:confused: New HVAC System - I want to do it right!!!


Old 05-08-05, 07:44 AM
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Question :confused: New HVAC System - I want to do it right!!!


I posted the question below under the AC forum, but was not sure if I should post it in the Heating forum as well. Sorry for the duplicate post. I hope this is not an issue.

I am bulding a new home (almost new, knocked down 80% of exisiting structure) in NJ and I am currently working with my GC and HVAC sub contractor to design our HVAC system for our 3200 sq ft house. A few major questions have come up;

1. Amana - any good/bad experiences?
2. I would like to build a 3 zone system off 2 HVAC units. One unit will be in my attic. This unit will be split into 2 zones to support the 3 bedrooms upstairs. The master bedroom (zone 1) is seperated from the 2 children's bedrooms (zone 2) by a large, open, 2 story space (33 X 16). The second unit will be in my basement to support the ground floor and the large open space. The question, does this setup sound bad???
3. Placement of feeds and returns - My contractor wants to place all feeds and returns in the cielings on the 2nd floor. He wants to place all feeds and returns in the floor on the ground floor. He said this is necessary because I have a very open floor plan on the 1st floor. Would you accept this?
4. Lastly, efficiency. For the AC units, should I upgrade to 16 SEER puron units from the 12 SEER units included in my contract? For the furnace, my contractor is trying to talk me out of upgrading the attic unit to HE (I've read some great posts about this). I am thinking of created an insulated, framed room in the attic with a heat feed. Does this counter the upgrade in efficiency? Lastly, would you upgrade to the most efficient units possible?

I hope my post isn't too lengthy. I look forward to your responses!

Thanks again!!!
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Old 05-09-05, 06:10 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Several questions. What is living sq footage on 1st floor and 2nd floor that you plan on heating and cooling? Has a written Manual J heat/cool load calculation been provided to you? If not, you should insist on it. Is new ductwork going to be installed both for 1st and 2nd floor? Individual returns or several central returns? Why do you want to zone the 2nd floor? I am making assumption that home will be well insulated-correct?

1.I consider Amana a budget/builder model on the bottom tier of HVAC equipment and if I expected to live in this home for 10+ yrs, then I would not want Amana equipment.

2.3. I see nothing wrong with your configuration but of course have not seen house or its plans.

4. I would suggest looking at energy costs in your area and plugging the numbers into a calculator for comparison.


One suggestion would be a high efficient variable speed furnace with heat pump for main floor(dual fuel) and a conventional heat pump for 2nd floor.
With the wide/tall open area, variable speed will help with even temperatures on first floor. If going to furnace and AC split system, I would insist upon a 90+ AFUE furnace and a minimum 14 SEER AC condensing unit for first floor and perhaps just an 80 AFUE furnace with AC for 2nd floor. Something to look at and think about. I don't think refrigerant matters but I would not pay more for Puron/R-410a equipment. R-22 is fine and will be around many, many yrs. Of course, I don't know what builder has allowed in $$$ for HVAC equipment. I would also look at a good filter media cabinet for my furnace and you may want to consider digital programmable thermostats. Obviously,you are spending a great deal of money on this renovation and if it was mine, I would want a quality HVAC system for both comfort and efficiency, not budget/builder equipment. My opinion. Good Luck!
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