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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    6
    Hello.

    My wife and I are looking to build a home in a suburb of Minneapolis, MN.

    The home will be 1200 sq feet on the main level and 1200 sq feet on the 2nd level. The basement will be unfinished with a bonus room above the garage (approx 350 sq ft). Total sq feet when completely finished - approx 3700 sq feet.

    The AC is really only run from late May until mid Sept. Even then there are days/weeks that go by in which the AC isn't on (heck... it's May 16th and we still have our heat on - its 50 degrees outside). There are days/weeks during the summer when the humidity/dew points are very high.

    For heating during the winter we are considering in floor radiant heat for the whole house, part of the house or just the basement (the basement is for sure going to have in floor radiant heat).

    We plan on being in the home for 15+ years and if we can save annual money on cooling costs every year by doing mini duct we would consider it.

    Some std construction feature from builder std feature list:

    R-22 2x6 walls with batt insulation
    R-11 insulated foundation with 2x4 walls
    R-45 insulated ceiling
    Poly under basement slab
    Exterior doors and windows foamed.

    My question very simply - Should we consider a mini duct system (spacepak or unico) for the new construction on a home this size? Or use tradtional AC? We aren't concerned about looks we are concerned about overall cost and efficiency.

    TIA

    [Edited by mn4az on 05-16-2005 at 10:21 PM]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,513
    with the way prices seem to be going up including hvac units taken into concideration. i would think upgrading to higher effiences 90percent furnace and at least 13 16 seer ac units. also you are planing to live there for a long time look into anew r410a system /puron. it is the new replacement for r22 and is ozone safe. this way in the futher if you have any problems or have to replace the ac you can. also you will see a pay pack over the next ten years on the up grade

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    WYO
    Posts
    2,019
    HV- is the other half of AC.
    Design Your system to accomodate it.
    Use an HVAC contractor
    never say never

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Northeastern Illinois
    Posts
    611
    Use infloor heat if at all possible. Don't go any higher than 12-13 seer on your a/c, you will never get the payback. Back to the infloor heat...Use an overpour system with Wirsbo tubing. Look into the high eff boilers[Munchkin, Buderus, Viessman] they can take the low return temps. Set up your zones starting with each floor. Basement zone, 1rst floor zone,2nd floor zone, bonus room zone and DHW zone. If you want to add other zones lay the tubing out so they can be done later, if you wish. Use an outdoor reset to get the most from your boiler. Wirsbo is made in Apple Valley,MN so you should be able to get it. Use a good contractor and ask questions. The hi-v a/c systems work very well with infloor heat and I highly reccommend it.Good luck with your new house.
    If it ain't broke don't fix it!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rochester, MN
    Posts
    5,304
    I would spend the money for the in-floor heat for our Minnesota weather..

    My late-uncle and aunt built a house couple of years ago, and did the floor heat.. My aunt said it was the best money spent for comfort! Heating cost was cheap too.

    They did a regular air handler w/ A/C coil in the attic, they had lots of room to have this done.

    For Minnesota, No higher than 14 SEERS, Check with XCel of what rebate they offfer for you on gas and power.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    6
    Mayguy/Dof3 (or anyone else) - Thanks for the reply... with a new home do you suppose the cost of the hi-v AC would be similar to conventional AC to install? If hi-v AC is significantly more is it efficient enough that I can get a good ROI over the 15+ years of being in the home?

    TIA

    [Edited by mn4az on 05-17-2005 at 08:39 AM]

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    1,996
    Remember hi-v AC usually lowers the SEER value of the system. I would only get it for rehabing an older home.
    No sense in new construction and since you're heating more then half the year, spend on the radiant system.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    6,579
    Originally posted by mn4az
    Mayguy/Dof3 (or anyone else) - Thanks for the reply... with a new home do you suppose the cost of the hi-v AC would be similar to conventional AC to install? If hi-v AC is significantly more is it efficient enough that I can get a good ROI over the 15+ years of being in the home?

    TIA

    [Edited by mn4az on 05-17-2005 at 08:39 AM]

    Asking for opinions on return on investment here is a waste of time. You will get all sorts of conflicting answers and opinions.

    The correct way to do this is to gather the data and perform the calculations!

    You need to have an accurate heating and cooling load calculation performed first. Then, get estimates for the various systems you are considering.

    From there you need to calculate the operating costs for each system based upon your heat loss-heat gain calculations, the utility costs for electricity/fuel and the rated efficiencies for each system.

    With that information and the purchase and installation costs for each system you can compare each against the other and determine the pay-back-rate for each system.

    Anything less than this is simply guessing!!!!!!

    A good contractor can perform these calculations and may have a software program or programs to perform them. Other contractors will turn "glassy eyed" at the mere mention of even the load calculation much less the payback analysis.

    The calculations are not all that difficult to do actually. Gathering the information to perform the calculations takes the most effort.

    Keep in mind that the energy savings and the payback are not the same as comfort! The best system may not be the most economical.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Houston,Tx.
    Posts
    16,004
    Originally posted by NormChris
    Asking for opinions on return on investment here is a waste of time. You will get all sorts of conflicting answers and opinions.
    Or opinions on Brand,Size,and just about everything else.
    __________________________________________________ _______________________
    “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards". - Vernon Law

    "Never let success go to your head, and never let failure go to your heart". - Unknown

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,042
    Make sure to have the systems sized per Manual J and Manual D. You want the smallest air conditioner possible to get the job done.

    I won't suggest it for your climate in lieu of fossil fuel fired radiant heat by any means, but you might want to consider a heat pump instead of straight air conditioning. It wouldn't get much use during the winter, but in the spring and fall heating seasons, when ambient temperatures are in the 40s and 50s, it's a really economical heat source.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    6
    Originally posted by mrbillpro
    Originally posted by NormChris
    Asking for opinions on return on investment here is a waste of time. You will get all sorts of conflicting answers and opinions.
    Or opinions on Brand,Size,and just about everything else.
    Thanks for everyones feedback....

    I guess I was really trying to understand as a general rule is the intial install of Hi Vel AC more expensive to do in new construction as opposed to traditional AC....


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,513
    hi v systems what ever brand are more expensive and are in my opinun worth it.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    6
    Would you please elaborate your opinion as to why you believe its better?

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