Secrets, Anxieties, and HVACs

Want to know a secret?  We are extremely tardy on applying for our construction loan.  How is it that being late in any scenario—whether it’s for work in the morning, turning in an assignment, or applying for a loan—produces the same levels of anxiety?  At first it was our fault: we couldn’t get it together to fix up the house, save money, and plan for the new house all at once.  It’s taken a year, and we finally have those issues under control, but now it turns out that our developer is super busy with other projects (which is great for her and us, because the more she builds, the more our place appreciates), and our proposed contractor has flat-out left us.

We’ve been looking for a new contractor for a couple of weeks now, but we truly don’t know any contractors, especially those that come with special knowledge of working with metal buildings.  Luckily, our developer has some contacts, and it seems like we may have found a winner today, but we still have more to consider.  For an effective bid, the contractor needs us to make some big decisions, beginning with the HVAC system…another thing we know nothing about.  We just know that we want something that heats and cools well using the least possible energy, and we’d like to have gas heat to save on our bills.  I have a feeling that we are going to be intensely researching HVAC systems for the next few days (woohoo).

Any recommendations out there for the best HVACs?  I know that heating and cooling has a lot to do with the size of the home, the climate, and what you can afford, but I’d like something to start with at least…these all seem the same to me!

image from Miami HVAC Repair

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3 thoughts on “Secrets, Anxieties, and HVACs

  1. Good luck researching AC options, since you’re at the mercy of your HVAC sub both technically and moneywise….here are my recommendations based on a decent amount of research and experience: Assuming a Unico system is not in your budget, I’d go with one of two options:
    a multi-zone mini-split system, but only if you house is either smallish, or a fairly open floor plan, and not lots of small rooms….too hard to tailor room-to-room. I’d also only use a Mitsubishi; which means that there would be little up-front savings over a traditional split system. Be aware that while these are for sale cheaply on line, most HVAC contractors don’t like them b/c they make some of their $ on material mark-ups, but also b/c of issues with warranty coverage and the trouble of dealing with online vendors over such matters.
    A traditional split system is good, and I’d definitely look at a very high SEER rating. Goodman makes a 16 SEER heat pump unit that can work with a variable-speed air handler (i.e. not just off-on, all-or-nothing cooling). What this means is that the compressor gets less wear and tear, and as a result, the manufacturer offers a much better warranty on the system. Deals vary from manufacturer to mfr, and month to month, so checking around makes tons of sense when it comes to the guts of the system. I’d also highly recommend the smartest thermostat you can find….this can add $500 or more to the system, but is WAY worth it in the long run in terms of comfort and operating cost.
    Also, make sure that the sub does a real “manual J” calculation with room-by room calculations, so that the unit and ductwork is sized appropriately. Many subs simply use rules of thumb (1 ton of ac per 400 sf or whatever) that will almost certainly not apply to your house….

  2. Pingback: Learn How; Around the Building Technologies Program « earth energy Solutions | eeS Group

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