My contractos are all over the place when I ask them about multi zoning duct work in an old house that is getting its first forced air system. Here is what they had to say. Who do I listen to?
Carrier/Payne #1 Says
"I don't like multi zoneing, cost a lot more and doesn't do much, more equipment to break down. What are you going to do in 10 years when your damper goes to hell and nobody makes a part?
Carrier/Payne #2 Says
" Why not if we are doing new duct work,its real nice. Even if you don't want to spend much money on it or are worried about mechanical break down, we could do multi zone just do manual dampers for now."
" I wouldn't do it unless you were doing a 5000 sqft house with 1 or 2 people living there."
American Standard Say
" Why wouldn't you, it just makes sence? why heat and cool areas that you are not going to be in for half the day? Anyone that tells you different doesn't know what they are talking about or has had a bad experience because they are a bad installer or a bad system designer.
I defininitly feel like the American standard guy is the most knowledgeable of ther group, however he comes with more expensive equipment than I had budgeted for.
Is there validity to Carrier?Payne #2 opinion? I like that Idea best as we are doing a major renovation without financing and spending extra money on dampers now would cut into other things. I really want to do this cheap but don't want to cut corners on duct work because once it is closed up, it isn't changing while I own the house. The multi zone with manual dampes would be nice to save expense as long as i can get electronic installed later down the road.
Zoning is great to have. At night you can just cool the bedrooms and leave the rest of the house at a higher temp like at 78 which should help with your energy bill.
As far as i know all manual dampers will do is allow the air distribution to be evened out. It would be like not having a zoning system. I could be mistaken though.
I might be mistaken but I think that contractor was getting at that he feels at a minimum the upper level and main level should have seperate trunks all the way to the basement that can handle the whole unit so that I can add multi zones later. in the mean time I think he was thinking of putting a manual damper in place I could adjust for am/pm or maybe seasonal(we didn't discuss it it much I just got the vibe that he really felt strongly about setting the house up for multi zoning even if I couldn't afford it today)
I feel like zoning is great, as long as you do not have to bypass any un-used supply air back into the return. If the zones are large enough to handle the static pressure without bypassing, then I feel you don't take the effience hit. Why would you bring on a 3 ton unit to cool or heat a room that has a 6inch duct and bypass the the other 1100 cfm. Only my 2 cents.
My next question is how hard is it to get a multi zone system right? I have hired Carrier/Payne #2 as a plumber before and like him.
He is honest and his labor rate is Much Cheaper than the rest($40hr compared to $65 to $75). He is a one man company and I like the idea of not paying for all these other contractors that have facy shops/showrooms/receptionists/parts inventory.
I am encouraged that he recomends multi zoning and it makes me assume he knows what he is doing. The only reason I am concernd with him is that when I asked him about variable speed compared to single he said he wouldn't go with variable unless you get an extended warrenty because they go out
much more frequently than singles. With him admitting equipment failure does suggest maybe he isn't the greatest installer/designer (although I think a lot of his business is service calls so it doesn't mean he was talking about his installs)
I have all the confidence in the world in American Standard guy but I don't think there is any way I can afford the price difference on his equipment and install price. Is it a complete slap in the face to ask him if I can hire him to design the system? The reason I wouldn't have as much shame in asking him if I could hire him as a designer/consultant is because down the road a few years I know I will give him my business on a geo system since he is the only guy around that does it regularily.
if you don't want to spend the money upfront for a zoning system i would go with the #2 guy who would set the ducts up for future zoning.
zoning is not that hard to do with a new duct system.
it is very easy to do wrong though..........
Thats my concern, I read on hear about people doing it wrong and american standard guy basically saying if people don't recomend it, it is because they don't know how to do it.
Problem is I have no idea if this guy knows how to do it other than he says he does. I like his cheap price tag but it makes me less cponfident in him as well.
The A/S guy, is who I would go with.
Not because he cost more.
#2, isn't being straight up with you. VS motors don't have a higher failure rate, ecept for poor installs. If he was straight up with you, he would have told you that.
He doesn't stock parts. How long you willing to wait for a part when your freezing or roasting in your house?
Zoning provides comfort. It can save you money on your heating and cooling bill.
Don't have to pay to cool the upstairs during the hottest part of the day.
Don't have to pay to heat teh first floor to 70 in teh middle of the night when your in bed on the second floor.
It may cost more then you planned, but its worth it.
The manual damper idea, is not worth it.
A. You'll get tired of adjusting the dampers every morning and night.
B. You would still need to add the safety controls/sensors.
Actually #2 did say that.... He is a real straight shooter. He is very candid about the fact that he has little parts on hand but outlines that is why he is so much cheaper.
About picking the american standard guy. I agree it would be an easy decision to do go with him if it was just paying more but the reality is that we are going to spend the same amount of money either way.
So the real comparison iprolly more like
#2 Payne/carrier guy with 92% variable or 95%, multi zone and motorized dampers or spend a little more and get
Am standard 90% one speed ,one zone
That is what I am stuck with. There is no deciding if I can spend more money on HVAC more I spend less other renovations I can do and they need to be done before we move in or it will be a lot more expensive later.......
Then your between a rock and a hard place.
Have nice looking things.
Or a comfortable house.
First on the comments previously asked about by pass dampers to the return these arent really used very much anymore most zone systems come with dats probes. Discharge air temp sensor. This opens other dampers to relieve the preassure on the air then closes them when their not needed. I also agree with beentheire I don't have much confiedence in your other contractors. Sounds like a/s guy is more then familliar with zone. I suggest getting it done right today instead of paying more to fix it tommorrow.
I won't live without zoning again. Or two-stage equipment. Comfort levels are phenomenal.
This is my house. I have a full walkout on one zone, three zones on the main floor, and a bonus over the garage (not finished/cooled yet -- it will be zone #5).
I highly recommend zoning for the consistent comfort that it will provide.
Perhaps you should have read the instructions before calling.
Would I benefit from going with manual dampers from #2 payne/Carrier and having Am. Standard guy do the motorized dampers down the road if I cannot afford to have him do my whole install? Or should I ask him if he is will to do the system design for a fee? I know Payne/Carrier #2 well enough that he wouldn't be offended by this.
The problem is I would love to go with am standard guy to install my multi zone, cariable speed system. I am sold on that concept.....I just don't have the budget to do it with his high labor rate.
I can't go with him and multi zone. so is it worth multi zoning with a less skilled contrator or do I just go total cheap and have the less skilled guy install one zone?Is there any way I can have payne #2 set up for multi zone and have am standard guy do it down the road? I am all about spending the money some day. All the zones and variable speeds and great install won't make the house comfortable if I am stressing about money all the while I sit in.