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Thread: ICF advice

  1. #1

    ICF advice

    We have decided to buld an ICF home here in NE Ohio. approx 3600 sq feet.

    I have become very obsessed in making the house very energy effecient and tight. ICF exterior walls, R-49 blown cellulose attic over living space, proper seealing windows/doors etc...


    I need some information on the HVAC part. The contractor recommends a 95% efficient 2 stage Goodman variable speed propane furnace (70,000 BTU), a 3 1/2 ton (13 SEER) Add on Heat pump, digital thermostat, media typs air cleaner and a New Aire Air to air heat exchanger. Normal .35 air change per hour is reduced to approx .06 with ICF and sealant package-from the builder.

    1. I have read many of other posts pros/cons of many units/brands...however I am wondering for my situation -is a Goodman a good fit? Also should the 13 SEER be increased to a 16 SEER ? (one recommendation of an energy advisor) This is assuming a very tight and dry house.

    2. I do not have propane or gas. So with the efficient furnace, do you think all electric would be close to cost of gas? I am not sure of cost of KW .08 or .09?



    2. I have also talked with a dozen Energy Advisors over the last month. I am interested in two of them. They specialize in making an efficient home and will give a great deal of advice on what to do in the home. They will run the numbers comparing energy savings of standard stick home compared to the ICF insulated home. They will also do the door blower test, duct leakage etc 0nce the home is done. (of course all for a fee). Have any of you used the service of an advisor like this? Have you found it to be worth it? the price seems actually small for their potential advice, if taken by the builder.

    One such example: Advisor recommended a Panasonic Whisper bathroom fan for all bathrooms. He said they are extremely quiet and pull a great deal of air/water from the bathrooms. He said these are far better than the standard contractor fans builders use. I know nothing about this unit. The cost is over 5 times a standard "buildes fan" would be. Can this really be worth this kind of cost, is a bath fan that important?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    68,171
    Using an HRV or ERV for your bath exhaust fan would be better then using the Panasonic.

    I believe your new air is an HRV.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
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    34,240
    Be sure your dealer knows how to size equipment for a super tight house. These guys do and my friend the foamer recommends them: www.energywisestructures.com

    I would think all electric would be far cheaper heat than having LP in the house.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
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    415
    As a HERS rater myself, it's good to see someone taking advantage of an energy advisor's guidance. The adviser can also keep the contractors up to speed as to the expectations of the build. Check into a ground source heat pump, it may interest you. The Goodman is OK, I would get the highest SEER/HSPF you can afford and never a 13 SEER. Amana has an 18 SEER unit. Go with a two speed compressor. Panasonic bath fans a very good and worth the money. Check into some solar options. I could go on but I will leave that to you and your adviser.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    11,808
    you will need the air to air heat exchanger to prevent window condensation in the winter. They are typically ducted to draw air from each bathroom, the kitchen area and typically the amount of air exhausted from each bathroom is on the low side.

    I would still install a fan for quicker removals of odours in the bathrooms, something with a rating less than 2 sones, sized for about a CFM per sqaure foot of the bathroom.

    With ICF walls and a sealed vapour barrier at the ceiling, the low air leakage rate you mentioned is possible.

    With a passive solar design, you could really cut your heating bill. You should investigate ground source heat pumps, I think an air source heat pump up there is not the best choice.

  6. #6
    Why is a 13 SEER a bad choice? The HVAC guy said that a 16 seer would be way too expensive and I would not recoup the money for 20 years (NE ohio) Again, my energy guy also recommends a 16 SEER.

    thank you again. I am always looking for more ways to be energy effecient.

  7. #7
    I am not sure what a ground source heat pump is, yet. Do you have any brands/models that you like?

    thanks

  8. #8
    Yes the New Aire is the heat/air exchanger. I will have this installed for sure. The advice was to switch out the regular bathroom fan with the Panasonic Whisper fan. I just wanted to know if they were worth the extra $. I see mbarson has delt with these units.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Central Maryland
    Posts
    246
    Quote Originally Posted by gonefishin View Post
    One such example: Advisor recommended a Panasonic Whisper bathroom fan for all bathrooms. He said they are extremely quiet and pull a great deal of air/water from the bathrooms. He said these are far better than the standard contractor fans builders use. I know nothing about this unit. The cost is over 5 times a standard "buildes fan" would be. Can this really be worth this kind of cost, is a bath fan that important?
    Bathroom fans are made noisy on purpose. They are supposed to cover the sounds of what you are doing in there. I would not recommend a quiet fan in the ground floor toilet or the guest bedroom bath. Your guests might be quite shy about using them.

    Unless, that is what you want.

    Recovering heating or cooling from all your exhaust fans can be important if you use them often, that is, if you have a lot of people living in your house and cooking and bathing a lot. If you have an HRV the pressure your fans put out might be a design consideration.

    -HF

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=hangfirew8;1937166]Bathroom fans are made noisy on purpose. They are supposed to cover the sounds of what you are doing in there. I would not recommend a quiet fan in the ground floor toilet or the guest bedroom bath. Your guests might be quite shy about using them.

    Unless, that is what you want.



    I never even thought of that. I guess it does make sense to have some other noises besides using the toilet....I suppose they could always turn on the bathwater or sink water.....

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by gonefishin View Post
    I am not sure what a ground source heat pump is, yet. Do you have any brands/models that you like?

    thanks
    Sorry, I wasnt thinking when I wrote this. Are all ground source heat pumps considered Geothermal? I have done considerable research and pricing into what would be a good fit. However, the ICF and making the house very tight would mean I could spend considerably less on the high effeciency furnace.

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