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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    33

    Building New Home - Advice Needed

    I am building a new home in the Chattanooga TN area. 2700 sq ft, 1700 down, 1000 up. Has vaulted ceilings and open foyer. Full unfinished basement, all brick exterior.

    I'd like to go with a heat pump system and I'd appreciate everyone's advice on the type/brand that would be recommended.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Columbus Ohio
    Posts
    2,007
    You will get 20 different opinions so be prepared...

    I am a American Standard/Trane fan boy. They have a pretty good track record and high ratings.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,048
    If your builder leaves you use a company you prefer.
    Use what ever brand that company handles.

    They won't install something they don't work on, or support.

    You don't want a company that doesn't like Trane to install a Train wreck.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    33
    I am considering the Lennox heat pump. Any information would be helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    DC Metro Area (MD)
    Posts
    3,371
    Lennox makes has multiple heat pump models. Which one in particular were you looking at? The Signature system is a nice system. Do you have any quotes from any contractors yet? As Beenthere hinted at, brand doesn't matter as much as the contractor installing the system. Each brand has pros and cons, and everyone will have different experience with any brand. Make sure the dealer does a load calculation to determine proper sizing of the system.

    Whatever system you go with, I'd suggest looking into systems with ratings of or about 15 SEER, 12.5 EER, and 9 HSPF. A variable speed air handler is also a very good idea. Are you considering zoning (upstairs + downstairs controlled separately)? Two-stage systems can help with humidity control and provide better comfort.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Posts
    1,251
    Quote Originally Posted by RyanHughes View Post
    Lennox makes has multiple heat pump models. Which one in particular were you looking at? The Signature system is a nice system. Do you have any quotes from any contractors yet? As Beenthere hinted at, brand doesn't matter as much as the contractor installing the system. Each brand has pros and cons, and everyone will have different experience with any brand. Make sure the dealer does a load calculation to determine proper sizing of the system.

    Whatever system you go with, I'd suggest looking into systems with ratings of or about 15 SEER, 12.5 EER, and 9 HSPF. A variable speed air handler is also a very good idea. Are you considering zoning (upstairs + downstairs controlled separately)? Two-stage systems can help with humidity control and provide better comfort.
    I would agree with this but I am sceptical of the performance of the two stage units. Remember that the SEER and HSPF numbers are worthless figures made up by the marketing departments, look at the EER and COP numbers for more realistic information. With many brands, a 15 seer model is actually more efficient than the 20 SEER units. If moisture control is important to you, than I would go with a properly sized single stage unit and a stand alone dehumidifier.
    I would also pay close attention as to how your builder is going to insulate your vaulted ceilings, many of them are poorly done.
    "You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do.".... Jerry Garcia
    "You just have to decide if you're a Tigger or an Eeyore,..I think you know where I stand on the great Tigger/Eeyore debate." Prof. Randy Pausch

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    DFW
    Posts
    684
    The most important part of any HVAC system is the house itself. If you want to save on your electric bills, the house is the place to start.

    1. Make sure the house is airtight.
    2. Put the air handler and duct work in conditioned space.
    3. Shade the windows in the summer.
    4. Adequate Insulation.

    There are several ways to achieve the above goals. The trick is to find a cost effective means for your area and your house. If you manage to do all of the above, heating and cooling the house is easy and you may be able to get by with a heat pump that is half the size it would take otherwise.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    1,253
    Here is a recent discussion that should help you. http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=225192

    Check it out and the many recommendations made not only for HVAC equipment, but construction methods too. I made a recommendation that I would suggest to you too. The systems I have recommended in that discussion have anticipated lives of 25 years - much longer than the conventional equipment.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,338
    Quote Originally Posted by paul42 View Post
    The most important part of any HVAC system is the house itself. If you want to save on your electric bills, the house is the place to start.

    1. Make sure the house is airtight.
    2. Put the air handler and duct work in conditioned space.
    3. Shade the windows in the summer.
    4. Adequate Insulation.

    There are several ways to achieve the above goals. The trick is to find a cost effective means for your area and your house. If you manage to do all of the above, heating and cooling the house is easy and you may be able to get by with a heat pump that is half the size it would take otherwise.
    Agree, other than to add than an "airtight" house must be properly ventilated so it does not become an unhealthy environment.

    Money is far better spent up front on reducing the need for heating and cooling equipment to counteract extremes in weather. Especially if you're building this house to live in for some time, you'll appreciate a house that is comfortable all the time, not just when energy consuming equipment is operating to keep you comfortable.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Keokuk, IA
    Posts
    5,520
    Make sure the ductwork and system is properly installed and sized. Poorly installed or sized ductwork will make even the best system noisy, inefficient, and leave the house with wide variations in temperature.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,431
    Quote Originally Posted by lbf View Post
    I would agree with this but I am sceptical of the performance of the two stage units. Remember that the SEER and HSPF numbers are worthless figures made up by the marketing departments, look at the EER and COP numbers for more realistic information. With many brands, a 15 seer model is actually more efficient than the 20 SEER units. If moisture control is important to you, than I would go with a properly sized single stage unit and a stand alone dehumidifier.
    I would also pay close attention as to how your builder is going to insulate your vaulted ceilings, many of them are poorly done.
    This is the closest to my idea but missing the most important point of controlled fresha air ventilation. Provide enough make-up air to facilitate the operation of a clothes drier, bath fans, and kitchen hood. You need to follow ASHRAE recommendations for fresh air to purge indoor pollutants and renew oxygen. I suggest using a good ventilating dehumidifier. These units will bring the amount of fresh air you need at the time you are in the home. Vent dehus also provide the desired %RH throughout the year even with low/no cooling load. Check out Honeywell, Ultra-Aire, and others. I am attaching ASHRAE's minimal recommendations.
    Its raining outside and cool, how does a non-cooling a/c provide <50%RH with fresh air ventilation and moisture generating occupants? A ventilating dehumidifier. Regards TB
    Attached Images Attached Images
    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"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    DC Metro Area (MD)
    Posts
    3,371
    Tony,

    I would get in touch with a few well known and reputable dealers with good feedback to get estimates from. Things to look for are 1. load calculation, 2. properly sized ductwork, 3. good quality systems with upgrade options available -- to start.

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