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  1. #1

    New Home Purchase Concerns

    It is not a new home, it is a 3000 sqft, single story, 1970's home; but it will be new to us.

    Here is the question. Both ac units appear to be quite old and I can only assume the furnace is as well. The home faces north and has huge, well maintained trees in both yards which provide a good amount of shade. The sellers disclosure on previous 12 month utilities showed a high of 750.00 and a low of 90.00. I can only assume the low was this past month when the home was unoccupied. By the way, the house is completely electric. (Water heater, Dryer, Furnace, Oven.....all electric)

    Here is my broad question: to help reduce the electric consumption i am preparing myself for, I am willing to replace both ac units and furnace with more mondern efficient units. Assuming the duct work is fine, and the only thing that is needed is for me to pruchace the actual units and have them professionally installed, what kind of money am I looking at spending. I am only looking for a ballpark figure.

    Also, what are your thoughts on radient barrier? Is it worth it/

    Lastly, am i a fool for purchasing this all electric home in this day and age of soaring energy prices?

    all thoughts and tactful comments would be much appreciated.

    Thanks, pdmarty.

    Ps. forgot to mention, if it matters I live in DFW Metroplex. (Dallas/Fort Worth Texas)
    Last edited by pdmarty; 07-21-2008 at 06:58 AM. Reason: I forgot to add something

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    66,774
    Radiant barrier will help.
    Make improvements to the homes envolope first.
    Windows, door seals, insulation, radiant barrier, etc.

    Then have contractors come out, and do load calcs on your home, and see what size system you need, and tell you what they can do for you.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    4H: Hot, Humid Houston H.O.
    Posts
    3,304
    Electric resistance heating is a b**** when you are paying 17 cents/kwh. Rates are likely to go higher than that in coming years. If not already a heat pump, be thinking about that. Replacing both units may cost $XXXXX -- you need to get quotes, the board has rules against discussing pricing. I wonder if possible to get that included in financing upfront? Possibly a remodel to reduce monthly utility bills would affect financing.

    For AC work, try hard to get a heat load analysis (called ACCA Manual J) and look into the likelihood your existing ACs are oversized. Say yes to any work which will help seal your ducts located in attic, this is a sleeper issue for energy efficiency and comfort too. Say yes to projects which improve the airtightness of your house -- beyond a certain point you need mechanical ventilation but I expect a 1970's house is far from that need. Don't say yes to insulation until you have taken care of airtightness, it won't be much help with a leaky house. Don't expect new windows to be much help unless the rest of your house is well sealed and insulated. BTW I am a homeowner in S.Texas who used to work for an electric company, but leans away from all-electric whenever feasible.

    If you make home efficiency improvements first, you may turn a too-small duct system into a satisfactory one due to smaller AC airflow. The old school used to say "400 sqft/ton" or some such which often is much larger than needed. The old school knew little about proper duct design, at least with the low-bidder guys who often get the job. Those could contribute to the high summer bills.

    Facing north is great in our state. Hide from that sun. Big shade trees are a prize too. What kind you got, are they live oaks maybe?

    Best of luck -- Pstu

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    80
    First get one or more home energy audits to find out what energy efficiency improvements you can make. Get someone with a thermal imager and have them come on a day and time of day when there is a big difference between indoor and outdoor temps to show greatest contrast on the imager. Then have a reputable heating guy perform the load calcs as recommended. If there hasn't been that many mechanical improvements to the house in many years there's probably quite a few cost effective improvements you can make with quick return on investment. If you get to the point where replacing your heating system is called for, don't be afraid to consider other alternatives like natural gas, or a pellet stove in a large room.

    You didn't say if you've purchased this house, or are considering it. If just considering it you could make these inspections conditions of the purchase. If you're already in the place how do you know your bills will be that high until you've lived there through all seasons? Your energy usage may be lower than the previous owner.

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