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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    19

    Confused


    I have been lurking for over a week - soaking up info and now registered, so I can ask a few questions or insights. Here is the scenario:

    I am building a new house in Marion, NC ( acting as owner/builder ) - it is just off a river feeding into a lake. It is a nice community - big lots. I have 8 acres. I am building a 3800 sqft( finished/heated ) Lindal Home ( 2x6 post and beam ) and will have an unfinished walk out basement that could act as a garage in the future - bringing total sq footage to about 6000 sqft.
    The clear cutting and excavation is almost done and I hope footers/foundation will start this week.

    Following the advice on the board - I have talked to a few contractors and found one who I like so far ( the conversation has been good, he answers my questions well, and comes recommended from a good builder in the development). He has my 1/8 inch plans and is working up some quotes. He initially thought 6 - 7 tons, but will be doing the man j for me when he quotes.

    He is going to quote two systems - an Armstrong (I don't recall the line - but I think the high end ones) and York system (Affinity)- however, this is what I am requesting:

    Full heat pump and an LP furnace. He will also install elec strips for the emergency back up on the heat pump. So in essence - I have the heat pump for cooling, heat pump for heating when it is efficient and choice of elec or LP for more aggressive heating when desired. One of the reasons for these two choices of back up heat (elec and LP ) is that I also want to have an LP stand by generator hooked up (most likely Guardian as Onan is way to $$$$ ) and this is second home/future retirement home that will see weekend and occasional day use while I live in Charlotte ). I also like the option of having choices for fuel !

    So from earlier posts around this topic, I gather it might be overkill, but in general a 'trick' system but needs some sophisticated controls. Are there any other insights or suggestions I should be aware of when discussing with my HVAC guy? Am I missing something big ?

    Oh - he is going to quote a ClimateMaster too - as I love the technology, but from what I have determined so far, my pay back might be 20 years LOL

    BTW - my HVAC guy likes York and has been a long time dealer, as he says they have treated him well. He just picked up the Armstrong line and likes that these have 2 stage systems, 410a at medium SEER levels compared to the York .. .as well as the 10 year warranty and covers a hole in the York line. He also visited the Armstrong plant and was impressed - they poke a whole in every box after being carted - to sniff for any leaks. And that these units are going thru a face change - as the the cabinets are being redesigned by a cabinet company - so might be good deals on these this fall !

    And if anyone has suggestions on a hot water heater - tankless or not, please let me know.

    Thanks - Dan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,635
    I'm sure someone will come up with more useful information. But after reading about all the money you're going to spend I was flabbergasted to hear you consider a run of the mill water heater. Come on Dan. All that expensive technology and there's even a question about tank-less?

    Make sure the system is professionally air balanced. The installing contractor might be able to balance it. But I'd be inclined to hire a third party balancer and then watch the installing contractor's reaction. You'd be amazed at how often seemingly good contractors will put in damned expensive equipment only to have it perform rather poorly and inefficiently. Taking home fat margins on the installation of high end boxes is easy. Making it look pretty with lots of new and shiny things is no problem. Making it work right isn’t always so easy.

    The real funny part is that a lot of homeowners don't even know that it's working poorly. You have no baseline utility bills to compare to. And I'm sure you're not capable of measuring airflow, sensible/latent ratios, delivered AFUE and SEER, etc. So how do you know the system is doing anything remotely close to what was advertised? You don't. An air balancer can verify that the system is performing per the specifications.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    19

    Thumbs up

    Thanks Irascible !


    I'm sure someone will come up with more useful information. But after reading about all the money you're going to spend I was flabbergasted to hear you consider a run of the mill water heater. Come on Dan. All that expensive technology and there's even a question about tank-less? [/QUOTE]

    I am not to sure how much this will cost - but I am sure some sticker shock will happen and I'll see what compromises are in order. At least the geothermal quote will make dual fuel option feel good !

    I have only heard about tankless from home shows - In your opinion are they good, bad etc ???


    Make sure the system is professionally air balanced. The installing contractor might be able to balance it. But I'd be inclined to hire a third party balancer and then watch the installing contractor's reaction. You'd be amazed at how often seemingly good contractors will put in damned expensive equipment only to have it perform rather poorly and inefficiently. Taking home fat margins on the installation of high end boxes is easy. Making it look pretty with lots of new and shiny things is no problem. Making it work right isn’t always so easy.
    [/QUOTE]

    Thanks for the insight - how does one find a third party pro air balancer ?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,635
    tank-less:

    I'm not a plumber. But there seems to be a consensus that certain brands are much better than others. What they are I don't remember exactly. I believe they say Japanese models are amongst some of the best. I'm sure there are others here that know. If not you might look up a plumber's forum.

    air-balancing:

    How to find an air balancer? I wouldn't know. My systems are so good that I've never needed one. But seriously... It's something usually reserved for the commercial sector. Though it's creeping more and more into high end residential. I link to the AABC here. And I talk about NCI there as well. An NCI certified contractor would be easier to find and probably less expensive. But you need to make sure they're really into it and understand it. There's a lot of NCI certified contractors that took the course as a way to expand their knowledge but aren't really into doing professional air balancing as a stand alone service.

    Hold off on replying and give it a little time. I'm sure other HVAC-Talk pros will have recommendations. In the mean time peruse the links in my sig. A LOT of work went into them.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    224
    We are in the NC area and alot of our higher end contractors are using the Rinnai tankless units. All have been used with great success so far.

    http://www.foreverhotwater.com/

    Also the model number on these are I think 2532 if I'm not mistaken.

    [Edited by hyper_racing on 06-12-2005 at 02:38 PM]

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