Let me start by saying that this is one of the best forums on the web. I lost my house due to a VERY bad mold problem about a year and a half ago. My family's health was suffering a great deal, and now most of us have MCS. I'm not complaining though, it could be much worse. Anyway, this forum was the first place that lead me to think that my problem could be mold related, and so I thank you all for your suggestions as they probably helped me get my family out of that home sooner than I would have otherwise. With that said, I also learned a great deal about HVAC in that time and the information has been invaluable. Thank You!
We are finally at a point where we're ready to build a new HEALTHY home. Needless to say, IAQ is the top priority. We're in a decent rental right now and it is suffering from classic DSS (Dirty Sock Syndrome). I took it upon myself to clean the blower coils and the drain pan (since I wanted to use a less toxic degreaser on the coils due to our MCS). Of course, there was a bunch of mold in the pans when I went to clean them out. Sigh, these are 3 year old Lennox units. They were cleaned in the Spring but not the Fall. Anyway, I read the massive DSS post and it left me a bit disheartened. Since I have the luxury of building our next home from scratch, what would be your reccomendations for an HVAC system? Details below:
1) We live outside of Asheville, NC so we're in a Mixed Humid climate at about 2500 ft elevation.
2) The house will be a WNC certified healthy home. It will be a very tight house with spray foam throughout. Water is our top priority so we will be grading very well, using Superior Wall foundations, and insulating under the basement slab.
3) It will be a 1600 sqft home with an 800 sqft Conditioned, unfinished basement.
4) No ductwork will be in unconditioned space. There will be an air handler in the basement utility room that will use a mechanical chase to go up and feed the other floors.
5) There will be a return in each bedroom to help equalize pressure.
6) I will insist on either an Ultra-Aire 100V or a Honeywell DR90 ventilation/dehumidification system.
I'm not looking for a load calculation or anything, just suggestions on the brand of equipment to use, and steps I can take to mitigate DSS going forward. For example, should I install UV lights at the coils? Should I go with a furnace instead of a heat pump (this has it's own problems as we don't want gas in the house)? If we go with a heat pump should the coils be coated? The DSS forum seemed to single out Trane, Amana, Lennox and a few others. Are there any brands that don't have DSS problems? What kind of preventative measures should I take to keep the system mold free?
I appreciate your time, and I'm really looking forward to your answers!