11
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    Well good luck to you just keep in mind the choices you make know you'll either be glad you made them for the next 15-20 years or regret them for the next 15-20 years

  12. #12
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    Look at the features I posted on the deluxe Heil units. You don't need to pay more to get the Carrier name unless you want the Infinity equipment, which ICP doesn't have. The comparable 13/14 SEER Carrier units won't offer anything but the name. Made in the same factories with the same components. It isn't til you get to a gas furnace where the differences between Bryant/Carrier & ICP brands appear.

    I know what new construction is like. Last year at the open houses in an expensive neighborhood, all of the builders were bragging about everything in their homes but HVAC. All that equipment was builder line with no frills. But boy did they talk up their kitchens and bath.

    If you are foaming it, you DON'T need the humidifier. Friend is in a foamed house, he just bought a Honeywell whole house dehumidifier with fresh air intake to lower his humidity IN THE WINTER! He spent the bucks on 2 Infinity multistage dual fuel systems.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by BaldLoonie View Post
    Look at the features I posted on the deluxe Heil units. You don't need to pay more to get the Carrier name unless you want the Infinity equipment, which ICP doesn't have. The comparable 13/14 SEER Carrier units won't offer anything but the name. Made in the same factories with the same components. It isn't til you get to a gas furnace where the differences between Bryant/Carrier & ICP brands appear.

    I know what new construction is like. Last year at the open houses in an expensive neighborhood, all of the builders were bragging about everything in their homes but HVAC. All that equipment was builder line with no frills. But boy did they talk up their kitchens and bath.

    If you are foaming it, you DON'T need the humidifier. Friend is in a foamed house, he just bought a Honeywell whole house dehumidifier with fresh air intake to lower his humidity IN THE WINTER! He spent the bucks on 2 Infinity multistage dual fuel systems.
    Thank you for the perspective. Just in case anyone's curious, I'll post my final decision as soon as it's made.

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