HVAC - new construction
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    1
    We are about to build a new 2 story 5400sq ft house in Chicago. We have 3400 sq.ft on the first floor, where we have our master bedroom. After the kids leave (7 years?) we plan to turn off the upstairs. We plan to live there forever.

    Our builder uses American Standard for his HVAC. What are thoughts on American Standard vs. other brands?

    We are debating between 3 furnaces: 2 on the first floor and 1 to cover the second. Otherwise, going with a zoned system with ?? furnaces. Help!!!

    The builder recommends the 3 furnaces at 92%, and 3 12 seer AC units configured as mentioned.

    Thanks for any help!!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    655

    Thumbs up

    I am a HVAC contractor in Massachusetts and American Standard makes top of the line Gas Condensing Furnaces[90%Plus].I think going with three seperate units is an excellent idea wear your thinking of closing off the upstairs down the road.Our electric rates are very high in
    central Mass. so our use of heat pumps is a none option.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    1,475
    Isn't American Standard the same as Trane ? GE ?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    626
    You are in a unique opportunity to save money and be more comfortable. You need to go to http://www.buildingscience.com and do the research on the Building America homes. Comfort, energy effeciency, and good IAQ depend on both the thermal envelope and proper intigration of the HVAC system. In a Building America home you rarely see three sytems. What is better is one effecient zoned sytem with all the ducts inside the thermal envelope. Do NOT depend on your contractor or HVAC person for the best way to achieve these benefits. You need to do the reaserch yourself or hire a third party who specializes in this endevor. I am not saying the general contractors or HVAC people can't do this, but it is very rare.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    175
    If your planning to stay long term I would opt for the three furnaces as opposed to a zoned system. Less headaches for you. However you should consider at least 13 SEER on the a/c.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    626
    Why would a properly zoned single system cause headaches? It would be less expensive to install and upgrade the effeciency of a single system than three systems. The future service cost need to be taken into consideration also.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    11,808
    If you can afford a big house like that I would consider a boiler.

    You could have radiant floor in the basement/slab on grade, you could zone other areas with fan coils/ air handlers, will efficently make hot water.

    Thats a pretty big house to try to zone off of one bigger furnace for heat,and air conditioning from a single system would be a challenge, doubtful a single resi system could cool that house.

    Multiple furnaces also have the advantage of if one fails your house would not freeze.
    The way we build has a greater impact on our comfort, energy consumption and IAQ than any HVAC system we install.

    http://www.ductstrap.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    175
    In a perfect world a zoned system is great. The problem is the people who service and install zoned systems fail to understand them, and the home owners ignore them into dis-repair. If you go with a zoned system get refrences from the installing contractor. A poor install will cause alot of headaches.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Northeastern Illinois
    Posts
    611
    frankl, I own a HVAC bus just south of Chi. I just finished a 6000 sq ft house. We installed in floor heat in the whole house. We put furnaces[American Standard 90+] in for the A/C systems. The house was so sprawling that we used 2 boilers in it. The a/c units are not installed yet but when the weather breaks we will be installing 4 12+ outdoor units with x-valves. 1 boiler is a Munchkin and the other is a Dunkirk. There are 15 zones in the house and it works flawlessly.I would not put in 1 system zoned because if it goes down you are out until the repairs are made. If you have multiple systems you always have a backup.IMO
    If it ain't broke don't fix it!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    626
    You can spend a lot of nights in a motel room for what it costs to put multiple systems in and maintain.

    Carnak--how much capacity it takes kind of depends on how the house is built doesn't it?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    11,808
    Originally posted by uktra
    You can spend a lot of nights in a motel room for what it costs to put multiple systems in and maintain.

    Carnak--how much capacity it takes kind of depends on how the house is built doesn't it?
    Yes it would uktra. I did a three story home in Canada, 1000 square feet per floor plus 1000 square foot basement.

    4,000 square feet. Super insulated place, blower door tested. R60 ceiling, R40 walls, put in 75,000 Btu/hr 90% furnace and 2.5 tons of AC.

    Chicago is hundreds of miles south of my home town and for 5400 square feet(plus basement?), even super insulated, there is a strong possibility that a single phase 5 ton system would not handle it.

    As far as heating goes, a single residential furnace could put out enough heat. Just a lot of ductwork to be running all over the large home.
    The way we build has a greater impact on our comfort, energy consumption and IAQ than any HVAC system we install.

    http://www.ductstrap.com/

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    626
    I have helped design a home in NC that was 4500 sq. ft. and it only took 2.5 tons, so if you build the home properly, 5 tons should not be too hard in Chicago.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    200
    uktra,,these 2.5 ton systems in these large houses youve been talking about have me thinking,,,if the house has say 15 rooms probaly more are you putting like 1, 4inch supply in each room,,how do you spread that little amount of air through out a house this size,i would think most houses this size are more than 1 story,,i just dont believe it,,could you explain how you size the ductwork for a project like this

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