Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi!

We are in the process of building a 3200 square foot custom home in North Carolina. We have been approached by the HVAC contractor and given three options for the systems we can choose (he has estimated a 2.5 ton system upstairs and a 3.5 ton system downstairs). They are all Trane systems and are:

Option #1: The XB1000 air conditioner (10 SEER) with the XE80 gas furnace for approximately $12,000***OR***
Option #2: The XR12 air conditioner (up to 13 SEER) with the XR90 gas furnance for approximately $15,000***OR***
Option #3: The XL14i air conditioner (up to 15 SEER)with the SV90 gas furnance for approximately $18,800.

Our questions are:

1. In light of the upcoming regulation changes, what would be the mininum expected requirement for a custom home?

2. What are the real differences in comfort one might feel in the different systems (I am more sensitive to heat and humidity versus cold)?

3. We are not on a gas line, therefore, we will be on propane and option #3 includes a two-stage gas furnance. What kind of savings can we expect to see with a two-stage system?

4. We have a fairly open floor plan; however, there were no deisgned-in locations for the return ducts. Our contractor has proposed two locations within 7 feet of each other (no barrier walls involved) for the first floor. Will this be sufficient to adequately draw air?

5. He has also presented the option of an electronic air cleaner at a cost of $1495 - are these worth that expense? Do they really help with dust?

Our general contractor has not offered the option of getting other "bids" to verify fair pricing and the HVAC company is ready to start working now. Any help, advice or guidance offered would be most appreciated.

Thanks!

Lori
 
U

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Well Lori you sure do have a project on your hands... and the questions to go with it...
I'll try to shed some insight but the decision is all yours!! Being from NC myself I hope I can give you some personal thoughts..
1st, I am not quite sure what you are referring to about the upcoming changes and regulations, and minimum requirements... are you talking local codes, EPA ... ??
#2.. between the systems you have been offered, you will really not find that many differences in performance..what you will find is energy efficiency, cost of operation and warrenty differences..of course the top of the line will give you all 3, but the XR12 would no doubt be sufficeint and comparable to the XL..Gas does afford a much better heat, the 2 stage furnace is a good efficient furnace and one to consider with the size of your house. LP prices do fluctuate quite a bit and you will have to make sure you lock in yearly prices. And make sure you have a big LP tank!!
But setting that all aside, what is VERY important is how the the supply/return air is distributed. I am sure your contractor has run a Heat gain/loss on your home.
Having a custom built home with no prior thought to a HVAC system is going to be tricky to regulate... so ask your contractor about the air distribution system. this will be the guts of the system .
will the supply grills be in the floor or ceiling?
personally I like to have the supplies in the floor, with the downstairs return in the floor or low in wall and the upstairs return near ceiling.. but thats me...I also live in a 2 story house and find this is a good system to have. Back to the returns being 7 ft apart... that also depends on the size of returns...goes back to sizing the distribution and asking your contractor how he sized the system.
Electronic air cleaners are a matter of preference.. they do work but they are definately not maintenance free... you will need to take care of the system.
oh.. and as far as getting your GC to recommend other HVAC contractors.. not likely...most GCs are loyal to certain contractors... you will need to ask him for to seek other bids.
Not sure I have answered anything for you... but if you would like any questions unanswered (LOL) please feel free to ask... if your in the Charlotte area, let me know and I will be glad to discuss things more in detail.
Greg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
1. 10 SEER & 80% fuel efficiency is the minimum now. In Texas you must use 12 SEER if you use R-6 ductwork, not sure about NC.

2. Comfort is going to depend on how well it can remove humidity in the summer. Lower SEERs are typically better at moisture removal.

3. Two stage heat does not offer any $$ savings whatsoever. It does help with an even comfort temp and quieter operation on low stage.

4. One return is ok as long as the bedrooom doors don't get closed and block the return path. An over the door return path is best but no builder is going to ask the carpenter to cut his cripples taller & headers shorter...just doesn't happen in the bubba world of construction. http://www.buildingscience.com/resources/mechanical/dekieffer_bypass.pdf

5. Better air filters are great but they are gouging you on that $1495 price. Just go with a 4 or 5" media and forget the extra expense of the electronic.

If I were going to be buying propane I wouldn't want an 80% furnace. And pleeeeese don't let them run it during construction. The dust will ruin it from day one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,471 Posts
I own a house(2700 sq. ft., single story) in Vale, 14.5 mi. from Hickory towards Charlotte.
It was built as an energy effecient project. I use a heat pump coupled into my well and solar panels. I don't live there but my all time worst elec. bill was $47.00.
When I built, 1980, my daughter had asthma and I put in a filtration system, then $3,500.00. Consider this option carefully, it is expensive to install and maintain. Ask yourself 'Is this something that I really need?' In my case it was and it was added on later, it was also tax deductible as a medical expense.
I just paid $1.71 for reg. gas, as prices go up alternative energy sources are more attractive.
Just an old Hippie retiring nicely.
 
D

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
loriruthw said:
Hi!

We are in the process of building a 3200 square foot custom home in North Carolina. We have been approached by the HVAC contractor and given three options for the systems we can choose (he has estimated a 2.5 ton system upstairs and a 3.5 ton system downstairs). They are all Trane systems and are:

Option #1: The XB1000 air conditioner (10 SEER) with the XE80 gas furnace for approximately $12,000***OR***
Option #2: The XR12 air conditioner (up to 13 SEER) with the XR90 gas furnance for approximately $15,000***OR***
Option #3: The XL14i air conditioner (up to 15 SEER)with the SV90 gas furnance for approximately $18,800.

Our questions are:

1. In light of the upcoming regulation changes, what would be the mininum expected requirement for a custom home?

2. What are the real differences in comfort one might feel in the different systems (I am more sensitive to heat and humidity versus cold)?

3. We are not on a gas line, therefore, we will be on propane and option #3 includes a two-stage gas furnance. What kind of savings can we expect to see with a two-stage system?

4. We have a fairly open floor plan; however, there were no deisgned-in locations for the return ducts. Our contractor has proposed two locations within 7 feet of each other (no barrier walls involved) for the first floor. Will this be sufficient to adequately draw air?

5. He has also presented the option of an electronic air cleaner at a cost of $1495 - are these worth that expense? Do they really help with dust?

Our general contractor has not offered the option of getting other "bids" to verify fair pricing and the HVAC company is ready to start working now. Any help, advice or guidance offered would be most appreciated.

Thanks!

Lori
A lower seer rating will not remove more humidity a higher seer (seasonal energy efficiency rating) will cost you less to run.A properly sized unit will do the same thing no matter what the seer is.Proper sizing is critical to comfort.
 
U

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Greg, I live in Kannapolis and I could use some advice. I am currently in the process of getting bids on a home remodel. Adding a 40 X 22 addition out the back of my house with a 3 car garage underneath (I have a full basement). I am hoping to do the project for around $100,000. I am struggling to find what system I need. My existing house is 1616 upstairs and 1616 downstairs (partially finished basement). I have actually been looking at Goodman. They are less expensive, but they don't do all the expensive advertising that Trane, Carrier, & others do. I am looking at a 5 ton 14 SEER with 92.6% 125,000 btu split system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I would stay away from the goodman product line. These units used to be called janitrol but had to change their name due to all of the problems they had. In the trade they are known as janijunk. They are a less expensive unit but you get what you pay for. In you case you are taking on a large project. I would cut no corners on the hvac side of this because comfort is a big issue. You first need to have load calculations performed on your house any reliable contractor will do this for you all you need to do is give them a set of prints. Plus here in florida you need these loasd calcs. to get your permits. the calcs will lay out your duct design and let you know what size equipment you will need. next you will need to decide what brand of equipment and what kind of s.e.e.r. rating you would like. (seasonal energy efficiency rating). I would recomend the rheem line of products they are exceptional pieces of equipment and have outstanding warranties. I would not go with anything over 14 s.e.e.r. for it will be hard to justify your savings on this equipment.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top