First, thanks to the professionals for their advice about hydronic heating. Unfortunately, it just didn't fit the budget.
So back to forced air. I haven't met with the HVAC contractor yet; how important is it to insist on air returns both "high" and "low" on the walls to accomodate either heat or AC? I've heard that doing both, and shutting one level off depending on the season, helps to heat or cool.
Second, are a lot of you installing air-to-air heat exchangers in new homes? Are they as good as they claim at bringing fresh air into a home in the winter...and summer... without wasting energy?
For reference, I live in SE Wisconsin. Cold winters (except this year!) and warm-to-hot summer, often humid.
If it were me...
On the first floor I would have low returns and the second floor high returns. If its a ranch a few of each. Forget playing with return dampers. you surely kill your system.
There are two typs of exhangers Heat Recovery Ventilator and Energy Recovery Ventilator. Both transfer heat from outgoing air into the incoming air. The Energy Recovery Ventilator also transfers humidity and in the south is the only way to go but they work well up north too. Cold outdoor air is very dry when heated to room temp and your home will quickly dry out without either selecting a ERV.
In the summer, hot humid air coming into a cooler environment contains alot of moisture and will raise your RH quickly. Again an ERV will help. You also have to realize that they vent a specific amount of air unlike a standard fresh air vent that is soley dependant on if your house is positive or negative.
They are very good at what they were designed to do.
Stick a Mod in there and live comfortably ever after. Hey! Maybe I should patent that slogan
I agree with Doc.
This what I like to see.
larger sized High return in living area, maybe one smaller sized low reutrn in there. smaller low return in bedrooms.
returns for sure near the floor in the basement.
Make sure the dealer does a manual J on YOUR home.. Not what they done in the past.
Yes it has been a very mild winter for us this year. Make sure you look into two stage furnace!